A Public Resource Compiled by the

Greater Kansas City Community Foundation

1055 Broadway Blvd., Suite 130
Kansas City, MO 64105
501c3 nonprofit

Donor to anti-GMO organizations as part of a broader philanthropic strategy

Key People

  • Debbie Wilkerson, President & CEO
  • Jennifer Jones, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO
  • Katie Gray, Senior Vice President of Finance and Foundation Services
  • Corey Ziegler, Vice President & Corporate Counsel

Established in 1978, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation (GKCCF) ranks in the top one percent of more than 700 community foundations in the US. The Kansas City-based nonprofit manages more than $3 billion in assets and houses more than 3,800 charitable funds.GKCCF doesn’t take a public stance on agriculture or biotechnology. Since 2012, however, funds managed by the foundation have donated approximately $60 million to organizations that oppose crop biotechnology.

Food Water Watch (FWW), which received over $44 million from the foundation between 2012-2016, says GMO crops increase “the control of corporations like Monsanto over our food“ and fuel factory farms that “perpetuate climate change, pollute the air and water [and] exploit workers ….” As a result, these factory farms must be banned, FWW said in October 2018.

Fellow recipient Grace Communications Foundation (GCF)  has received $15 million from GKCCF since 2012, and argues that “GMOs are integral parts of the industrial food system,” which is responsible for “major environmental, economic and health impacts.” Through its “FoodPrint” reports, GCF documents the environmental impact of modern agriculture. In its October 2018 report on crop production, for instance, GCF claimed that conventional cropping leads to “long-lasting health and environmental damage because [it employs] toxic chemicals at each stage of production.” GCF also collaborates with anti-GMO organizations like the Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders (SAFSF). Grace Foundation lists SAFSF as a partner dedicated to promoting “consumer actions and public policies that support sustainable food production.” In 2015, for example, the two organizations co-hosted a policy briefing on “GMO labeling, transgenic crop bans, and other issues” related to “sustainable” agriculture.

Greater Kansas City Community Foundation has also contributed over $400,000 to Friends of the Earth, an environmental group that opposes the use of gene-editing technology in agriculture because it could wreak “genetic havoc” in the natural environment. The group criticizes other modern farming practices, too, claiming that “corporate power and agriculture science” have “created a powerful river of toxic, energy-intensive factory farming.”

Smaller GKCCF grant recipients include the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Tides Center, both of which oppose crop biotechnology. NRDC claims, for example, that Bayer and the EPA maintained “a disturbing level of communication and collaboration” while the federal agency reviewed the company’s controversial herbicide Roundup. Tides Center is an offshoot of the progressive Tides Foundation, which provides funding to anti-GMO groups including NRDC, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.

Financial Data


Annual Revenue: $357,863,417 (2017)

Total Assets: 1,575,268,337 (2017)

Major Recipients (Total Contributions 2012-present)

Food and Water Watch $44,381,200

Grace Communications Foundation $15,000,000

Friends of the Earth $420,200

Friends of Family Farmers $210,000

Sustainable Food Alliance $120,000

Corporate Accountability International $100,000

Tides Center $100,000

Natural Resources Defense Council $57,540

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Note that there are three “levels” of both donors and recipients.

Donations to advocacy groups are sometimes designated to support a specific cause, such as organic agriculture or mitigating climate change. There is no way for us to know from publicly-available documents on what the money will be spent, as we can only see the total amount donated. When we assign the levels below to donors and recipients, we assume that all donations are available to the recipient for all advocacy, including anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Donates primarily to dedicated anti-GMO organizations
  • Level 2: A large portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations; some donations go to organizations without a position on GMOs
  • Level 3: A small portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations
    * Most donations go to organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists

For Level 1 recipients, all donations are used for anti-GMO advocacy. For Level 2 and 3 recipients, we don’t know how much of each donation is used for anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Dedicated to anti-GMO advocacy
  • Level 2: Involved in anti-GMO advocacy along with other causes
  • Level 3: No specific anti-GMO advocacy, but general support
    * Organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists
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