When the dust settles, the biggest loser in Election 2016 could be the Clinton Foundation.
Or more correctly, the 11.5 million people in mostly developing nations who depend on the organizations and projects the Foundation boosts.
Right now I'm not even thinking about the barrage of investigations by Congress, federal regulatory agencies, state attorneys general and maybe even a probe by a special prosecutor that could await Foundation officials after Jan. 20. The knives are out, and maybe the Clintons deserve it.
I'm looking at the reality that Hillary Clinton lost. She lost. She went from almost leader of the Free World to an aging former first lady and secretary of state who takes quiet walks in the woods.
Her attraction to megadonors disappeared overnight.
Be honest, most wealthy donors foreign and domestic gave to the Clinton Foundation primarily to access power. No Hillary and Bill Clinton in the Oval Office, no power to access, no need to give to the Foundation.
"I would expect there will be much greater difficulties in fundraising for the organization," Leslie Lenkowsky, a professor with Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, told CNBC in an interview.
Hillary Clinton "technically has no political prospects ahead of her. They're both important people, but dealing with a past president and future president were attractive to a number of donors," Lenkowsky said. Some of the largest checks came from a range of influential donors like the governments of Norway, Australia and Kuwait.
"Some of that goodwill will disappear, [and] they will have to raise money the old fashioned way, which is proving they deserve it," he added.
Actually, donations have been in a steep decline ever since Hillary announced she was running and the FBI took an interest in the Foundation's operations. According to the group’s most recent tax filing, contributions dropped 37 percent to $108 million, which is down from $172 million in 2014. And that was before the "disastrous" presidential election.
Since the organization's inception, more than $2 billion have flowed to the Foundation, including tens of millions from big donors, according to the Foundation's public database.
Although the Foundation has a wide array of initiatives -- promoting economic equality for women, boosting entrepreneurship in emerging markets and tackling climate change -- it is probably best known for its health-care initiatives under one of its separate entities, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
Since 2005, according to CGI, it has spawned initiatives that:
- Raised $313 million for research and development into new vaccines and medicines;
- Helped provide better maternal and child survival care to more than 110 million people, and;
- Provided treatment for more than 36 million people with tropical diseases.
If you want a better idea what the sprawling Foundation does, read the Aug. 29, 2016 Fortune magazine story, "What Bill and Hillary Clinton's Controversial Foundation Actually Does."
Certainly it is considerable and admirable -- in spite of allegations of pay-to-play and abuse of Hillary's office as secretary of state.
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Hillary while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released to The Associated Press last August.
Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.
OK, we're all at least a little suspicious, some of us are even outraged. But the fact remains, the Foundation's defenders were right about one thing -- this organization has been responsible for a lot of very good work in a world that needs it.
The Clinton Foundation will survive. Bill Clinton is out there right now raising money for it again. But it will have to be restructured, its works significantly pared back. In Philanthropy World, it will become just another foundation.
The Clinton Foundation will never be the blanket for the Third World it was before.
If you can see beyond partisan politics, I hope you will agree with me that the Foundation's wounds -- the ones we can't so easily see -- are very major collateral damage. And for me, that's a genuine shame.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith