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VERIFYING claim about donors of Heritage Foundation, Project 2025

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We VERIFY if and when families connected to Coors beer, Walmart and ExxonMobil donated to the Heritage Foundation, which is behind Project 2025.

Project 2025, the Heritage Foundation-led initiative for the next conservative president to follow to transform the federal government, has received growing attention in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election. Some of the plan’s goals would be to fire thousands of federal workers and replace them with conservatives, abolish the Department of Education and eliminate federal funding for abortion providers.

More from VERIFY: What we can VERIFY about Project 2025

VERIFY has received dozens of questions from readers regarding Project 2025.

Viral posts on Threads and Facebook claim that “the Coors family (beer), the Walton Family (Walmart), and Exon Mobile have contributed to the Heritage Foundation, Project 2025.”

THE QUESTION

Have the Coors family, Walton family and ExxonMobil donated to the Heritage Foundation and Project 2025?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This needs context.

The Adolph Coors Foundation, Walton Family Foundation and ExxonMobil Foundation have all donated to the Heritage Foundation in the past. However, only the Adolph Coors Foundation has donated to the organization since the think tank publicly announced Project 2025.

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WHAT WE FOUND

The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank that has helped shape policy for Republican politicians and past Republican administrations since 1973. The Heritage Foundation launched Project 2025 in 2022 to outline a plan for how a future conservative presidential administration could implement its agenda from the next inauguration day.

The Adolph Coors Foundation, which is the Coors family’s charity organization, is an active donor to the Heritage Foundation. Multiple members of the Coors family remain on the board of directors of Molson Coors, which owns the Coors beer brand.

The Walton Family Foundation, which is Walmart’s founding family’s charitable organization, and the ExxonMobil Foundation have not recently donated to the Heritage Foundation, according to the organizations’ grant lists. It appears that both organizations stopped donating to the Heritage Foundation prior to the announcement of Project 2025.

The Heritage Foundation is not obligated to reveal the identities of its donors. Still, the organization’s 2023 annual report and 2022 annual report name the Adolph Coors Foundation among the Heritage Foundation’s donors. They do not name the Walton Family Foundation or the ExxonMobil Foundation in either report.

The Adolph Coors Foundation names the Heritage Foundation as one of the organization’s “featured projects” on its website. The Adolph Coors Foundation notes that Joseph Coors was one of the Heritage Foundation’s founders.

The 2023 grant list for the Walton Family Foundation isn’t yet available. However, neither the organization’s 2022 grant list or its 2022 tax forms indicate any donations to the Heritage Foundation.

The Walton Family Foundation’s website says the organization donated to the Heritage Foundation almost every year between 1992 and 2018.

Each year, ExxonMobil releases its “Worldwide Giving Report” that lists the organizations the corporation donates to through the ExxonMobil Foundation. The 2022 report, its most recent, includes a list of think tanks, public information and policy research organizations to which the ExxonMobil Foundation has granted money. The Heritage Foundation is not included in that list.

ExxonMobil’s 2012 Worldwide Giving Report shows the company’s foundation gave to significantly more think tanks and similar organizations that year, including a $50,000 donation to the Heritage Foundation.

The Heritage Foundation did not appear in ExxonMobil’s giving reports from 2017 to 2022.

While it’s possible members of the Walton family and executives at ExxonMobil have made their own donations separate from the broader charitable organizations, there is no obligation for individuals to reveal their donations to the public.

VERIFY reached out to ExxonMobil and the Walton Family Foundation to confirm their donation history and did not receive responses before publishing.

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