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Progressive Philanthropist and Radish-lover Stewart R. Mott Dies

Bloggers pay their respects to eccentric patron of liberal causes.
 
 
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Offbeat, outspoken progressive philanthropist Stewart R. Mott died last week at the age of 70. Mott was a generous donor to numerous progressive non-profits and liberal political campaigns.

The New York Times obituary lists some of Mott's good works:

Mr. Mott’s philanthropy included birth control, abortion reform, sex research, arms control, feminism, civil liberties, governmental reform, gay rights and research on extrasensory perception.

His political giving, often directed against incumbent presidents, was most visible. In 1968, he heavily bankrolled Senator Eugene McCarthy’s challenge to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Four years later, he was the biggest contributor to Senator George McGovern, the Democratic presidential nominee.

When Charles W. Colson, the White House chief counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, included Mr. Mott in the famed “enemies list,” Mr. Colson said of him, “nothing but big money for radic-lib candidates.”

The NYT obit also notes that Mott was a passionate urban farmer who "cultivated 460 plant species (including 17 types of radishes), a chicken coop and a compost pile, atop his Manhattan penthouse."

For the last 15 years, Mott helped support the the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. The FAS secrecy blog looked back with affection and gratitude yesterday: "[Mott's] capacity for kindness, not his flamboyance, was his most attractive quality. We are in his debt."

DailyKos diarist Seneca Doane is dismayed that Mott's life and death have largely passed without comment on progressive blogs. He writes, "I know this makes me sound like a cranky old man, but: cherish your history. Stewart Mott mattered."

Lindsay Beyerstein a New York writer blogging at Majikthise.

 
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