These are loose ties, but maybe someone else is looking into things from this angle.
Let’s begin with the Podesta Group. Brothers Tony and John Podesta founded their high-powered DC lobbying firm in (2007).
The Podesta Group boasts a long list of lobbyists representing various interests.
I was searching for connections between the Podestas and/or their associates with Children’s Charities.
I found a connection between one of the Podesta Group lobbyists, Walter Owen Pryor, and the Washington Children’s Foundation.
Walter Pryor (Podesta Group) - https://i.sli.mg/5cv3A8.png
WCF - https://i.sli.mg/5x3zdB.png
The Podesta Group clients include: Wells Fargo, BP, Novartis, BAE, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics. Another client that should be familiar is Alphabet Inc. (Google).
Ceannate Corp. is a client of the Podesta Group and also Walter Pryor appears to hold the position of Senior Vice President and General Council at the company.
Walter Pryor bio – https://i.sli.mg/aT6GUk.png
Podesta Group Lobby clients (open secrets 2016) – https://i.sli.mg/qWkELP.png
Clients of Pryor: https://i.sli.mg/sfFlMw.png
Walter O. Pryor summary:
*Lobbyist – The Podesta Group (2003-2013)
*From 2001-2003 he was Deputy Executive Director & Managing Attorney for the National Association of Attorneys General.
*More notably, from 1994 to 2001 he held the position of Director, Office of Training and Acting Council to the Assistant Attorney General – US Department of Justice.
*Attorney General 1996-2000 = Joel Klein.
*Klein Married to Nicole Seligman who represented Bill Clinton during impeachment proceedings.
Lawyer.com profile shows that Pryor’s license as: suspended
The Washington Children’s Foundation (est. 2007)
Board of Directors
Secretary Principal: Walter Pryor
President, Chairman: Sandy Wilkes
CEO: Michael F. Ryan
Website main page: https://i.sli.mg/5x3zdB.png
Board of Directors: https://i.sli.mg/Y5EG57.png
There are a number of things that raise flags about this WCF. For starters, it has a Butterfly logo (pedophile symbol) and is very sparse on information around the sort of work it does in the community, current programs or grantee recipients.
About us WCF - https://i.sli.mg/pmuxa8.png
The WCF appears to have been created to be a grant giving organization yet there are no mention of success stories or any testimonials from recipients. Instead, they state that:
We conduct our own research to identify those that meet the “best of the best” standard. We make site visits to observe the work being done by these organizations and then invite a request for funding. Following our decision to make a grant, we maintain contact with the organization to monitor progress and ensure that our common objectives are realized. The Washington Children’s Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for grants.
It seems odd that the foundation does not accept requests for funding from potentially interested organizations.
Furthermore, their mission statement proclaims
We have a particular interest in those which address the needs of children who have learning disabilities, have experienced abuse, or have suffered other trauma in early childhood.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this mission statement but it raises some questions as we dig a little deeper.
WFC president Sandy Wilkes also runs a real estate development company
• The Wilkes Company
• The Wilkes Company = Real Estate Developers
• The Wilkes Company shares address with WCF Wisconsin Ave.
• WCF created in 2007 by Wilkes then a Trustee of Hillcrest and Pryor (also a Trustee)
• Wilkes brings Michael Ryan aboard because Ryan is an outsider to Charity work and can bring a fresh perspective as the new CEO.
• Hillcrest Children and Family Center = formerly = Washington City Orphan Asylum (1860s).
• (WCOA – historic, difficult to obtain info – Library of Congress)
• WCF is registered as a Charitable Organization
I found this article about the creation of the WCF.
The Hillcrest Children's Center, a D.C. nonprofit provider of mental health services for children and families, has spun off a new grant-giving charity called the Washington Children's Foundation.
Once known as the Washington City Orphans Asylum, Hillcrest reported $33 million in assets last year and provided therapy to poor children and families from space at the YMCA Anthony Bowen branch on W Street NW.
The new foundation will expand the mission of helping children who have suffered from abuse, learning disabilities and other trauma, said Michael Ryan, the organization's executive director.
Sandy Wilkes, chairman of the D.C. development firm The Wilkes Co. and a former Hillcrest trustee, helped form the foundation with money from the Hillcrest endowment in July. He said the two organizations would have separate financial structures but share a board member, lobbyist Walter Pryor, the current board president of Hillcrest and principal of the Podesta Group.
I went to nonprofitfacts.com
Here is a financial snapshot of the WCF from 2007-2013
Here is the analysis of revenue and expenses for 2013
Contributions, gifts, grants paid: $948,025
Almost a million dollars in grants you would think that they might mention something about these payments on their website.
Perhaps this is just par for the course and how foundations operate, I am looking at these numbers as a layman. They may just simply be well funded and fiscally conservative.
But when you compare WCF and other charities doing similar work it does seem that something is a little bit off. There seems to be very little activity going on at WCF. WCF has a total income of $6 million dollars and a market value of $20 million. This by far surpasses any of the other organizations in the DC area doing similar work, the majority earning $0 total income.
And I haven’t been able to find any information about the WCF online besides their website and the Washington Business Journal article.
Maybe someone better versed in the financial regularities of foundations can help me out here.
Curiously, the address shared by the WCF and the Wilkes company at 5101 Wisconsin avenue is a 4 minute drive to the home of John Podesta.
Which makes it also a 4 minute drive to Comet Ping Pong Pizza
The CEO of WFC from the Washington Business Journal:
Ryan acknowledges not being an expert. "I'm not a foundation guy. I'm a banker," he said, but added he will not simply sit behind a desk at the The Wilkes Co. office on upper Wisconsin Avenue NW. Instead, he tours homeless shelters, preschools, after-school programs and other social service centers around the city, looking for ways to help a slice of the population he calls "children without alternatives."
I have been unable to find any evidence of the CEO, or representatives of the WCF, entering into partnerships with local organizations, grant giving, testimonials or success stories from recipients.
Podesta Group lobbyist – Walter Pryor – Board member of Washington Children’s Foundation
WFC uses butterfly logo on website
WFC very wealthy foundation but scarce information about community involvement. Does not allow requests for grants. CEO is a banker and the foundation appears to be amassing profits through investments and has very low public profile.