Conservative Groups Face Safety Threats. It s Not Just Progressives.

The Philanthropy Roundtable Vice President of Strategy and Innovation Debi Ghate wrote a letter to the editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy in response to a recent article on security threats to progressive nonprofits. You can read the full text, published by the Chronicle on Oct. 26, below. 

To the Editor:

It is quite unfortunate that any organization in the charitable sector should face security threats of the nature described in Donors Help Progressive Nonprofits Protect Themselves From Growing Security Threats (October 22). All Americans should be troubled when threats of violence are made because someone is advocating for their beliefs.

However, it is terribly unjust to describe the issue as only affecting progressive nonprofits.

I have worked at right-of-center foundations over the past decade that faced explicit threats of violence from domestic and foreign actors — active-shooter training is no joke.

An armed gunman showed up at the front door of a nonprofit I worked for specifically because we worked to advance reason and capitalism.

A colleague of mine is very cautious about her family being visible in Zoom calls because she has had death threats made against her for her advocacy of free-market ideas.

This past August, shots were fired through the front window of a labor-reform think tank and advocacy group in Washington State.

And, most disturbing to me, I once had to involve the FBI and police when one of my employees received an image of himself with the words “Death to [his name]” overlaid with a threat that they would make his wife and kids watch as they cut off his fingers, then his hands. Why? Because the organizations involved were advocating for individual rights, liberty, and limited government in various contexts: campus, foreign policy, state policy. These kinds of threats are no less violent because they are in response to a different set of ideas.

There are many, many disturbing examples nonprogressive nonprofits can also share. I strongly urge the Chronicle of Philanthropy to tell the full story. We should be outraged at all forms of threatened violence and intimidation, not just when it happens to one group or the other.

Debi Ghate
Vice President, Strategy and Innovation
The Philanthropy Roundtable

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