Details About the Investments
1. West by Southwest
California, Arizona, and Nevada together had enough winnable Congressional races in 2018 to get Democrats one-third of the way toward control of the House. Done! In Nevada we helped elect the first Democratic governor in 20 years and turned a 2014 Red trifecta to a 2018 Blue trifecta. You’re investing in 6 powerful groups: 3 in California plus incredible front line groups in Nevada and Arizona, a must-win presidential state.
A coalition of black and brown, faith-based and low-income organizations. Orange County was home to 4 Congressional races that crushed it against all odds in 2018 with a 64% increase in voter turnout vs. 2014. They talked to 61,000 voters, many of them in Latinx and Asian/Pacific Islander communities which are now a majority of Orange County’s population. They continue to work with these communities on housing, soaring rental prices, immigration, policing issues, workers rights and minimum wage. They are incubating new youth-run LatinX and Vietnamese groups. And they are fighting bottom up for seats on the Anaheim city council, controlled by Disney, the biggest and worst employer in Orange County.
Executive Director: Marc Victoria
Based in Oakland, Power California is building a disciplined, culturally-attuned movement of Black, Latinx, Asian-Pacific, Muslim and Native communities across the state. A network of 21 community organizations with long-term vision and goals for shared power, training leaders and getting out the vote. Their groups played a big role in 2018 victories with massive increases in 18-34 voting (529% higher than 2014) and people of color 18-34 (409% higher than 2014). Statewide the people they contacted voted at a 15% higher rate than non-contacts.
Executive Director: Luis Sánchez
CNC is an independent year round phone banking and canvassing organization in the Central Valley. Their goal since 2010: expand the electorate by deeply engaging with LatinX and young voters. CNC runs 5 local phone banking offices that check in on their entire universe of 100,000 low propensity voters every quarter. When elections get close, they turn into a get-out-the-vote operation with bilingual teams of canvassers, peer-to-peer texting, and “chase” teams that track down people who have not turned in their absentee ballots. CNC had 35,000 direct conversations with voters in CD-10 where Josh Harder won by 10,000 votes. And 20,000 conversations in CD-21 where TJ Cox won by 900 votes. Their goal was to deliver 14,000 of their own unlikely voters in each district.
Executive Director: Pablo Rodriguez
Nevada went from a Republican trifecta in 2014 to a Democratic trifecta in 2018. Nevadans elected their first Democratic governor in 20 years. PLAN Action, our group in Nevada, had a lot to do with it. PLAN targeted 225,000 voters—most of them did not vote in 2014 and many did not vote in 2016. Their 2018 target voters were younger, more female, black and Latinx than the general voting population. PLAN started working earlier than ever before, mobilizing almost 300 volunteers beginning in February 2018, and it paid off. Nevadans soundly rejected hate and division thanks to the infusion of new voters from youth, immigrant, Indigenous and communities of color who voted in record numbers. On the agenda for the new Democratic legislature: fighting the Las Vegas Water Grab, increasing the minimum wage, background checks for firearms, reining in payday lenders, ending cash bail, and moving traffic tickets to civil court.
Executive Director: Laura Martin
LUCHA is a crucial statewide voice in Arizonans’ fight for economic justice. LUCHA was instrumental in passing Prop 206 by nearly 20 points, providing up to five days of paid sick leave for all workers and raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020. When legislators set about dismantling it, LUCHA members made thousands of phone calls, showed up in force at legislative hearings and they won! They are now focused on defeating a bill to reduce the minimum wage for workers under 22. “Burritos and Briefing” meetings across the state help LUCHA learn about the concerns of community members which are then forged into legislative proposals. The Speak Freedom Bills LUCHA is supporting now will provide more ways to avoid a felony record for non-violent crimes, reduce the number of people who are subject to high mandatory minimums and reduce probation fees. In 2018 500 volunteers knocked on 60,000 doors to defeat the Maricopa County Recorder, who in 2012 threw out 100,000 provisional ballots and cut the number of polling places which resulted in 5 hour long voting lines resulting in the reelection of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. LUCHA is also partnering with community groups around the state to elect progressive candidates for board of supervisors and mayors.
