Phyllis Schlafly founded Eagle Forum in 1975 and then, six years later, founded Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund (the “Education Fund”) in 1981. Phyllis founded these two organizations for separate and distinct purposes, which is clear from the way Phyllis chose to organize them.
The Education Fund is classified as tax-exempt under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3), a status that applies to organizations operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes. Donations to the Education Fund are tax-deductible for the donor. The stated purpose of the Education Fund, as set forth in its own Bylaws, confirms that it is an educational organization, founded to study and disseminate research on the status of woman in society. The Education Fund has no membership base, state chapters, or local affiliates. Moreover, because of its tax status, the Education Fund is prohibited from participating in the election of represented officials and no substantial part of its activities can be targeted to influence legislation. The Bylaws of the Education Fund confirm just how limited its role in politics is:
Unlike the Education Fund, Eagle Forum is classified as tax-exempt under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(4), a status that traditionally applies to social welfare organizations. Donations to Eagle Forum are not tax-deductible for the donor, since the money can be used for political purposes. Also, unlike the Education Fund, Eagle Forum’s tax status allows it to engage in political lobbying and political campaign activities. In fact, Eagle Forum’s very structure was tailor-made for advocacy: the Bylaws provide for local chapters of Eagle Forum, State Eagle Forums, and an overarching national Eagle Forum. Eagle Forum even has a connected political action committee, Eagle Forum PAC, to further its advocacy efforts among state and national politicians who share Phyllis’s vision for this country that she saw clearly so many years ago. Most importantly, the Eagle Forum Bylaws provide for a membership base at each level of its organization. Eagle Forum members can influence the issues that affect our entire nation as well as the issues that affect the local communities where we live. The genius of Phyllis was to create a volunteer member-driven grassroots organization. [Click Here to Read about the Future of Eagle Forum]
Not only does Eagle Forum, as an organization, engage in aggressive lobbying and other political activities to champion conservative values nationwide, its substantial membership base speaks to politicians in a language they can understand: votes. The Education Fund has no members and thus does not have comparable influence with elected officials. Politicians understand that Eagles are tired of the Washington machine; Eagles expect their elected officials to lead with the courage of their convictions. Politicians know that if they let the American people down, they will hear from Eagles: during luncheons and town halls, through phone calls and letter-writing campaigns and, most importantly, at the polls on election day.
The way Phyllis chose to organize Eagle Forum and the Education Fund can be reduced to a single sentence: The Education Fund was founded by Phyllis to promote education and Eagle Forum was founded by Phyllis to promote action.
And America needs action. There has never been a time in our nation’s history where it was more important for conservatives to come together under one banner and offer a unified vision for this country. Someone needs to take a stand for a republic based on religious freedom, personal responsibility, the importance of the family and the sanctity of life at all stages. Finally, after decades of career politicians, groomed from the cartels of Washington elites, President Trump has ushered in a new chapter for this country where power has been returned to the American people. This pivotal moment and the potential it represents cannot be wasted but must be capitalized upon. Our newfound power is wasted without focused action. Grassroots conservatives won President Trump the election and elected a groundswell of conservative politicians at each and every level of this nation’s government; we now have the responsibility to help them lead.
There is a call to action in this country. Eagle Forum is answering that call. Supporting Eagle Forum — with your time, donations and advocacy — invests in an organization with the political influence and infrastructure to put your support to its best possible use. Conservatives across America need to act efficiently, effectively and with clear purpose. At this crucial moment in American history, we need so much more than just education; we need action. Eagle Forum is ready to lead the way. And Eagle Forum needs your help and support to do it.