For-profit

Grassroots Solutions

Website:

www.grassrootssolutions.com

Location:

Minneapolis, MN

Type:

Consulting Firm

Co-Founders:

Robert Richman, Dan Cramer

Managing Principal:

Anne Johnson

Formation:

1999

Grassroots Solutions is a left-of-center political consulting firm. [1] Grassroots Solutions has received tens of millions of dollars[2] to support the election of Democratic candidates from local politicians to U.S. Senators, including former U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN). [3]

Democrats and left-leaning interest groups have contracted it to garner support for many policies including Democratic-aligned redistricting changes in over 20 states and passing state-recognition of same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Grassroots Solutions’ methodology is to frequently deploy a field team that coordinates hundreds of thousands of home visits to drive Democratic votes or in the case of Wisconsin, the recall of Republican senators. [4]

It published a study about the 2020 Census in which it describes President Donald Trump’s administration as anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant, charging the administration with fueling xenophobia with inflammatory rhetoric, actions, and policies. Grassroots Solutions claims that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will make census participation a challenge in populations of color. [5] It has received high praise for organizing and campaigning from Cecile Richards, then-president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. [6]

Client Work

Many Democrat political organizations have hired Grassroots Solutions to support their political aims. The Energy Action Commission engaged Grassroots Solutions to bring 10,000 young people to the capitol to rally support for climate change, clean energy, and green jobs. It rallied 12,000 participants for four days of activism. [7]

Al Franken’s campaign for U.S. Senate employed Grassroots Solutions to manage the recount in the contested 2008 election, aid the Franken legal team, and help overcome Franken’s deficit. It organized thousands of volunteers to track the votes through all 87 Minnesota counties. Grassroots Solutions management of the recount shifted an apparent 215-vote deficit to a 312-vote victory. [8] Franken’s campaign paid Grassroots Solutions $234,000. [9]

The Minnesota Census Mobilization Partnership hired Grassroots to drive increased participation in the 2020 Census in demographics that are historically low in census responses. Targeted groups included Somali refugees and immigrants, Hmong immigrants, Native American tribes, and other ethnic minority groups. [10]

Grassroots was contracted to run a petition drive to repeal Ohio Senate Bill 5 (SB5), an effort by legislative Republicans and Governor John Kasich’s (R-OH) to limit government worker union power through collective bargaining. Grassroots trained and recruited almost 2000 volunteers who collected a 1.3 million signatures to place the repeal on the ballot, which succeeded in overturning SB5. [11]

Grassroots Solutions was recruited by environmentalist group PowerShift to support demonstrations ensuring 10,000 activists would be coordinated and in attendance at rallies and marches. [12]

Other Grassroots Solutions clients[13] include the left-of-center groups Progress Now,[14] Headwaters Foundation for Justice,[15] Solidarity Strategies,[16] the Sierra Club,[17] National Public Radio, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Alliance for Justice, the National Education Association, the Alabama Democratic Party, the Colorado Democratic Party, the Connecticut Democratic Party, the Democracy Alliance, Idaho Democratic Party, Kansas Democratic Party, Maine Won’t Discriminate, Michigan Democratic Party, National Voice, New Hampshire Democratic Party, No on Right to Work, Ohioans for a Fair Minimum Wage, Ohio Democratic Party, Oklahoma Democratic Party, Oregon Democratic Party, Rock the Vote, Shuler for Congress, Texas Democratic Party, Utah Democratic Party, Vote No On Vouchers-CA, and Vote Yes for Clean Water. [18]

2012 Elections

Grassroots Solutions supported Democratic victories in 2012. In Wisconsin, it helped drive voting to elect Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate and the up-swell contributed to President Barack Obama’s re-election. It was part of the recapture of Democratic legislative majorities in Minnesota and Colorado. It contributed to the voter’s approval of $80 million in funding for a technical college in Wisconsin. [19]

Grassroots Solutions played a significant role in defeating a Minnesota state constitutional amendment intended to define marriage as exclusive to one-man-one-woman relationships. [20]

