The Donald J. Trump Foundation was established in 1988, with a mission to make Mr. Trump appear charitable by distributing some of his wealth to charitable causes, giving other people’s money to charitable causes, and, on occasion, using other people’s money on himself and some perhaps less-than-charitable causes.
Over the next three decades, Mr. Trump personally contributed just over $5 million dollars to the Foundation, in excess of 0.05% of his claimed net worth of $10 billion!
During its lifetime, the Donald J. Trump Foundation has made millions of dollars in charitable donations, many of which were not illegal self-dealing.
In addition to his Foundation, Mr. Trump also is extraordinarily proud of his independent charitable giving. In 2016, the Washington Post contacted over 400 charities to aggregate a total of his charitable giving. And for the period between 2008 and his winning the Republican nomination in 2016, it found that Mr. Trump gave away over Five Thousand Dollars to charity!
That may seem like a weekend’s bar tab for a billionaire, but during the same eight-year period, Mr. Trump also donated zero dollars to his own Foundation, so that single, four-figure donation was extraordinarily generous by his personal standards!
Mr. Trump enjoys being seen by the public as a generous benefactor. In October 1996, Donald Trump proudly took a seat onstage during the Association to Benefit Children’s ribbon-cutting for a Manhattan nursery school for children suffering from AIDS.
Admittedly, Mr. Trump had donated no money whatsoever to the charity. And the seat he took was reserved for another real donor. Nonetheless, despite having done nothing to benefit children, he was not afraid to bask in the unearned attention and praise of the Association to Benefit Children’s audience that day. And while the children didn’t benefit from Mr. Trump’s money, they did get the opportunity to see a celebrity, and to watch him engage in one of his favorite activities: taking unearned credit for the work of others.
Mr. Trump also cares deeply about family. When his nephew Fred Trump III had a son who was born with cerebral palsy, Donald Trump jumped into action and threatened to promptly cut off all insurance and medical benefits for his infant grand-nephew unless Fred’s objections to the probate of Fred Trump Sr.’s Last Will & Testament was withdrawn. To some this may have looked like he was using the life of an innocent child as a bargaining chip in a legal dispute, and that’s true, but Mr. Trump simply cared too much about his immediate family, and the (financial) legacy of that his father had left to his living siblings and, incidentally, himself.
And when the Eric Trump Foundation hosted a fundraiser at Donald’s golf course, Eric could boast about how they were able to use his father’s assets for free. Although in truth, “free” was a strong word, because $100,000 of the donations that were raised for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital ended up being funneled into the Trump Organization.
So if you want to know who The Donald J. Trump Foundation cares about and who it is most concerned with helping above all others, it’s not hard to figure out. The answer is right there in our name.
- New York Times: The Donald J. Trump Foundation, Explained
- Washington Post: Trump promised millions to charity. We found less than $10,000 over 7 years.
- Buzzfeed: Trump Promised Millions To Charity, But Gave Little To His Own Foundation
- New York Post: Trump hasn’t contributed to his own foundation in years
- Washington Post: Trump boasts of philanthropy, but his giving falls short of his words.
- Forbes: How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into His Business
- New Yorker: What Sort of Man Is Donald Trump?