Alex Blaze

About Bolthouse Farms

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 05, 2008 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Alliance Defense Fund, Bolthouse, Bolthouse Farms, Bolthouse Foundation, campaign contributions, donation plea, Guidestar, money, National Christian Foundation, Nora Bolthouse, William Bolthouse

For the latest and most accurate information about Bolthouse Farms, read this updated article.

William Bolthouse has just donated $100,000 dollars to the ballot initiative to amend California's constitution to ban same-sex marriage. He owns 43% of Bolthouse Farms, a company famous for its juice. (I haven't found an appropriate source for that sentence. Read this for more information about the link between the Bolthouse family, the Foundation, and the company.)

Bolthouse.08_low.jpgA couple of blogs have mentioned this before, but, really, it's just par for the course for Bolthouse juice. Since 2000, much of that money from the juice has gone to fund fundamentalist, homophobic, and right wing operations.

Back in 2000, he donated $2000 to Bush's presidential campaign and $1000 to GWB's campaign in 2004.

He also donated $11,500 to Gary Bauer's Campaign for Working Families in 2000 and $1000 to that organization in 2007. The PAC was designed to promote "traditional families in the political arena" through electing conservative candidates and financially supporting "pro-family ballot initiatives."

In fact, William Bolthouse sees his business as a "platform for ministry." So much so that he set up a foundation as a form of tithing the money he and his family made from the juice business.

The Bolthouse Foundation is also a major donor to the Alliance Defense Fund, a group of homophobic lawyers that try to get fundamentalism and homophobia through the courts.

This isn't surprising considering the Bolthouse Foundation's mission statement:

The Bolthouse Foundation is a private family foundation funded by some of the former owners of Wm. Bolthouse Farms, Inc.

The purpose of The Bolthouse Foundation is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by supporting charitable and religious organizations whose ministry, goals, and operating principles are consistent with evangelical Christianity as described in The Bolthouse Foundation Statement of Faith.

This Website is designed to provide information to qualified organizations interested in submitting a Grant Inquiry on an unsolicited basis.

In fact, they have a statement of faith that starts with this:

We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired by God and inerrant in the original writing, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.

"Inerrant"? "Final authority"? I have no problem with Christianity being used to help others, but this is clear fundamentalism.

The foundation gets all of its money, according to its 990, from William and Nora Bolthouse. And they get their money from their family business, Bolthouse Farms.

The organization, though, gave $6.2 million to the National Christian Foundation according to their 2006 990. They made $8.2 million that year and distributed around $6.4 million.

The National Christian Foundation, which seems to be a fundamentalist clearinghouse, has this as the first bullet point in their mission statement:

We believe that the entire Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God; the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

In other words, they're fundamentalists as well. They're a massive conservative Christian funding arm that funnels money to smaller actions, both ministry and politics, that work to promote a fundamentalist Christian worldview. Follow the link just above if you want to see the list of literally hundreds of evangelical, Christian, and/or fundamentalist organizations that they give money to.

When you buy juice or salad dressing from Bolthouse Farms, the money goes to the company, and then a portion of it to William Bolthouse. They fund the Bolthouse Foundation, which gives its money to the National Christian Foundation, which gives it to hundreds of smaller Christian organizations. And along each step, money is given to right-wing operations, like GWB's campaign, the ADF, and Gary Bauer's Campaign for Working Families.

When you buy the juice, some of that money is going to work against LGBT equality and has been for years. The fact that William Bolthouse just gave $100,000 to help the ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage in California is, really, just what he's been doing all along.


Bil emailed Bolthouse Farms and this is the response he got:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments with us. The Bolthouse Foundation is a private foundation funded by some of the former owners of Wm. Bolthouse Farms, Inc. The foundation is a separate entity and is not connected to Bolthouse Farms in any way. Furthermore, they do not receive financial support or benefit from the profits of Bolthouse Farms. We appreciate your concern and apologize for the confusion. Thank you for taking the time to contact us, and we hope you will continue to enjoy our products.

Except that the Foundation is funded completely by William and Nora Bolthouse, who own 43% of Bolthouse Farms. The financial support may not be direct, but it still exists.

Bolthouse Farms appears to be hiding its connection to the Bolthouse Foundation because giving money to fund homophobia and discrmination isn't good public relations.

Bil Browning helped with the writing of this post and Bilerico contributor Jeremy Bishop helped with the research. Thanks!

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Melanie Davis | June 5, 2008 4:46 PM

Hmmm. Which stores in town sell that? I think I've seen it at Whole Foods and Kroger, but I could be wrong. Time to do some research...

...research done: it's Wal-Mart, Kroger, & Meijer. Wild Oats showed up, but I didn't see it listed under Whole Foods, so I can't say right now if they still carry it or not.

What does this have anything to do with their products. So you are telling me that if I were selling something good for people and I didn't support your beliefs but my own that you wouldn't buy from me and keep others from doing the same. That is selfish. I hope that if you sell something someday that people research what you spend your money on. If they don't agree with your beliefs or what you spend your hard earned money on that they don't buy your products and pass your beliefs on to others. What a shame that you are trying to destroy someone else because of their beliefs. My children and I love all of their drink products except the blueberry one. It would be a great shame if my children and I lose out on something healthy for us for someone who probably has never tasted any of the products. Maybe I should stop buying products that aren't american and tell everyone else to do the same otherwise they would be helping workers outside of the US and we would continue to lose our jobs. Same thing just not as touchy as something religious.

I saw these products in CostCo also.

This is disgusting. We have to speak with our wallets and not support those that work against our community.

I emailed them yesterday and got this response (which is not supported by facts - a simple google search brings up a lot of documents that show the Foundation is mostly funded by the farm):

Thank you for contacting us. The Bolthouse Foundation is a private foundation funded by some of the former owners of Wm. Bolthouse Farms, Inc. The foundation is a separate entity and is not connected to Bolthouse Farms in any way. Furthermore, they do not receive financial support or benefit from the profits of Bolthouse Farms. We appreciate your concern and apologize for the confusion. Thank you for taking the time to contact us, and we hope you will continue to enjoy our products.

If we may be of further assistance, please write or call our Customer Service line at (800) 467-4683.

Thanks for showing that it's the standard response, Jeff.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 5, 2008 5:37 PM

Since they sell at Hillary Clintons Wal-Mart that makes boycotting them much easier. Stay away from the home of 'Always Lowest Wages".

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | June 5, 2008 6:16 PM

Pushpins, anyone?

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | June 5, 2008 6:33 PM

The Wiki on the company has a product list and lots of useful links:

I highly support William Bolthouse and the things that his company stands for. What a great testimony they are. Others should stand for God in this great way. I will continue to use their products and will promote them in every way possible.

I got the standard reply also and then replied:

"Nice try. The Bolthouse family stills owns a large part of your company. When the money I pay for your products goes into their pockets and then into causes such as this, you can't claim you have nothing to do with it."

I then got an answer that was the same exact response as before, word for word, except the dumbass hit "paste" twice and it ran back to back.

Good grief!

Personally, I like the juice. When it was on sale back when I lived in Indiana, I 'd get it half off or for 50 cents a bottle because it was pushing the expiration date. I guess none of that money went back to william bolthouse, but, still, i can't help but feel ignorant about what i was buying.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 5, 2008 9:53 PM

It is not just juice. Papa John Pizza's founder has set up his own town in Florida that adheres to right wing catholicism and markets it as such.

We used to buy the juice all the time. No more.

I think you're thinking of the Domino's founder, Robert. Papa John comes from Bloomington, IN and then moved the company to Louisville - not Florida.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 6, 2008 3:17 AM

Oh! Oops!

These products are also sold at Whole Foods Market, a company I've found to be quite gay/trans-friendly (at least in Indianapolis and Carmel). You can send them a message about the products they carry and the politics they support by going to their customer service page.

Robert's thinking about Thomas Donahue, the founder of Domino's. He sold out all his businesses (Domino's, the Detroit Tigers, and the Detroit Red Wings) in the 1980s to Mike Illych, to create the wacko-fundie-Catholic town in Florida.

John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John's, is still involved with Papa John's, and is a great corporate citizen and benefactor in the Louisville area. He chipped in many millions towards the U of L football stadium, the new basketball arena that is breaking ground soon, and the ballpark a few years ago. He attends an unfriendly megachurch (Southeast Christian), but I have never heard of him monetarily supporting any political agenda or candidate.

I've been drinking a lot of Bolthouse Farms products, lately, but I can assure you, it has nothing to do with what they do with their money, or what causes they support. That stuff is packed with protein, and loaded with other nutrients----and it tastes great at the same time.

Just the other day, I tried the protein soy drink. I paid for it, but drank it all before pulling up to pay for that, and the rest of my groceries. It was an awesome drink. And, just for the record, I was not paid to say that :)

The more people boycott the product, the more bottles I'll buy.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 6, 2008 5:11 PM

Chug away fannie.

Boycotts are a fun and easy way to get even with bigots. This one is and this one is all over the GLBT internet. Even if you drink till you end up in the ER we'll still win. Twice.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 7, 2008 8:52 AM

If I can redeem myself after my failed memory above here is what I do know for certain. Hate groups buy stock. I read stock reports from companies I have invested in and seen homophobic motions made at corporate annual meetings.

