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The Clinton Foundation (founded in 1997 as the William J. Clinton Foundation, and called during 2013–15 the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation) is a nonprofit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code. It was established by former President of the United States Bill Clinton with the stated mission to “strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence.” The Foundation focuses on improving global health and wellness, increasing opportunity for women and girls, reducing childhood obesity and preventable diseases, creating economic opportunity and growth, and helping communities address the effects of climate change. The Foundation works principally through partnerships with like-minded individuals, organizations, corporations, and governments, often serving as an incubator for new policies and programs. Its offices are located in New York City and Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Clinton Foundation encompasses a number of different efforts and entities, including the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI, spun off into a separate but related organization in 2010), the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI, split off after 2009 but reintegrated after 2013), Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI), the Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative, the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the No Ceilings Project.
Through 2014 the foundation had raised almost $2 billion from U.S. corporations especially Wall Street; foreign governments and corporations; political donors; and various other moneyed interests. During its lifetime the foundation has received praise from philanthropic experts and has had support from both Democrats and Republicans, with the latter including members of the George W. Bush administration. Charitable grants are not a major focus of the Clinton Foundation, which instead keeps most of its money in house and hires staff to carry out its own humanitarian programs. Because of this unusual structure for a foundation, Charity Navigator, a charity watchdog, has said it does not have a methodology to rate the Clinton Foundation. Consequently, they added the foundation to their charity “watch list” in April 2015; it was removed from the “watch list” in December 2015 after the charity posted amended tax returns and a public memo on its website. A different charity monitor, the American Institute of Philanthropy, says that 89 percent of the foundation’s money goes toward its charitable mission and gave the foundation an A rating for 2013.
Questions have been raised about the foundation’s financial practices, about its fundraising from foreign governments and corporations, about the transparency of its reporting of its donors, and about possible conflicts of interest between donations to the foundation and the actions of Hillary Clinton when she was U.S. Secretary of State during 2009–13 and in connection with her subsequent 2016 presidential campaign. (See also: Transparency of Clinton Foundation.) In 2016, media outlets reported that in fall 2015 the United States Department of State issued a subpoena to the foundation for records relating to activities by the foundation during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state and for information regarding activities by 2016