Bradley Foundation

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Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Private charitable foundation
HeadquartersMilwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Key people
Art Pope (Chairman)
Richard Graber (President and CEO)

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a charitable foundation with more than $800 million U.S. dollars in assets. It has a stated mission to "restore, strengthen, and protect the principles and institutions of American exceptionalism." The Foundation's four major areas of funding include "constitutional order, free markets, civil society, and informed citizens."[1][2]

The Foundation provides between $35 million and $45 million annually to a variety of causes, including cultural institutions, community-based nonprofits in Milwaukee, and conservative groups. It has been particularly active in supporting education reform efforts, including school choice. Approximately 70% of the Foundation's giving is directed to national groups while 30% of the Foundation's giving is Wisconsin-based.[1]


The Foundation was established in 1942, shortly after the death of Lynde Bradley. The organization was founded in an attempt to preserve and extend the principles and philosophy of the Bradley brothers. According to the organization, "the good society is a free society."[3]

It was not until twenty years after the death of his brother Harry Lynde Bradley, in 1965, that the Foundation expanded in size and began to concentrate on public policy.[4] The 1985 acquisition of Allen-Bradley by Rockwell International Corporation resulted in a portion of the proceeds going into the expansion of the foundation, which saw its assets rise from $14 million to over $290 million.[5] In 1986, the Foundation gave away $23 million, more than it had in the previous four decades.[4]

The Bradley Foundation's former president, Michael S. Joyce, helped in creating the Philanthropy Roundtable. The goal of the Roundtable's founders was to provide a forum where donors could discuss the principles and practices that inform the best of America's charitable tradition. As of 2018, there were more than 660 Roundtable Associates, made up of individuals and organizations.[6]

Funding areas[edit]

The foundation supports limited government, conceived of as a dynamic marketplace where economic, intellectual, and cultural activity can flourish. It states that it defends American ideas and institutions. It also recognizes that responsible self-government depends on informing citizens and creating a well informed public opinion. The foundation also finances scholarly studies and academic achievements.[7]

The Foundation describes its four major areas of funding as constitutional order (federalism, separation of powers, individual liberties, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion), free markets (regulation, entrepreneurship, and free trade), civil society (family, unemployment, and drug and alcohol addiction), and informed citizens.[1] The Foundation previously awarded grants in the areas of security and foreign policy,[8] but announced in 2019 that it would no longer make grants in the areas of national security and foreign policy issues.[1]

Organizations awarded grants have included FreedomWorks,[9] Americans for Prosperity,[9] The Heritage Foundation,[10] the Hoover Institution,[10] the Black Alliance for Educational Options[10] and the SEED Foundation.[10]

A 2013 Smithsonian Magazine article listed the Foundation as among the largest contributors to the climate change counter-movement from 2003 to 2010.[11]

Bradley Prize[edit]

The Bradley Prize is a grant to individuals who are "innovative thinkers". According to the foundation the Bradley Prize is to "formally recognize individuals of extraordinary talent and dedication who have made contributions of excellence in areas consistent with The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation's mission." As many as four prizes of $250,000 each are awarded annually. Winners have included Leonard Leo (2009), Jeb Bush (2011),[12] Roger Ailes (2013),[13] Paul Clement (2013), Mitch Daniels (2013), Yuval Levin (2013),[14] Kimberly Strassel (2014),[15] and Gary Sinise (2016),[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Nicksen, Carole (February 2, 2018). "Bradley Foundation CEO Richard Graber Talks Education Reform & the Foundation's New Strategic Plan". Milwaukee Magazine. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Priority Giving Areas". Bradley Foundation. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  3. ^ Gonzalez, George (2013). Energy and the Politics of the North Atlantic. SUNY Press. p. 147. ISBN 9781438447957.
  4. ^ a b John J. Miller (2003), "The Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation", in How Two Foundations Reshaped America, Philanthropy Roundtable
  5. ^ Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, The Bradley Brothers
  6. ^ "Philanthropy Roundtable: History". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  7. ^ Archived December 18, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Islamic rights group's report rips Bradley Foundation funding, Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
  9. ^ a b Bradley Foundation website Archived June 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b c d "Part1b" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  11. ^ Schultz, Colin (December 23, 2013). "Meet the Money Behind the Climate Denial Movement". Smithsonian. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  12. ^ Rojc, Philip (June 4, 2018). "War of Ideas: Conservative Intellectuals Have a Friend in This Foundation". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  13. ^ Farhi, Paul (June 13, 2013). "Roger Ailes wows conservatives in accepting Bradley prize". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  14. ^ (13 June 2014)"Anti-Americanism Needs to Be Answered": Roger Ailes Gets Serious Slate. Retrieved 20 January 2014
  15. ^ "Strassel Wins Bradley Prize: 'Potomac Watch' columnist honored for journalistic excellence". The Wall Street Journal. May 22, 2014.
  16. ^ Bond, Paul (May 17, 2016). "Gary Sinise to Receive Bradley Award and $250,000 for His Charitable Foundation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 June 2016.

External links[edit]