Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Thousands in Donations to Planned Parenthood Overseen by Aquinas College (Mich.) Graduation Speaker

The commencement speaker for graduation ceremonies at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a philanthropist who has overseen thousands of dollars in grants to Planned Parenthood, according to foundation websites.

Aquinas College announced that its commencement speaker will be Kate Pew Wolters, a Trustee Emerita of the college.

Wolters’ work as chair of the Steelcase Foundation since 1996 is cited at the top of her description by Aquinas College. The Cardinal Newman Society has learned that the Steelcase Foundation has donated vast sums of money to Planned Parenthood during her tenure.

According to 2012 documents on Steelcase’s website, the organization listed a grant of $120,000 to Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan.

The organization’s website shows donations during the previous year totaling more than $36,000 to the same Planned Parenthood chapter. The group lists those donations under “Human Service.”

The College itself has reportedly received $1 million in grants from Steelcase Foundation, which has funded the Center for Sustainability at Aquinas College.

And as president of her personal foundation, the Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation, Wolters has reportedly overseen thousands of dollars being distributed directly to Planned Parenthood of Western Michigan.

In 2003 alone, the group reportedly donated $15,000 to the chapter of Planned Parenthood. In 2009, according to tax records, the Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation donated $30,000, calling it an “annual donation.” In 2011, according to the group’s IRS 990 form which is available online, the group donated a $35,000 “operating grant” to Planned Parenthood of Western Michigan. The following year, according to the group’s 2012 990 IRS form, which is available online, the group donated an “operating grant” of $35,000 to the Planned Parenthood Center of Western Michigan and a capital grant of $25,000.

The College has also benefited greatly from the Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation, receiving, according to tax documents, $65,000 in 2009 alone for the Aquinas Fund, a “Community Leadership Endowment”, and a “Fitness Center.”

Aquinas, according to the College’s website, has recognized Wolters with a variety of awards including an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Aquinas College in 1999 and the Aquinas College Reflection Award in 2004.

Aquinas College touts her work with these two foundations in its announcement of Wolters as the commencement speaker.

Kate Pew Wolters is a current member of the Steelcase Board of Directors and chair of the Steelcase Foundation since 1996. She also serves as president of the Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation, a private organization founded in 1997 that makes grants to nonprofit organizations with an emphasis in the arts, education, human services, and people with disabilities.

Wolters has also reportedly been a board member of the Progressive Women’s Alliance, a PAC which donates to political candidates and states on its website that it is “committed to the right of privacy to make choices regarding reproduction.”

Aquinas College did not respond by publication time.

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