Blair's charity hopes to strike gold in California

Tony Blair's post-Downing Street empire is to lay foundations in California, after the former prime minister's charitable foundation won official backing to raise money on the Golden State's lucrative "charity circuit".

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation, set up in 2008 to forge links between major faiths and fight religious extremism, is already represented in California by celebrity pastor Rick Warren, the influential evangelical who gave the invocation at President Obama's inauguration ceremony and has courted controversy by speaking out against abortion and same-sex marriage.

Warren is a member of the foundation's Religious Advisory Council. Larry Ross, a spokesman for the pastor, said he was a "good friend" of Mr Blair's. "He has been in conversation with him about the Foundation since its establishment two years ago," he added. Warren faced protests at his California church three years ago after he called for the state's constitution to be changed to ban gay marriage. He also takes an ultra-conservative stance on abortion and stem-cell research, describing the Christian opposition to such issues "non-negotiable".

Blair's Faith Foundation has had charitable status in the US since it was established, but many states require individual registration for bodies hoping to solicit public donations.

"We're going through the process of advance solicitation registration in every state that requires it," a spokesman from Tony Blair's office, which oversees his several political and charitable projects, told The Independent. "Because we've got some public events coming up over the next year in the USA, this makes sense."

Warren's office could not confirm whether or not the controversial pastor would be attending fundraising events in the state.

He has already made a number of public appearances with Mr Blair, most recently at a joint lecture at his church in March.

Mr Blair's foundation, which is run by his former Downing Street aide Ruth Turner, has raised £1.4m in the US in its first two years and is aiming to increase revenues with its ventures in California and elsewhere. Mr Blair's office said the foundation was "expanding globally".

The foundation supports educational and philanthropic projects and runs scholarships for "future world leaders" of different faiths.

Its interests are managed by a network of volunteers across the globe with the majority in the US. In California it has 10 registered volunteers as well as links to a Catholic school near to the town of Lake Forest – home to Warren's church.

Since standing down as prime minister, Mr Blair has founded two other charitable organisations: the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative and the Tony Blair Sports Foundation. He also acts as an envoy to the Middle East for the US, UN, Russia and the EU.

Mr Blair has amassed an estimated £60m fortune, partly from a series of lucrative lecture tours, the latest of which will take him to Australia and New Zealand at the end of this month. A single ticket to his Sydney and Melbourne lectures, entitled "Lessons in Leadership, Negotiation and Innovation", costs £665.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones