Action Squared


Washington, DC




Brian Young & Leslie Tolf


For-profit web development

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Action Squared is a for-profit company that builds online tools for left-wing non-profits and labor unions, primarily through Action Network and Action Builder. Action Network is an online toolset and the sole owner of Action Squared. Action Builder, another online development toolset, is owned by Action Squared and was created in cooperation with the AFL-CIO. 1 2

Action Squared shares an office with Change to Win, a federation of labor unions and a “strategic organizing center” closely associated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). 3 4


The leadership for Action Squared has been described as having “deep ties to the labor movement.” 5 Cofounder Brian Young also serves as the executive director of Action Network, previously working the as communications director for then-U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA). Cofounder Leslie Tolf is the chief operating officer of the Action Network. 6 7


Acton Network

Founded by Brian Young in 2012, Action Network was envisioned to be “a digital campaign platform that could be collaborative, flexible, and responsive.” The Action Network was born out of the Occupy Wall Street protests and promoted as a “family tree for progressive movements.” In 2012, Young envisioned a “essential toolkit” with email capabilities, fundraising tools, and a platform for constituents to contact legislators about important issues related to progressive causes. 8

Action Builder

Action Builder is a toolset built in conjunction with the AFL-CIO for rapidly growing organizations to track and organize membership. 9 Action Builder costs $50 per user per month. 10


In the 2022 election cycle, Action Squared generated $5.6 million in revenue from political organizations. Its largest clients were the Democratic National Committee (DNC), President Joe Biden’s (D) campaign organization, and George Soros’s Democracy PAC, which spent $3.7 million, $1.6 million respectively, and $250,000 respectively. Action Squared’s other clients included the Youth Progressive Action Catalyst, the congressional campaign of Jessica Cisneros (D-TX), Our Black Party, and the congressional campaign of Wendy Hamilton (D-DC). 11

In the 2020 cycle, the vast majority of Action Squared’s $872,000 in revenue came from the DNC, with small contracts from President Biden’s (D) presidential campaign, and the Youth Progressive Action Catalyst. 12

Action Squared has also provided services to the Daily Kos, the AFL-CIO, Women’s March, 13 the Democratic Socialists of America, United We Dream, the Environmental Defense Fund, Common Cause, Run for Something, People’s Action, and Climate Action Campaign. 14 15 16 17


Shortly after Action Squared’s establishment, its employees unionized under the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union Local 70. Brian Young, Action Squared cofounder, said Action Squared is “rooted in the labor movement and we welcome the newly formed union staff.” 18

The Action Squared Union negotiated with Action Squared for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals: “Action Squared will post open positions using gender-neutral language. In reviewing applications, the organization will remove identifying demographic information in an effort to produce a neutral candidate selection process.” 19


  1. “Action Network.” Datanyze. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  2. “Unprecedented: Rising to the Challenge of COVID-19.” Bulletin. 2020. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  3. “Contact.” Change to Win. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  4. “Action Squared Inc.” Open Corporates. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  5. “Action Squared Employees Unionize.” Nonprofit Professional Employees Union. October 31, 2019. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  6. “Leslie Tolf.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  7. “Action Squared Inc.” Open Corporates. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  8. Fosco, Molly. “Welcome to the App-Based Resistance… Used By Both Sides.” Ozy. November 20, 2018. Accessed December 10, 2022.
  9. “Toolset.” Action Builder. Accessed December 10, 2022.
  10. “How Much Does Action Builder Cost?” Action Builder. Accessed December 10, 2022.
  11. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Action Squared.” Open Secrets. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  12. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Action Squared.” Open Secrets. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  13. “Remote SecDevOps for a Non-Profit Organization at Action Network.” Working Nomads. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  14. “Advocacy Organizations.” Action Network. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  15. “Action Network.” Action Network. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  16. “Elect Socialists to Chicago City Council!.” Action Network. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  17. “Reach Your Community and Inspire Action.” Action Network. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  18. “Action Squared Employees Unionize.” DC Labor. November 1, 2019. Accessed December 8, 2022.
  19. Chin-Lai, Amy. “Meet the Union Behind Your Favorite Mobilizing & Organizing Tools.” Medium. December 11, 2020. Accessed December 10, 2022.
  See an error? Let us know!

Action Squared

Washington, DC