We need to develop a Gay oriented investments fund that all of us can put money into, that purchases stock, and can place motions and justifications before the entire ownership of publicly held companies. I would invest money in that! A boycott is hard to quantify because companies only know what they sell, not who they offend by their political contributions. I always voted no to ALL political contributions because business has no right to influence politics on social issues.

Anyone have connections with the investment community at the fund development level? Our gay dollars can either be on record or not, but a boycott is rather toothless.

DirectMale | June 10, 2008 2:09 AM

The Real Travesty
Although horrible that people would actually financially support such an amendment, the real travesty is that most Americans do not understand how this anti-gay agenda affects everyone not just the GLBT community. Cloaked in anti-gay rhetoric does not hide the fact that it is founded on discrimination which is unconstitutional!

Lessons Unlearned
Americans apparently haven't learned much from our history, which as we know then tends to repeat itself. Have we not been enlightened and have evolved from the horrendous events of our past--discrimination against Jews, Afican-Americans, Japanese, etc...

Next Undesirable?
Who will be next after the GLBT community? Will it be those with dark, curly hair, those living in Northern cities, those driving big gas guzzling cars? Think long and hard before supporting such an UNCONSTITUTIONAL afront on our civil liberties because you may be next in line to be outcast!

Zenpolice | June 13, 2008 2:57 PM

I buy Bolthouse Farms juices all the time; but after reading this I'm not ever going to buy any of them again.

Erica Johnson | June 17, 2008 12:46 AM

remember, too, that as the consumer, we only have partial influence. go to stores and [professionally and kindly] explain this to them, and ask them to consider banning bolthouse from their stores. whole foods especially seems like it might be open to doing this. as customers, we can only control where OUR money goes, which is really just to the stores. once the stores have stocked their shelves, bolthouse has already been paid.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | June 17, 2008 1:44 AM

As a consumer, you are the point -- your influence is as big as what you would buy. Not buying Bolthouse alone is smaller than refusing to patronize an entire store because they traffic with hate and that is smaller than joining with/organizing enough others to make a big enough impact then negotiating with the store to dump the haters lest the store lose the business of all of you plus the silent ones who will follow your lead.

Never forget that, when you speak up, businesses recognize that you are the tip of an iceberg of silent people who agree with you and who just need education and the permission of momentum that you can build to become active boycotters themselves.

Unfortunately, Costco sells the Bolthouse product aswell.

This report appears to be wrong.

I sent out several emails of intent to boycott Bolthouse Farms based upon your report, but in corresponding with Julie Soley at Bolthouse Farms, I received a very specific non-generic reply that confirms that William Bolthouse has not owned any part of Bolthouse Farms since 2005. He does not own any stock. He does not profit in any way from Bolthouse Farms operations.

While the Bolthouse Foundation may be despicable, a retraction should be published on your website about Bolthouse Farms and the erroneous information should be removed.

Here is the reply I received from Bolthouse Farms:

"William Bolthouse does not own any part of Bolthouse Farms. He has not been an owner since 2005. As stated on the website for The Bolthouse Foundation, no members of the foundation have a financial interest in Bolthouse Farms. Mr. Bolthouse does not own 43% of the company and he does not own any stock. He does not receive financial support or benefit from the profits of Bolthouse Farms."

And here's another reason to avoid Bolthouse Farms' products (also from Wiki):

Carrot botulism outbreak

In September 2006, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ordered a voluntarily recall on the Bolthouse Farms "100 per cent Carrot Juice" and other Bolthouse Farms products due to several cases of botulism resulting from consumption of the products. On September 29, 2006 the United States Food and Drug Administration recommended that Georgia residents not purchase Bolthouse Farms carrot juice and, the same day, warned consumers not to purchase Bolthouse Farms products dated November 11, 2006 or earlier.[9]

The warning and recalls were due to reported cases of consumption of the beverages resulting in six cases of botulism in the United States and Canada. Two cases in Toronto, Canada resulted in paralysis; three cases recorded in Georgia, United States resulted in respiratory failure, with the patients requiring ventilators; one case recorded in Florida resulted in hospitalization. The patient in Florida was last reported to be unresponsive since mid-September of 2006.[10]

In response, Bolthouse Farms claimed that the illness was the fault of the consumers who had failed to properly refrigerate the products.[9] The US Food and Drug Administration cited that this may not be the case and an investigation continues.