Executive Directors: Alejandra Gomes and Tomas Robles
BAZTA - Bringing Arizona to Action
Born in the same successful movement to oust Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office, BAZTA works in Maricopa County, home to 60% of Arizona’s population. They organize in Phoenix’s Maryvale neighborhood of 600,000 (primarily Latinx) working class residents. With 44 police shootings in 2018 alone, BAZTA describes its mission as “not just an election, not just an issue, it’s our life.” In early 2019, organizers worked to get people to the polls for a mayoral election that focused on policing, defeating the police union-supported candidate who resisted calls for increased police oversight. BAZTA (from the Spanish “Basta!" or enough!) worked to add $750,000 to the budget for a first-in-the-country trauma response unit to aid victims and families of police shooting. They also have an active youth program of 14-19 year-olds who are training as grassroots organizers. These young people will help build capacity to run progressive campaigns to bring voters to the polls in 2020 and beyond, ensuring greater justice in census and redistricting.
Executive Director: Viri Hernandez
2. Lift the Midwest
In 2018 we received a $50,000 match from the Movement Voter Project and we invested that money in some high powered, under resourced groups in a part of the country where a lot of people who voted for Obama stayed home in 2016. Airlift helped five heroic midwestern groups make urgent repairs to the old blue wall that crumbled in 2016. In 2018 the Midwest came roaring back! In Michigan and Wisconsin, Republicans lost every single statewide office. That was true in Pennsylvania too, which we are making an honorary member of the Midwest, and where we are adding two new groups.
Detroit Action for a New Economy
Detroit Action grew out of a Service Employees International Union–sponsored campaign called Fight for a Fair Economy. They have a two-fisted approach: fighting for bread and butter issues and deep leadership development. Their audience: 78,000 of the lowest of low propensity voters in Detroit and suburbs like Pontiac and Southfield. In 2018 they had 45 field staff who organized new voters as “housing voters” and “public education voters” and “criminal justice voters.” If you voted, Detroit Action knows why you voted, and they have 6 full-time organizers back at your door, supporting the drumbeat for 2020. Because they pushes for policies before and after elections, politicians know they are being held accountable. So policies like the return of the earned income tax credit and expunging marijuana convictions are now on the front burner in the capital. Detroit Action also pushed Rashida Tlaib over the edge by 900 votes in a 5-way Congressional primary. Rashida is a dues-paying member who worked with them on housing and employment issues,
Executive Director: Branden Snyder
Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes, the narrowest margin of any state. Democrats bounced back strong in 2018, winning all statewide seats, flipping two congressional races, and winning all three progressive ballot measures. This was in no small part due to Michigan Liberation, a new group run by two talented organizers who are running a Detroit-plus strategy using an authentic racial and economic justice message. Detroit has as many black people living in the suburbs as in the core city. Many of them are in Oakland County, where Michigan Liberation helped put Elisa Slotkin and Haley Stevens over the top. Within their two congressional districts, Democrats also won 5 state legislative seats, some of them never held by Democrats before. Also won: two critical county commission seats, putting Oakland County in Democratic hands for the first time in two decades. In their sights for 2020: moving this strategy to Kent County, home to Grand Rapids and Betsy de Vos, where a similar power dynamic exists.
Executive Directors: Elisheva Johnson and Meredith Loomis Quinlan
Barely a year old, Milwaukee BLOC works in the most incarcerated zip code in the U.S. and delivers votes in neighborhoods the pros gave up on a long time ago. In a governor’s race decided by 30,000 votes, BLOC talked to 14,000 voters, helping Tony Evers win Milwaukee by 78%. They also talked to thousands of voters helping to elect Earnell Lucas as Milwaukee sheriff and Rebecca Dallet to the state supreme court. Led by visionary organizer Angela Lang, BLOC calls canvassers “ambassadors,” runs silent canvasses where candidates just come to listen, and educates staff with a civics version of Jeopardy created by one of their organizers. Now they want to keep their ambassadors engaged as BLOC captains, some of whom want to run for office in 2020.
Executive Director: Angela Lang
The Wisconsin Working Families Organization is a grassroots group that fights to raise the minimum wage, get big money out of politics, and advocate for racial justice. In 2018 they ran one of the largest volunteer operations in Wisconsin, drafting Randy Bryce to run for Congress which forced the premature retirement of Paul Ryan, helped run notorious sheriff Dave Clarke out of office, ousted Scott Walker and elected Working Families board member Mandela Barnes to the post of Lt. Governor. Wisconsin Working Families is headed by Milwaukee County supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic. They organized a progressive takeover of the Milwaukee School Board to undo the damage caused by Scott Walker. They recruited and ran a 5 person, majority women of color slate and the entire slate won! Wisconsin Working Families goal: keep turning Wisconsin back to blue!
