Clinton Foundation includes whole family in fund-raising

WASHINGTON — The Clintons are in fund-raising mode again, inviting supporters to a musical bash in London, a ‘‘night out’’ in San Francisco with Hillary and Chelsea, and — in a select series of private, one-on-one meetings — the opportunity to write a check for $5 million to $10 million.

The invitations, delivered by phone and e-mail, resemble those of past political campaigns, complete with tiered levels and special access that depends on the size of the contribution.

But this current quest for cash, which shifts into high gear this fall, is not to fund a run for political office. It’s to boost the financial standing of the rechristened Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.


As he contemplates his legacy, former president Bill Clinton is trying to build an endowment with the declared goal of $200 million to $250 million to ensure his charitable foundation lives on after his death.

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The foundation’s causes are expanding from those championed by the former president — fighting AIDS, climate change, and global poverty — to include newer domestic priorities embraced by Hillary and Chelsea. And that expansion means more fund-raising.

‘‘We had to have another way to raise the funds that we need in order to keep the lights on,’’ said Bruce Lindsey, chairman of the foundation, speaking on behalf of the Clintons. ‘‘You cannot continue to rely upon a single individual to raise all the money you need to raise on a yearly basis. First of all, it is unbelievably grueling on President Clinton, and second of all, if anything were to happen to him, it would end.’’

While this fund-raising push is philanthropic in nature, there are political implications, such as an unspoken deadline. Clinton insiders said they hope the endowment drive will be completed ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign so that if Hillary chooses to run, the foundation’s fund-raising would not distract from her campaign.

As the former secretary of state broadens her public profile with a series of major policy addresses, the Clinton Foundation has become the command post for all things Hillary. She is building a staff at its New York headquarters and launching programs on early childhood development and women’s and girls’ empowerment.


But some allies already see signs the newly reorganized charity is a ‘‘precampaign organization,’’ helping enhance Clinton’s reputation and expand her support network.

‘‘People are tripping over themselves to contribute to the foundation now,’’ said one Clinton ally, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. ‘‘It’s a way for political supporters to help Hillary at a time when there is no campaign to contribute to.’’

Though the amount the Clinton Foundation is seeking to raise is small compared with giant philanthropies , the ability to spend millions annually in pursuit of targeted causes is something any politician would envy. And the precampaign aura around Hillary is driving more money and attention to the foundation.

But Lindsey said he believes the foundation’s charitable projects should be incentive enough to make donations. ‘‘I frankly don’t have a clue what the motives are of the people who support the Clinton Foundation,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m just grateful for their support.’’