Smith Richardson Foundation

SOURCE:  Wikipedia, captured 2020-08-10

  • Founded: 1935
  • Founder: H. Smith and Grace Jones Richardson
  • Focus: Support research in U.S. foreign and domestic public policy
  • Location: Westport, Connecticut, United States
  • Endowment (2013): $USD 521 million
  • Website:
  • Funder of:  climate change denial

    The Smith Richardson Foundation (SRF) is a private foundation based in Westport, Connecticut, that supports policy research in the realms of foreign and domestic public policy.

    According to the Smith Richardson Foundation's website, its mission is "to contribute to important public debates and to address serious public policy challenges facing the United States. The Smith Richardson Foundation seeks to help ensure the vitality of our social, economic, and governmental institutions. It also seeks to assist with the development of effective policies to compete internationally and to advance U.S. interests and values abroad."


    The Smith Richardson Foundation was established in 1935 by H. Smith Richardson, Sr., and his wife Grace Jones Richardson. Richardson transformed the Vicks Chemical Company, a firm created by his father, Lunsford Richardson, into one of the leading over-the-counter drug companies in the world. In later years, Richardson-Vicks also became a major force in the market for prescription drugs as well as a wide range of consumer products. In 1985, the Richardson family sold the company to Procter & Gamble.

    In 1973, R. Randolph Richardson assumed the presidency of the Smith Richardson Foundation. Richardson was particularly interested in supporting free-market and pro-democratic causes. During his tenure as president, the Smith Richardson Foundation played an important role in supporting think tanks and scholars who were active in public policy debates over issues such as defense policy, tax policy, education reform, and regulation. The Smith Richardson Foundation also supported pro-democracy organizations in Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and Central and South America.

    In 1992, Peter L. Richardson, a nephew of R. Randolph Richardson, assumed the presidency of the Smith Richardson Foundation, while Heather Higgins, the daughter of R. Randolph Richardson, became president of the Randolph Foundation.

    Current programs

    The Smith Richardson Foundation advances its mission through its two principal grant making programs: the International Security and Foreign Policy Program and the Domestic Public Policy Program. The Smith Richardson Foundation believes that conflict and change in the international environment have created new needs in the U.S. policy community for analysis and guidance on critical foreign and defense policy issues. In the domestic arena, the Smith Richardson Foundation believes that policy makers are seeking innovative and pragmatic solutions to the long-term challenges affecting the well being of all Americans.

    A 2013 Smithsonian Magazine article listed the Smith Richardson Foundation as among the largest contributors to the climate change denial movement from 2003 to 2010.

    International Security and Foreign Policy Program

    According to the Smith Richardson Foundation's website: "The objective of the International Security and Foreign Policy Program is to assist the U.S. policy community in developing effective national security strategies and foreign policies. The Smith Richardson Foundation is committed to supporting projects that help the policy community face the fundamental challenge of ensuring the security of the United States, protecting and promoting American interests and values abroad, and enhancing international order."

    The International Security and Foreign Policy Program has a number of priority areas of interest. The ongoing instability in key regions and states highlights the need to improve U.S. capabilities in the areas of intelligence gathering and analysis, public diplomacy, counterinsurgency, and post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction. The international program has long sought to support projects designed to improve the effectiveness of U.S. military forces through defense transformation. Geopolitical competition, the uncertain future of economic and political developments in key states such as Russia, and the increasingly important roles that China and India play in international politics require renewed assessments of how best to deploy U.S. resources in order to achieve strategic objectives around the globe. The Smith Richardson Foundation also seeks to support projects on key transnational issues such as proliferation, terrorism, democratization, and global political change. Within the academic community, the international program supports policy-relevant strategic studies and underwrites historical research with implications or lessons for current policy.

    Domestic Public Policy Program

    The Domestic Public Policy Program supports projects that will help the public and policy makers understand and address critical challenges facing the United States. To that end, the Smith Richardson Foundation supports research on and evaluation of existing public policies and programs, as well as projects that inject new ideas into public debates. The Smith Richardson Foundation is interested in a wide range of topics. The Smith Richardson Foundation has supported work designed to strengthen the foundations of U.S. economic growth by examining critical issues in monetary, fiscal, and tax policy. The Smith Richardson Foundation has sought to identify strategies to lift the performance of U.S. schools through its support of work on incentive programs for students and performance pay for teachers. The Smith Richardson Foundation has also embarked on an effort to develop strategies to improve the performance of public agencies through the effective use of government-led networks and the strengthening of the capacity of the public-sector workforce. The Smith Richardson Foundation continues to provide support for projects that examine the effectiveness of our regulatory policies, explore the interaction between the policy making and the political processes, and evaluate the effectiveness of policies designed to assist disadvantaged families.

    Assets and grant making

    At the end of 2013, the Smith Richardson Foundation had assets totaling $521,570,780 according to its federal tax return. During that year, it awarded a total of 411 grants totaling $20,695,903.

    SRF has awarded grants to major think tanks and university research centers. Some of the Smith Richardson Foundation's major grantees include the following:

    Trustees and officers


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