Pioneer Fund

From Academic Kids

The Pioneer Fund is a controversial non-profit foundation established in 1937 to, in their words, "aid in conducting study and research into the problems of heredity and eugenics in the human race". The Pioneer Fund supports work in behavioral genetics, intelligence, social demography, and group differences. It is currently headed by J. Philippe Rushton. It publishes a journal, Mankind Quarterly.


Controversy regarding the Pioneer Fund

A great deal of controversy surrounds The Pioneer Fund regarding claims that it has in the past supported or continues to support racism. The Pioneer Fund acknowledges some of its previous members and grantees have, as individuals, supported ideas such as racial segregation and human eugenics that are now widely disapproved of. Today, the Fund officially holds no political positions, including those regarding racialism and eugenics, and denies any such bias in choosing grantees.


The 1937 incorporation documents of the Pioneer Fund include statements that some have interpreted as having racist connotations. One section states that the Fund supports "research and study into the problems of race betterment". The phrase human race appears earlier within the same sentence, and the Pioneer Fund claims that the phrase race betterment has always referred to the entire human race, not any specific ethnic group. In 1985, the document was amended and the phrase changed to human race betterment.

The Pioneer Fund has, in the past, supported researchers who have, as individuals, espoused what would likely be today considered racism. In particular, one of the Pioneer Fund's five founders, Wickliffe Draper, made large financial contributions to efforts to support racial segregation, such as $215,000 to the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission in 1963.

In The Funding of Scientific Racism, Wiliam H. Tucker explores links between various past contributors to Mankind Quarterly and Nazism. Italian biologist and Mankind Quarterly associate editor Corrado Gini, Tucker writes, authored an article titled "The Scientific Basis of Fascism" and was once a scientific advisor to Mussolini. He states that the Northern League, an organization founded in England in 1958 by former Mankind Quarterly editor Roger Pearson, supported Nazi ideologies and included former members of the Nazi Party.

Tucker also writes that Pioneer supported the distribution of a German film later distributed by the Nazi Party. William Draper obtained the film, titled "Erbkrank" ("The Hereditary Defective"), from the predecessor to the Nazi Office of Racial Politics prior to the founding of the Pioneer Fund.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an anti-hate group, lists the Pioneer Fund as a watched group.

During the campaign over California's Proposition 187 there were complaints that the Pioneer Fund was channelling money in favor of the initiative through contributions to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). [1] (

Responses to criticisms

The Pioneer Fund has stated it rejects racism, and has claimed it is the victim of smear campaigns waged by those who consider a discussion of race to be taboo. In addition, it has asserted that the majority of criticism of the Fund should be directed at individuals, not the entire organization.

The Fund writes on their website that one should consider the historical context surrounding such beliefs, as many mainstream scientists of the first half the twentieth century supported racialist policies that would be unacceptable today. The Fund denies that Wickliffe Draper's views on race seriously influenced the Fund's decisions.

Clearly the professional research by the grantees of Pioneer Fund’s support should be judged only by the scientific merits of the research itself, and not by claims of inequity of past presidents of the Fund.

Notable grantees

The most famous Fund recipient is Nobel Prize-winning physicist William Shockley, who identified African-Americans as having average intelligence measured at 15 points lower than that of Whites, and who then offered to pay to have lower intelligence persons voluntarily sterilized. Other recipients of funding include:Thomas J. Bouchard Jr., Raymond B. Cattell, Hans Eysenck, Arthur Jensen, Garrett Hardin, Richard Lynn (also on the editorial board of Mankind Quarterly), R. Travis Osborne, Roger Pearson, and J. Philippe Rushton, the current president.

The Fund has given significant support to immigration reductionist organizations, including FAIR, American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF), and ProjectUSA.

Two major studies that received Pioneer Fund support are the Minnesota Study of Identical Twins Reared Apart, better known as the Minnesota Twins Project, and the Texas Adoption Project. The Minnesota Twins Project compared identical and fraternal twins who had been brought up in different families. The complementary Texas Adoption Project compared adopted children to their birth and adopted families. The studies purported to demonstrate that as much as half of intelligence and personality are inherited.

Notable founders and directors

The Pioneer Fund was created with contributions from Wickliffe Draper. Among the other notable founders were Frederick Henry Osborn and Harry H. Laughlin. Osborn was the secretary of the American Eugenics Society, the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Selective Service during World War II and later the Deputy U.S. Representative to the UN Atomic Energy Commission. Laughlin was the director of the Eugenics Record Office and served as the president of the Pioneer Fund from its inception until 1941.

Another director was John Marshall Harlan II, who was the director of operational analysis for the Eighth Air Force in World War II, and was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Eisenhower. He voted with his fellow justices to end school segregation in the famous Brown v. Board of Education case.

Other Fund alumni include John M. Woolsey, Jr., a staff attorney at the Nuremberg Trials, Malcolm Donald, a former editor of the Harvard Law Review and a brigidier general during World War II, Senator James O. Eastland of Mississippi, Henry E. Garrett, the former president of the American Psychological Association, and Representative Francis E. Walter.


  • The Science of Human Diversity: A History of the Pioneer Fund, Richard Lynn, Rowman & Littlefield 2001, ISBN 0761820418
  • Funding of Scientific Racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund, William H. Tucker, University of Illinois Press 2002, ISBN 0252027620

External links

Opinion pieces


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