To Bill, here's what Wikipedia has to say:

"William Bolthouse and the Bolthouse Foundation

According to the Bolthouse Foundation official website:

No members of The Bolthouse Foundation have a financial interest in Bolthouse Farms, and The Bolthouse Foundation receives neither financial support nor benefits from the profits of Bolthouse Farms. Bolthouse Farms company profits are used to support the The Bolthouse Foundation.

However, Sarah Posner states that profits from the Bolthouse foundation are used to support the Evangelical Christian Alliance Defense Fund:

Last year, ADF received over $21 million in individual and foundation funding. Some of the major donors include ... the Bolthouse Foundation, which is underwritten chiefly with profits from Bolthouse Farms, a family-run California company whose products are often seen at organic markets and Whole Foods."

It appears that Bolthouse is prevaricating on ownership. I just posted this to the blend:

Periwinkle | July 8, 2008 9:08 AM

I'm very confused - I emailed the world and took much action to boycott Bolthouse, then I discovered that they actually did sell all their interests in the Juice Co in 2005. So, is it right to penalize the juice people now when the money they are using was made before 2005?

I have no interest in supporting Evangelical Juice companies because one can assume that the employees are working against progressive causes, but it seems as if Mr. & Mrs. Bolthouse are not directly profiting from the juice anymore.

I just want some clarity so I don't sound like a fool. If you visit the Foundation website, it says clearly that they don't get money from the juice.


Bolthouse is a private company. A large portion of the company (although not a majority) is still owned by The Right (very right) Reverend (not really) Bolthouse.

Presumably, this is a company planning an IPO in the near future (they have almost a billion dollars in convertible debt outstanding to the likes of Kohlberg, Blackrock, etc.).

The company has been actively obfuscating the holdings of Mr. Bolthouse. Moreover, Mr. Bolthouse appears to have been disingenuous about his holdings.

The boycott is a direct economic penalty accorded to Mr. Bolthouse because it has a direct effect on the value of his holdings in the company. In other words, a potential public offering of the company's shares is of considerable potential value to Mr. Bolthouse than any portion of the company's earnings AND is received at a lower (capital gains) tax rate.

The important thing is that it serves as a powerful disincentive to "invest" in gay bashing.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | July 8, 2008 4:23 PM

Not to mention that, as it's likely that, in the first year of an Obama administration, the capital gains benefits for Mr. Bolthouse would substantially decrease, Mr. Knows-What's-Best-For-Others'-Souls-More-Than-They-Do-And-He's-Trying-To-Impose-It-Like-It-Or-Not has a lot of incentive to move that little IPO along quickly.

About the ballet initiative and its relationship to Bolthouse Farms:

I currently work for Bolthouse Farms and this issue has been a topic of increasing concern. William Bolthouse is no longer associated with Bolthouse Farms or any of the operations of the company. He sold all of his ownership in the company when he stepped down in 2005. The money that was donated to this initiative was William Bolthouse's money and is in no way connected to the company.

The views expressed by Bill are in no way indicative or a reflection of the views of the company as a whole. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

I currently work for Bolthouse Farms and this issue has been a topic of increasing concern. William Bolthouse is no longer associated with Bolthouse Farms or any of the operations of the company. He sold all of his ownership in the company when he stepped down in 2005.

Take it up with William's friend, bigot and crackpot Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. He sent out a fund raiser and petition referencing William Bolthouse as a minority shareholder.

According to SEC documents, your company owes venture capital firms close to $1 billion. The exit strategy is presumably an IPO - something that William Bolthouse would significantly benefit from. Frankly, we haven't even BEGUN the pressure on retailers and food chains. Some of these are very sensitive to these issues.

These people refer to us as evil, perverted and sick. I, for one, have HAD it! These folks don't wear pointy hoods - they don't have to. I support their right to believe as they choose but that's not good enough. They want to impose their notion of morality on everyone else.

But YOU could be next. They don't like the books you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to or the web sites you visit. They want to teach your children that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that Darwin is a discredited theory. And if, you or a loved one, contract certain diseases, you or they won't get the breakthrough scientific care because - in collaboration with Bush - they have set back medical science seven or eight years.

I've been a fan of Bolthouse juices for years. They are truly organic and great tasting, the best on the market. I feel that a company giving over 3/4 of their revenue to the church ministries to inspire people to "keep the faith" is a positive thing. If not for such agencies who donate to keep up morals in society, the world will end up like Babylon and the fall of the empire. If you don't believe in God, that is your business, but you have no right to try to discredit a family because they are trying to inspire people to live by the morals of God's will.

I realize this post is getting old now - but I don't see any further updated post here, and there have been several articles about this in the press since then noting that the boycott of Bolthouse Farms has ended, as of October 2008:

Should there be one more further update here, or have I missed it?