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Mysterious Cameron Foundation Awards Grant to Pro-Obama Community Organizers

Posted on July 19 2010 3:00 pm
Lisa Graas has covered politics and religion at her blog since 2008. She has served as a crisis pregnancy counselor, youth speaker, mental health advocate and legislative consultant.
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An old colleague of President Barack Obama and William “Bill” Ayers has an interesting job these days — handing out a fat check to pro-Obama community organizers.

Handy L. Lindsey, a Member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge during the same period as Obama and Ayers, is President of the Cameron Foundation [CF], a Virginia-based non-profit group “organized exclusively for charitable purposes”. CF issues grants to those it deems worthy of receiving support out of funds originating from the “proceeds of the sale of assets of Southside Regional Medical Center” [SRMC] in Petersburg, VA.

CF has awarded grants to many organizations that are considered to be mainstream groups such as the American Heart Association and the Virginia Dental Association but at least one donation given recently to the Gamaliel Foundation may raise some eyebrows. CF has awarded GF‘s Petersburg, VA, affiliate a grant of $97,705 for “the creation of a congregation-based community organization in Petersburg.”

CF claims that it does not award grants to “religious programs seeking support for programs to which access is restricted by religious affiliation or programs that promote a particular creed” nor to “organizations or groups that carry on propaganda or otherwise attempt to influence legislation or political campaigns”. The Gamaliel Foundation certainly qualifies under the criteria for “religious programs” with “no particular creed” as an organization which uses religion in gaining members for a “multi-faith” community organizing effort, however it does promote President Barack Obama and his policies. President Obama appears prominently on their home page.

Community organizing has come of age. Gamaliel Network organizers work tirelessly behind the scenes to train community leaders. Our leaders repeatedly tell us that their lives have been changed forever as they found their voices and learned how to act in the public arena.

One of those leaders was a young man who became a community organizer on the south side of Chicago. That organizer is now the 44th President of the United States of America. That President Barack Obama is a former Gamaliel Organizer makes the Gamaliel Network and many in the organizing community proud.

In regard to organizing for candidate Barack Obama, the Gamaliel Foundation is not shy about publicly expressing a policy that would arguably be characterized as “anything goes”.

Community organizing teaches us that if something is important, it is worth fighting for.   Since the forces you are up against are likely to be ruthless and powerful, you need to decide what your ethical limits are then be willing to do what you need to do within those limits. This includes fighting fire with fire and compromise as needed.

Saul Alinsky still figures prominently in GF’s promotion of self-interest.

Barack learned what Saul Alinsky taught us about self-interest, but also learned the importance of hope and a call to be part of something larger than himself.

CF’s website, in reference to the overall amount of income it expects to receive in the future, states that “funding has not yet been completed but the total amount is expected to be in excess of $100,000,000”, quite a lot of money considering that the SRMC building was demolished.

The Progress, August 17, 2008:

The Cameron Foundation, which owns the building, said it’s not “financially feasible for the building to be renovated or otherwise reused.”

The article linked above was found by searching for news on the old SRMC which was razed in 2009. Mysteriously, very little information can be readily found online about CF apart from its own website and some recent, scantily informative news reports about millions of dollars in grants the organization has given. Even Wikipedia has no mention of the “Cameron Foundation” despite its status as a multi-million dollar non-profit organization.

CF receives at least some of its income from interest on savings along with investment income from publicly traded securities according to limited financial reports obtained by NRB.  One financial disclosure reports net assets of over $152,000,000 at the beginning of 2008 and over $93,000,000 at year’s end. Other grant recipients include Commonwealth Public Broadcasting (Sesame Street), Dinwiddie County Public Schools, Equal Justice America and Girl Scout Commonwealth Council of Virginia.

For more information about the Gamaliel Foundation and various other networks on the Left, visit Discover the Networks.


Follow Lisa Graas on Twitter and visit her blog at

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