Violence and intimidation toward abortion providers in on the rise. The Feminist Majority Foundation's annual survey on clinic violence (released last October) reported increases in stalking, threats, and harassment of clinic staff between 2010 and 2014. Meanwhile, "crisis pregnancy centers" are proliferating around the country, with which these deceptive groups often establish themselves close to providers of abortion services. According to the FMF's report, there's a high correlation between proximity of a crisis pregnancy center and the likelihood that clinic staff will be harassed or physically harmed.
The National Abortion Federation—the same organization that sets abortion care standards industry wide—is engaged in a campaign to reduce violence against clinic doctors, staff, and patients. NAF provides legal resources to clinics facing harassment, and works to pass "buffer zone" laws at city and state levels, which protect clients and providers from attack or physical barriers to reproductive care.
So who backs NAF's work? Some of the usual suspects in the reproductive rights space, for starters. It's biggest publicly disclosed funder, by far, has been the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which has given NAF over $100 million since 2007. Close behind are the Hewlett and Packard foundations, which have both kicked in a steady stream of six-figure grants over recent years and aren't afraid of putting money on the front lines of the abortion fight.
NAF also wins support from a range of smaller funders, including the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, which last year made a $65,000 grant to NAF, in support of its work protecting providers and recipients of reproductive care from violence.
Clinic security, along with increasing abortion access, is one of the Goldman Fund's two stated priority areas in the area of reproductive health grantmaking.
Other recent Goldman Fund grantees include Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific (in Concord, CA), campus organizing group Choice USA, and the National Network of Abortion Funds. The foundation supports groups involved with national abortion rights policy, as well as nonprofits on the group in the Goldmans' native Northern California.
Beyond reproductive rights, Lisa and Douglas Goldman fund in a variety of other areas, most notable Jewish issues. They are a growing presence in the Bay Area.
Though the Lisa and Douglas Goldman fund has been around since 1992, it received a major cash influx after Richard Goldman—father to Douglas and heir to the Levi Strauss fortune—passed away in 2010 and willed his own sizeable philanthropic assets to be divided among foundations owned by his three children. In 2010, the Goldman Fund had about $36.9 million in assets, and awarded $2.7 million in grants. That was then. The foundation reports it made more than $12 million in charitable spending last year alone, and its last available filings show assets greater than $239.7 million—a more than six-fold increase in under five years.
Clearly this is a funder that bears watching more closely. Among other things, it will be interesting to see how the more amply financed foundation brings its resources to bear on an increasingly violent fight for abortion access in the United States.