Executive Director: Marina Dimitrijevic
OnePA is not shy about taking on challenges. They are working from strong bases in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and actively engaging with low-income, Latinx, and black community groups across the state. Their leader, firebrand Erin Kramer, started out organizing Head Start Workers in Virginia and fighting to save worker retirements in Ohio. In Western PA this year OnePA fought successfully to keep guns out of schools and to keep the water system public. In Philly, they won a $15 minimum wage for city workers and contractors, fairer work rules in the city’s retail, hospitality and service industries, and good cause eviction protections for renters. Statewide, they are fighting for a $15 minimum wage and to shut down a state board that can overrule local decisions on denying or closing charter schools. Also on the docket, planning huge campaigns around the census and redistricting and expanding to Delaware County, home to many people who are being forced out of Philly by high rents.
Executive Director: Erin Kramer
Pennsylvania Stands Up
Two and a half years ago Donald Trump won the State of Pennsylvania by 30,000 votes. Over the course of half a century, progressive forces have functionally divested from the huge middle of the state between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. In 2016, nearly 2/3 of Democratic committee seats were unfilled. The image of rural white working class Pennsylvania no longer holds. Many small cities have significant, even majority, populations of people of color. Lancaster Stands Up, an upstart group that helped engineer a heroic congressional campaign in a R+14 district (PA-11) showed that it was possible to change the cultural and political terrain of the state. The campaign got national attention. They knocked on 250,000 doors, made over a million phone calls and held over 70 town hall meetings. LSU’s goals were to “electoralize the resistance” and to build long term power that lasts beyond a single election cycle. In 2018 they also trained dozens of small grassroots groups to lead volunteer-powered independent canvassing programs that knocked on 20,000 doors in 15 rural counties. Now, working with a statewide network of progressive groups, they are deepening and scaling their work to reach dozens of small cities. Their goals: win elections, win progressive issue campaigns, and galvanize a new generation of grassroots leaders across non-metro Pennsylvania.
Executive Director: Hannah Laurison
3. Voter Motor
The Voter Motor Fund supports 5 voting rights groups in Florida, Georgia, Virginia and Texas. These amazing organizations are fighting off waves of voter suppression measures, and right-wing attacks seem to make them stronger. They succeeded in restoring voting rights for 850,000 ex-felons in Florida, increased early youth voting in Texas by 500%, and were way ahead of schedule in narrowing giant perennial vote gaps in Georgia and Texas. They also won a ton of down ballot victories.
Headed up by brilliant strategist/organizers LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright, Black Voters Matter is super important in North Florida, as well as Alabama and North Carolina. It is the only group in our Voter Motor Fund that lives in more than one state. The group was founded in Georgia’s black belt in 2016 where they helped flip a local state legislature race, breaking Georgia’s GOP supermajority. BVM captured national public attention in 2017 with the unexpected victory of Democratic candidate Doug Jones in deeply red Alabama. Post-election analysis clearly showed that community organizing was responsible for this victory. It was because the BVM message was around voters (“It’s About Us,” “Black Voters Matter,” “Woke Vote,” “Power of the Sister Vote” and “Vote or Die.“) not around politicians. BVM made mini-grants to over 30 local community-based organizations to get out the vote, funding 600 paid organizers to work in communities ignored by the Democratic Party. Largely as a result of their efforts, black women represented 29% of the vote and 98% of them voted for Jones. In 2018 LaTosha and her team undertook “The South is Rising” bus tour of neglected rural communities—a tactic that got news coverage all over the country. Top of the ticket Democrats came closer in Florida and Georgia than many people thought possible, and were responsible for many local victories. Black Voters Matter is continuing to build power under the banner “Our Votes Decide Elections.”
