From local roots, Bradley Foundation builds conservative empire

From local roots, Bradley Foundation builds conservative empire

With more than $600 million in assets, the Bradley Foundation provides a cornerstone for the conservative movement in Wisconsin and across America. It has been the financial backer behind public policy experiments that started in the state and spread across the nation – including welfare reform, public vouchers for private schools and, this year, cutbacks in public employee benefits and collective bargaining. 

Yet outside conservative circles, the foundation has kept a low profile. It receives a fraction of the attention given the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch and the Scaife family.

But the Bradley Foundation is in a different league: From 2001 to 2009, it doled out nearly as much money as the seven Koch and Scaife foundations combined.

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