Born in San Rafael, California in 1948, Drummond Pike has served as a leading official of a number of leftwing philanthropic organizations, most notably the Tides Network, which he founded in 1976. He was the Tides Foundation's chief executive officer until September 2010.
Pike earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a master’s degree in that same field from the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers University. During his college years, he gained notoriety as an anti-Vietnam War protester and a student-power advocate, leading to his selection as a campus representative to the Board of Regents in 1969.
In 1970 Pike was associate director of the Youth Project (YP). Initially organized by activists from the Center for Community Change, YP was a funding group through which wealthy donors could finance the activities of young activists engaging in anti-business community organizing.
In 1976 Pike was selected by Alan S. Davis, son of American Association of Retired Persons co-founder Leonard Davis, to head his newly formed Shalan Foundation. That year, a young New Mexico couple came to Pike seeking to donate anonymously to a particular organization and needing a public foundation to funnel their money to the donee. The Shalan Foundation could not accommodate their request. Thus Pike and Arca Foundation president Jane Bagley Lehman co-created the Tides Foundation as a public charity that could facilitate the anonymous transfer of funds to leftwing recipients.
Pike also heads the Tides Center, which was created in 1996 by the Tides Foundation. The Tides Center functions as a legal firewall insulating the Tides Foundation from potential lawsuits filed by people whose livelihoods or well-being may have been harmed by Foundation-funded projects.
In addition to his duties with Tides, Pike serves as a director of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and as a board member of such activist groups as: Democracy Alliance; the Endswell Foundation, an environmental group in British Columbia; the Solidago Foundation, which contributed $15,000 to the Institute for Policy Studies; and Working Assets (which he co-founded). Pike is a Governing Board member of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, co-founded and bankrolled by George Soros. Other organizations in which Pike has held leadership positions include America’s Charities, the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund, Island Press, Network for Good, the Sage Centre, the Sierra Fund, the Social Venture Network, and the Threshold Foundation.
Pike founded the website Egrants.org (now Groundspring.org) to facilitate online charitable contributions to leftwing causes. He also created the Tsunami fund, an anti-capitalist, anti-gun ownership lobbying group. Both organizations have strong ties to the Tides Foundation.
Pike endorsed a May 1, 2003 document titled “10 Reasons Environmentalists Oppose an Attack on Iraq,” which was published by Environmentalists Against War. Other signers of the document included the Earth Island Institute, Friends of the Earth – US, Global Exchange, the Rainforest Action Network, the Ruckus Society, and Working Assets.
Viewing the United States as a nation infested with "structural racism" that limits opportunities for nonwhites, Pike favors a highly progressive tax structure (i.e., one that taxes the rich at much higher rates than the poor) as a necessary means of redistributing wealth. Pike also supports socialized medicine.
Pike has been an outspoken critic of America's involvement in the Iraq War. In April 2008 he wrote, "[M]ore Americans have died in Iraq than died on 9/11. One wonders if our misguided taste for revenge has run its course, since how else does one explain what we’ve done?" Pike also has called for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center that houses Islamic terrorists captured on Middle Eastern battlefields and has accused the Bush administration of mandating the torture of the Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
In April 2008 Pike criticized Rep. Tom Tancredo, the Republican congressman who has consistently pointed out the threat posed by illegal immigration, as "the Chief Immigrant Baiter among right wing politicians who collectively seem intent on blaming Spanish-speaking immigrants for every ill."
Later in 2008, Pike's close ties to the community organization ACORN surfaced after it was learned that Dale Rathke, the brother of ex-ACORN president Wade Rathke, had embezzled nearly $1 million from ACORN and its affiliated groups in 1999 and 2000. Pike personally repaid this money to ACORN.
Pike has made a number of campaign contributions over the years, mostly to Democratic candidates such as Sherrod Brown, John Edwards, and Barack Obama. He also has given money to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Moveon.org Political Action.
Pike is a great admirer of ACORN's founder and longtime leader Wade Rathke, who has been a Tides Foundation director since its inception. In addition, Pike is an officer of the Livingry Foundation.