University of Arizona accepted $458K from eugenics foundation: report

The University of Arizona accepted more than $450,000 from the Pioneer Fund — a controversial foundation that promotes eugenics — according to records recently obtained by the Associated Press.

According to AP, records show that the school continued to accept money from the group, which promotes research linking race and intelligence. Records revealed that the university continued to accept funding even after other universities and groups, including white nationalist organizations, stopped, AP reported.

The University of Arizona received a total of $458,000 from the Pioneer Fund from 2003 to 2016.


Professor Aurelio Jose Figueredo, who directs a graduate program for the study of human behavior and evolutionary psychology, specifically applied for and received the funds from the foundation.

Figueredo reportedly accepted a $30,000 grant from the fund for the 2017-2018 academic school year, AP reported. 

The University of Arizona is the only U.S. school that has accepted money from the organization between 2011 and 2016, according to tax records obtained by AP.

AP noted that The Pioneer Fund paid for a Figueredo to travel to a London conference that included eugenics-themed presentations.

University spokesman Chris Sigurdson told the outlet that the university doesn’t engage in “viewpoint discrimination” in accepting grant money. 

“Professors seek research funds from a variety of sources,” he said. “The university does not typically restrict the source of outside funds, but focuses on protecting open, free, and competent academic inquiry.”

Figueredo insisted that the group’s history of pushing eugenics wasn’t a factor in his decision to apply grant money.

“The stuff that I’ve written and the stuff that I’ve researched does not lend itself to that kind of use,” he said. “I have done perfectly legitimate research that, by the way, has nothing whatsoever to do with race differences.”

“People have been signing off on this for years, and nobody has indicated that there is a problem,” he added.

AP noted that he is the only scientific researcher still accepting money from the group.

The Pioneer Fund is a private, tax-exempt foundation based out of Maryland that has donated nearly $7.8 million to 48 different organizations or individuals between 1998 and 2016.

It was created by Wickliffe Draper in 1937 in an effort to advocate for “race betterment,” according to the original charter.

AP noted that the organization has promoted eugenics and supported “race scientists,” who claimed to study how blacks are intellectually and genetically inferior to whites.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) classified the organization as a “white nationalist” and extremist group.

“Today, it still funds studies of race and intelligence, as well as eugenics, the 'science' of breeding superior human beings that was discredited by various Nazi atrocities,” according to The SPLC. 

Andrew Winston, a psychology professor who teaches a class on scientific racism at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, blasted the school for accepting the foundation’s money.

“The scientific racism supported by the Pioneer Fund is used by racial extremists around the world,” he told AP.