The government worker union AFSCME hired Grassroots Solutions to drive voting participation for the re-election of President Barack Obama in the densely populated Florida counties of Broward and Dade. Grassroots Solutions’ workforce visited over 180,000 residences. [21]

The left-wing labor union SEIU hired Grassroots Solutions to mobilize Latino voters in Las Vegas and Reno to support Democratic candidates. Grassroots Solutions claims its efforts drove a 3% increase in Latino voting and the Democratic Party captured 73% of their votes, which contributed to President Obama winning Nevada. [22]

SEIU and Planned Parenthood hired Grassroots Solutions to turn out Democratic-leaning voters in New Hampshire to win the gubernatorial race for then-Governor Maggie Hassan (D-NH), for President Obama, and Democrat majorities in the state government. [23]

Political Income

In 2004, the Democrat Party’s main committee and other federally reporting Democrat political organizations paid Grassroots Solutions $20,625,468. [24]

The AFL-CIO labor union federation paid $126,119 over the course of three years. [25]

Former U.S. Representative Russ Carnahan (D-MO) paid $73,854,[26] $97,504,[27] and $125,116 to Grassroots Solutions in 2006, 2010, and 2012, respectively. [28]

Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) paid Grassroots Solutions $80,854 from 2019 to 2020. [29]

In 2014, the Senate Majority PAC, a Democrat Super PAC that invests in Democrat candidates for the U.S. Senate, paid $25,000,[30] and $94,500. [31]

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paid $513,064 for the 2004 election cycle. [32]

In 2014, America Votes Action Fund paid $36,000. [33] Co-founder Rich Richman is on the board for its affiliate[34] America Votes. [35]

For the 2014 and 2018 election cycles, the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL), the state-level Democratic Party in Minnesota, paid Grassroots Solutions $40,000[36] and $38,604, respectively. [37]

People

Grassroots Solutions staff have backgrounds that involve working for prominent Democrats like President Barack Obama and the late former U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN).

Dan Cramer

Co-founder Dan Cramer is the public face of Grassroots Solutions. He was a staffer for the late former U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) through a variety of leadership positions. He also worked for served former Democratic Minnesota State Representative and House Speaker Phil Carruthers as his executive assistant. His first political role was volunteering for the 1976 Presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter. [38]

Robert Richman

Co-founder Robert Richman focuses on working with unions, political campaigns and other groups to expand the progressive voting population. Richman worked with the Illinois Democratic Party after high school and served as a volunteer for Paul Wellstone’s first U.S. Senate campaign. He worked for Democratic political campaigns in Illinois, Oregon, Minnesota, and Ohio, and was the national field director for the presidential campaign of former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ). [39]

Saul Alinsky Organizer of the Year Contest

Grassroots Solutions celebrates the life of radical-left 1960s agitator Saul Alinsky in two ways. It substitutes cards during the Christmas and Hannukah seasons for one sent on Saul Alinsky’s birthday of January 30th. Grassroots Solutions also honors him through the presentation of an annual award for activists. [40]

Winners include Karl Bach, an activist involved in overturning the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that excluded open gay and lesbian individuals from military service, and Steve Fletcher, creator of Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. Runner-ups for the award include Sarah Walker for her efforts to restore voting privileges for former convicts, and Marvin Bing for orchestrating a rally attended by 100,000 liberal activists in Washington, D.C. [41]

Clients

Their clients include:[42]

