Richard Mellon Scaife (born July 3, 1932 – died July 4, 2014) was an American billionaire, newspaper publisher, and prominent philanthropist. He was an heir to the Mellon family fortune, which was amassed through banking and industrial investments, including Mellon Bank and Gulf Oil.
Scaife was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Sarah Cordelia Mellon and Alan Magee Scaife. He was the great-nephew of prominent banker and philanthropist Andrew W. Mellon. Scaife attended prestigious schools, including the Deerfield Academy and Yale University. However, he was expelled from Yale due to poor academic performance and excessive drinking. He later graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English in 1957.
After his father's death in 1958, Scaife inherited a substantial amount of wealth and became actively involved in managing the family's investments. He served as the Vice President of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, named after his mother, and Chairman of the Board of the Allegheny Foundation. Both foundations were established to promote [[conservative]] values and causes.
In 1970, Scaife acquired a controlling interest in the Greensburg Tribune-Review, a small newspaper in western Pennsylvania. He later expanded his media holdings by launching the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in 1992, which became a rival to the more established Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Scaife's newspapers were known for their conservative editorial stances and investigative journalism.
## Philanthropy and political donations
Scaife was a major donor to conservative causes and organizations, earning him the nickname "the funding father of the right." He financially supported think tanks, such as The [[Heritage Foundation]] and The [[American Enterprise Institute (AEI)]], as well as various political candidates and conservative organizations. Scaife's contributions were pivotal in shaping the modern American conservative movement.
However, his funding of conservative causes was not without controversy. He was a key financier of the "Arkansas Project," an initiative aimed at discrediting then-President Bill Clinton through investigations into his personal and political life. This project was widely criticized for its partisanship and for promoting [conspiracy theories](https://doctorparadox.net/why-do-people-believe-conspiracy-theories/).
## Personal life and death
Scaife's personal life was often tumultuous, marked by alcoholism, multiple marriages, and estrangement from his family. He was married three times and had two children. In 2013, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with an untreatable form of cancer. Richard Mellon Scaife passed away on July 4, 2014, at the age of 82.