U.S. Chamber of Commerce

05/29/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/29/2024 13:03

U.S. Chamber Foundation Letter to Ways & Means Committee

May 20, 2024

The Honorable Jason Smith

Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means

House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Your May 6, 2024, letter raised a series of questions based on an article published by Breitbart asserting that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) received $12 million from the Tides Foundation and suggesting that these funds may somehow have compromised the mission of the USCCF and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber). We appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions and set the record straight, especially with respect to this false and misleading article.

The Tides Foundation is not a member or donor of either the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the Chamber Foundation. Rather, the Tides Foundation operates Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) through which certain corporations and corporate foundations have donated to the USCCF. The USCCF engages with the donors directly, not through the Tides Foundation. The USCCF's only interaction with the Tides Foundation is routine correspondence related to the certification of the USCCF's compliance with IRS rules related to 501(c)(3) organizations' use of funds.

Ninety percent of the corporate and corporate foundation donations to USCCF through the Tides DAF go to the Hiring Our Heroes program, which assists members of the military community as they search for meaningful employment. Hiring Our Heroes uses the donations to support one of the country's largest upskilling programs, providing free online training certificates in high-demand careers including data analytics, IT support, project management, and cybersecurity. That program alone has provided free training to more than 9,000 veterans, military spouses and servicemembers, issued more than 5,000 certificates, and reported nearly 2,400 positive job outcomes (i.e., received a job offer or promotion) as a result of the certificate. Two-thirds of the participants have been enlisted servicemembers with the rank of E4 to E7. The other ten percent of funds USCCF has received from corporations and corporate foundation donors through the Tides DAF have supported USCCF workforce programs that aim to reduce barriers between employers of all sizes who have jobs to fill, and jobseekers who have skills to offer, particularly vocational skills.

USCCF also convenes public and private sector leaders to explore new ways to pay for education and skills training that are more affordable and create less debt while improving education and employment outcomes. This work is made more timely by the fact that more than 8.5 million U.S. jobs remain unfilled.

Finally, the Tides Foundation's Form 990 is publicly available and it identifies all the recipients of the thousands of individual grants the organization makes through its DAF. This includes funding for well-respected charities like Goodwill, the Red Cross, and Make-a-Wish Foundation as well as numerous religious and educational institutions. It also includes gifts to organizations that are not aligned with the Chamber and for activities which the Chamber would oppose. The corporations and corporate foundations that directed their contributions to the USCCF did so because they support the important work of hiring, upskilling, and preparing workers to support American economic prosperity.

We are proud of the USCCF's charitable work to help strengthen communities in areas such as disaster response and resilience, civics, education, and workforce development. In addition to serving more than 70,000 veterans, transitioning servicemembers, and military spouses through upskilling opportunities, internships, and hiring events, the Foundation in 2023 provided tools and resources to help more than 3,000 small business owners prepare for and recover from natural disasters, and we engaged more than 2,000 middle-schoolers in the National Civics Bee.

We are grateful that corporations and corporate foundations have been generous in supporting this work.

If you have any additional questions about the USCCF or the work of the Hiring Our Heroes program, please feel free to contact Eric Eversole, the President of Hiring Our Heroes, at 202-463-5631.

Sincerely,

Carolyn Cawley

President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Eric Eversole,

President, Hiring Our Heroes