For more information on Working Assets, see CREDO Mobile
Working Assets is the holding company for and former brand name of the group of companies known as CREDO, which uses for-profit ventures in cellular and long-distance telephone service, branded credit cards, and renewable energy to support left-of-center causes. Stanford academic Laura Scher, environmentalist activist Michael Kieschnick, and left-of-center author Peter Barnes founded Working Assets as a spin-off of the Working Assets money market fund, a “socially responsible” investment fund.
Scher is a lecturer at Stanford University. Kieschnick received a doctorate from Harvard University and is a member of the board of the League of Conservation Voters, an environmentalist “dark money” funding group. Barnes is a journalist who started out at the Lowell Sun and later worked for Newsweek and The New Republic. He has written several books including Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons, and With Liberty and Dividends For All: How to Save Our Middle Class When Jobs Don’t Pay Enough.
Working Assets’ first offering was a branded credit card. The company promised to donate a portion of a customer’s monthly charges to left-wing causes, including groups such as Planned Parenthood, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. Working Assets claims to have distributed more than $91 million to liberal causes since 1985.
In 1991, Working Assets offered long distance telephone service, pledging to donate 1% of a customer’s monthly long-distance charges to liberal causes. In 2000, the company offered mobile telephone service, and founded ActForChange.com (later known as CREDO Action, now disbanded), which organized Working Assets members and other persons in direct-action campaigns to contact members of Congress and other lawmakers. During the recount of Presidential election votes in various Florida counties in 2000, ActForChange.com developed web links where members could send emails directly to state legislators, one of the earliest examples of digital political activism on a mass scale.