What's Behind Robina's Big Money for CFR?

Anyone running a foreign policy think tank or university center is always dreaming about that big donor who comes along and drops millions in their lap to undertake work on some crucial but hard-to-fund area like, say, global governance. 

Well, Richard Haase — President of the Council of Relations — got to live out this fantasy last year when the Robina Foundation gave CFR $10.3 million for International Institutions and Global Goverance Program.  The grant is supposed to be over five years, but Robina dropped all the money in Haase's lap at once — which doesn't happen so often with these multi-year grants. 

And it gets even better. The $10.3 million seems to be on top on Robina's regular annual gift to CFR, which has been consistenly around $2 million a year. 

But here's the thing: other think tanks and policy centers shouldn't start getting their hopes up that they too can get big money Robina. The foundation gives out very few grants every year — all pretty big ones — and CFR is the only policy organization on the list. 

The Robina Foundation was created by Jeffrey Binger before his death in 2004. Binger was the CEO of Honeywell who went on to be major owner of theaters in New York and elsewhere — a highly profitable second career, evidently.