The Foundation Spending Millions to Fight Abortion, Contraception, and Sex Education

Named for an artistic technique characterized by strong contrasts between light and dark, the Chiaroscuro Foundation seeks to "reflect God's goodness" in an ungodly world. Chiaroscuro allocated more than $7 million in funding last year to Christian evangelism, education, and "religious liberty" programs, as well as to organizations engaged in promoting the foundation's visions regarding reproductive health and "pro-life initiatives."

According to the foundation, Chiaroscuro's team consists of "a lean staff of successful scholars, businessmen, and entrepreneurs committed to the fundamental values of life, liberty, and justice." Both the foundation's chairman, Sean Fielder, and its president, Greg Pfundstein, simultaneously play leadership roles in other advocacy groups, and have ties to the Catholic church.

Fielder is the chairman of the American Principles Project and a board member with the Dominican Foundation. Pfundstein, a graduate of both Catholic University and Thomas Aquinis College, now serves on the boards of the National Abstinence Education Foundation and the FEMM Foundation.

Incidentally, the Chiasroscuro Foundation awarded the FEMM Foundation $1 million in support recently. The grantee operates a health clinic in Ohio, and disseminates information to discourage women from using birth control. You can avoid pregnancy by learning to "know your body" and become in tune with your internal hormonal patterns, per FEMM's website. FEMM also maintains online resources about how to adopt its particular brand of fertility management and discourages abortion. 

Keeping women away from contraception, and persuading pregnant women to avoid abortion, appears to be a grantmaking priority for Chiaroscuro. Since 2010, the foundation has awarded more than $400,000 to Clergy for Better Choices, which networks members of the cloth in the New York metro area to steer pregnant women away from abortion. Chiaroscuro has given more than $1.1 million in support over the last four years to Sisters of Life, whereby nuns work to prevent individual abortions by offering social supports to pregnant women in vulnerable situations. And since 2011, the Chiaroscuro Foundation has made over $100,000 in donations to the National Abstinence Education Foundation, which wants to take comprehensive sex education out of schools and replace it with an abstinence-only approach that excludes information about contraception. 

Beyond Chiaroscuro, Fielder and Pfundstein attract media attention for other financial and policy endeavors. Fielder is a major campaign donor, having made a fortune in hedge funds, and is a big contributor to various efforts to block same-sex marraige. Fielder does not conceal his opinions on some of the more pressing moral struggles of our day. Speaking with the New York Times last year, Fielder offered his assessment that: “The problem with gay marriage... is it promotes a very harmful myth about the gay lifestyle. It suggests that gay relationships lend themselves to monogamy, stability, health, and parenting in the same way heterosexual relationships do. That’s not true."

Pfundstein, for his part, is a prolific writer. He publishes articles in the Public Discourse, the National Review, and the Catholic Exchange. Sample article titles: "Sex Ed Mandates and Children's Innocence;" "Crisis Pregnancy Centers in New York City: What Misinformation?;" and "Not Used Up: Progess in Abstinence Education."