Executive Directors: LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright
More than 6 million Americans are unable to vote because they were once convicted of a felony. In Florida this includes people who have been convicted of non-violent crimes like driving with an expired license or catching a lobster with a tail that’s too long. Felon disenfranchisement was part of the Jim Crow mechanism that kept African Americans out of the political process. One of the most effective ways to do that was to arrest people on crazy charges and strip away their right to vote as a result of that conviction. Nowhere was this problem worse than in Florida. It has had the highest disenfranchisement rate in the country, and the African American community has been hit the hardest. Enter groups like Organize Florida, dedicated to helping low and moderate income people get plugged into a political system that starts to work for them. Their campaign priorities are voting rights, affordable housing, healthcare, electoral organizing, and Hispanic and Puerto Rican engagement. In 2018 they organized support for Amendment 4, which restored the right to vote for 1.4 million Floridians. This is the biggest addition to the electorate since women got the vote in 1920. Organize Florida also turned out Latinx voters including many Puerto Rican climate refugees. Mobilizing the Puerto Rican-American community is one of the organization’s top priorities. This voting block will surpass Cuban Americans in Florida in 2020. In 2019 Organize Florida is identifying and registering the newly eligible voters following the passage of Amendment 4 and combining voter registration work with gathering signatures for 2020 ballot amendments to expand Medicaid and to raise the minimum wage.
Executive Director: Stephanie Porta
This powerhouse organization coordinated the 2017 political strategy that “came out of nowhere” to win the governorship and almost took back the VA House of Delegates. NVM’s 2017-2018 field programs targeted over 250,000 low propensity voters. In 2018, their years of work on Medicaid Expansion resulted in 400,000 Virginians getting access to medical care for the first time. NVM’s engagement program ensured that in every district and every campaign, Medicaid Expansion was the top priority. In November 2018, NVM played a critical role in flipping 3 congressional seats, giving Virginia’s U.S. House delegation a 7-4 Democratic majority. In precincts where NVM led get-out-the-vote efforts, voter turnout increased by an average of 55%, and in some cases, more than doubled. Their 2019 target universe is progressive, unlikely voters in Congressional districts that overlap with state Senate and Assembly districts, a deliberate strategy to flip the VA legislature. Also on the agenda 2019: fighting for redistricting reform, driver privileges for all, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay fines and fees, increasing the minimum wage, and absentee voting for all.
Executive Directors: Tram Nguyen and John Liss
In 2008, under the best possible conditions for a Democrat, Barack Obama lost Georgia by just over 200,000 votes. Four years later, he lost by 300,000 votes. By any measure the state is a reach for Democrats. Enter the New Georgia Project in 2014, run by a very determined woman named Stacey Abrams, minority leader of the Georgia house. Her goal: bringing 800,000 unregistered black voters in Georgia back into the fold. Fast forward five years and the New Georgia Project has talked to 3.5 million people and registered an astounding 300,000. Their plan is to register all eligible, unregistered citizens of color in Georgia by the end of the decade. In 2018, with 500,000 people dropped from the voting rolls in a series of suppression moves, Stacey Abrams still came within 50,000 votes of becoming Governor of Georgia. Her fight is not over. And NGP’s fight is not over. Georgia leads the nation in maternal mortality and they are fighting against restrictive abortion laws which will kill more mothers. They are opposing the purchase of expensive, hackable voting machines. They are organizing opposition to a bill that would prevent Georgia cities from eliminating cash bail. And they are fighting for the 473,000 Georgians who would have secure health care with the approval of Medicaid Expansion.
Executive Director: Nse Ofut
Started by six University of Texas students in 2013, MOVE San Antonio is now MOVE Texas. Still driven by students, they work aggressively to register new voters, mobilize them to get to the polls, support emerging community organizers, and keep them engaged in progressive issue advocacy. MOVE registered 30,000 new voters across 22 campuses for the 2018 general election, which helped increase Texas youth early voting by 500%. MOVE Texas runs a year-round leadership development program which this year saw 53 fellows and 65 interns organizing over 2,800 volunteers who gave out over 220,000 voter guides. They fight for progressive policy change on issues like affordable housing, immigrant rights, voting rights, accessible elections and paid sick leave. They stopped ICE from knocking on doors, they teach civics and organizing to women and men in the county jail, they run youth summits with high schoolers, and in addition to that mountain of work, they successfully led the fight against the latest crop of voter suppression measures coming out of the Texas state legislature. Now they are working to make voting easier in Texas’ biggest cities, home to 40% of the population.
Executive Director: Drew Galloway
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