References

  1. “Grassroots Solutions Overview and Capabilities.,” March 2010. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Grassroots_Solutions_Overview_and_Capabilities.pdf. ^
  2. “The Center for Responsive Politics.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/search?q=grassroots+solutions&type=site. ^
  3. Bowman, Bridget, and Simone Pathé Pathe. “At the Races: Escape Hatch.” Roll Call, January 4, 2018. https://www.rollcall.com/2018/01/04/at-the-races-escape-hatch/. ^
  4. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  5. “Census 2020 State Landscape.” Grassroots Solutions, February 2019. https://funderscommittee.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Census-2020-State-Landscape-Scan.pdf. ^
  6. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  7. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  8. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  9. “Sen. Al Franken – Minnesota.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/expenditures?cid=N00029016&cycle=2014. ^
  10. “MN Census 2020 Communication and Mobilization Plan.” Minnesota Council on Foundations, January 14, 2019. https://mcf.org/mn-census-2020-communication-and-mobilization-plan. ^
  11. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  12. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  13. Grassroots Solutions Youtube Commercial. Grassroots Solutions, 2013. https://youtu.be/L6ffDPi8BX8. ^
  14. “ProgressNow.” ProgressNow. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/progressnow/. ^
  15. “Headwaters Foundation for Justice.” Headwaters Foundation for Justice. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/headwaters-foundation-for-justice/. ^
  16. “Ballotpedia’s Daily Presidential News Briefing – September 27, 2019.” Ballotpedia, September 17, 2019. https://ballotpedia.org/Ballotpedia’s_Daily_Presidential_News_Briefing_-_September_27,_2019. ^
  17. “Sierra Club.” Sierra Club. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/sierra-club/. ^
  18. “Grassroots Solutions Overview and Capabilities.,” March 2010. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Grassroots_Solutions_Overview_and_Capabilities.pdf. ^
  19. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  20. Winning the Freedom to Marry. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://youtu.be/BXCcuyEWYew. ^
  21. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  22. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  23. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  24. “Expenditures.” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/parties/expend.php?cycle=2004&cmte=DPC. ^
  25. “Entity Details.” GRASSROOTS SOLUTIONS – FollowTheMoney.org. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=1575594. ^
  26. “Rep. Russ Carnahan – Missouri District 03.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/expenditures?cid=N00005181&cycle=2012. ^
  27. “Rep. Russ Carnahan – Missouri District 03.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/expenditures?cid=N00005181&cycle=2010. ^
  28. “Rep. Russ Carnahan – Missouri District 03.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/expenditures?cid=N00005181&cycle=2006. ^
  29. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Grassroots Solutions.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/campaign-expenditures/vendor?year=2020&vendor=Grassroots Solutions. ^
  30. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Grassroots Solutions.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/campaign-expenditures/vendor?cycle=2018&vendor=Grassroots+Solutions&year=2014. ^
  31. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Grassroots Solutions.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/campaign-expenditures/vendor?cycle=2016&vendor=Grassroots+Solutions&year=2014. ^
  32. “Expenditures.” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/parties/expend.php?cycle=2004&cmte=DCCC. ^
  33. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Grassroots Solutions.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/campaign-expenditures/vendor?cycle=2012&vendor=Grassroots+Solutions&year=2014. ^
  34. “America Votes Action Fund.” America Votes Action Fund. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/political-party/america-votes-action-fund/. ^
  35. “Board Members: America Votes.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/outside-spending/political-nonprofits/board-members?cycle=2009&id=264568349. ^
  36. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Grassroots Solutions.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/campaign-expenditures/vendor?cycle=2018&vendor=Grassroots+Solutions&year=2014. ^
  37. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Grassroots Solutions.” OpenSecrets. Accessed March 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/campaign-expenditures/vendor?cycle=2014&vendor=Grassroots+Solutions&year=2014. ^
  38. “Home.” Grassroots Solutions, June 26, 2018. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/. ^
  39. “Home.” Grassroots Solutions, June 26, 2018. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/. ^
  40. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  41. “Grassroots Solutions Blog ,” June 2015. https://www.grassrootssolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/grassrootssolutions.wordpress.2015-06-02.xml_1.txt. ^
  42. “Home.” Grassroots Solutions. June 26, 2018. Accessed July 17, 2019. http://www.grassrootssolutions.com/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Kristin Engberg
    Former Principal
  2. Rosy Kalfus
    Former Project Manager
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Grassroots Solutions


Minneapolis, MN