Committee for the Free World

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The Committee for the Free World (CFW), according to the August 1998 update by Group Watch, was founded in 1981 by Midge Decter who was the organization's executive director.

Group Watch wrote that the CFW had "tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) and began with funding of $125,000 from individuals and ultra-conservative foundations. Among the original funders were three of the major right-wing foundations": Scaife Foundations, John M. Olin Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation.

"In its initial press conference, the CFW said it planned to work for freedom 'in the world of ideas,' and planned to concentrate its efforts on books, newspapers, broadcasting networks, and in classrooms. It envisioned itself as an organization committed to the defense of the non-communist world 'against the rising menace of totalitarianism.' The group's intellectualism, democratic emphasis, and strident anticommunism [placed] the CFW in the arena of the numerous neoconservative groups formed preceeding and following the election of former President Ronald Reagan.

"According to its brochure, the CFW [had] three purposes: to promote democracy; to keep the public aware of all threats to democracy; and to oppose the influence of those inside and outside of the U. S. 'who have made themselves the enemies of the democratic order.'

The CFW had "a speakers bureau ... and a monthly publication, Contentions. It [claimed] to have 400 members and to focus its activities in the U. K. and the U. S."


Officers, 1989

Board of Directors, 1989


  • "The Scaife Family Charitable Trusts and the Smith Richardson Foundations put up at least $25,000 each in 1981.
  • "The Adolph Coors Foundation gave CWF a $15,000 grant in 1985 for projects advocating democracy and a free society. The John M. Olin Foundation granted $35,000 in 1985 and $50,000 in 1986 for support of publications and for other educational purposes.
  • "The Smith Richardson Foundation awarded four grants in 1985: $35,000 for general support, $35,000 for Women and Families for Defense, $25,000 for a film project on the American Communist Party, and $10,000 for the Campus Coalition for Democracy. In 1986, Smith Richardson gave $42,500 for general support.
  • "In 1985, The Sarah Scaife Foundation gave $35,000 for operating support. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation gave $100,000 in 1986 in support of a conference in Milwaukee and general activities."


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