Non-profit

We Are America Alliance (WAAA)

Location:

Washington, DC

Formation:

2006

Former Executive Director:

Holli Holiday

Type:

Non-profit

The We Are America Alliance (WAAA) was a national liberal expansionist immigration advocacy organization launched in 2006. WAAA was made up of more than a dozen local, state, and national organizations all pushing for liberal expansionist immigration reform. [1]

WAAA was a project of Tides Advocacy and largely funded by left-of-center organizations like the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, and the New World Foundation (NWF). [2] Atlantic Philanthropies gave the Alliance $5.75 million in 2008. [3]
In 2008, WAAA claimed to register half a million new voters. With a focus on immigration reform, the Alliance also claims to have persuaded a million voters, mainly immigrants, Latinos, and Asian Americans, to vote in support of the Democrats in the 2008 elections, including then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s Presidential candidacy. [4]

WAAA continued to engage immigrants, Latinos, and Asian Americans to participate in the 2010 census and to vote in the 2010 elections for representatives who favored expanding immigration. [5]

Activity

The We Are America Alliance was launched in 2006, following nationwide immigrant rights demonstrations across the U.S. In 2007, WAAA had fifteen member organizations working in immigrant communities to increase voter engagement in order to increase their political influence. That same year, the Open Society Foundations (OSF), along with several of WAAA’s other left-of-center funders, among them the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, and the New World Foundation (NWF), hosted an event promoting WAAA’s efforts. Speakers at this event included:
• Nancy Youman, formerly with Open Society Foundations (formerly Open Society Institute)
• Chung-Wha Hong, former executive director, New York Immigration Coalition
• Eliseo Medina, former executive vice president, Service Employees International Union
• Jorge Mursuli, former national executive director, Democracia U.S.A.
• Steve Kest, former executive director, ACORN
• Geri Mannion, program director at Carnegie Corporation of New York[6]

In 2008, WAAA and its member organizations claimed to have registered half a million new voters. The Alliance also claimed that the top priority for these new voters was immigration reform. Through mailings, phone calls, and canvassing, WAAA planned to persuade one million Asian, Latino, and immigrant voters to support Barack Obama and other democrats in the 2008 elections. [7]

Following the 2008 elections that saw Obama elected President and Democrats returned to control of Congress, WAAA continued to engage immigrants, Latinos, and Asian Americans to participate in the 2010 census. WAAA also pushed again in 2010 for voter participation among these groups, focusing on electing representatives favoring immigration reform. [8]

Funding

We Are America Alliance was a project of Tides Advocacy and financially supported by a number of left-of-center organizations. Substantial grants include $5.75 million from Atlantic Philanthropies in 2008,[9] and over $500,000 from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) between 2006 and 2009. [10]

People

Holli Holiday is the former executive director of We Are America Alliance. Holiday is the president of Sisters Lead Sisters Vote. Holliday is the former vice president of political programs for Progressive Majority PAC and former national director of Project Vote. [11]

Lindsay Daniels is a former senior program manager at WAAA. Daniels is as of 2020 the associate director of elections for Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund and has formerly served as an associate director of economic policy for UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) and as a campaign manager for Mi Familia Vota. [12]

Shirin Bidel-Niyat is a former Senior Project Manager for WAAA. Bidel-Niyat has worked for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) government worker union since 2011 and is as of 2020 the assistant director of political action. Bidel-Niyat previously worked as a campaign director for the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). [13]

References

  1. “NCLR joins ‘WE ARE AMERICA ALLIANCE.’” Hispanic Ad, April 16, 2006. Accessed June 23, 2020. http://hispanicad.com/blog/news-article/had/enpowerment/nclr-joins-we-are-america-alliance. ^
  2. “NYC: We Are America Alliance.” Law Professor Blogs, July 7, 2007. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2007/07/nyc-we-are-amer.html. ^
  3. “Grants Database: We Are America Alliance Action Fund.” The Atlantic Philanthropies, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/grants?q=%22we+are+america+alliance+action+fund%22&date-range-start=1982&date-range-end=2020&amount-start=0&amount-end=1000000000&qtyresults=50&sort=grant_year_awarded%7CDESC. ^
  4. Fabian, Paco. “Alliance Registers Half-Million New Immigrant Voters, 128,000 in Battleground States.” America’s Voice, October 22, 2008. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://americasvoice.org/blog/alliance_registers_half_million_new_immigrant_voters_128000_in_battleground/. ^
  5. “Home.” We Are America Alliance. Archived from the original November 16, 2018. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20181116144746/http://weareamericaalliance.com/. ^
  6. “NYC: We Are America Alliance.” Law Professor Blogs, July 7, 2007. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2007/07/nyc-we-are-amer.html. ^
  7. Fabian, Paco. “Alliance Registers Half-Million New Immigrant Voters, 128,000 in Battleground States.” America’s Voice, October 22, 2008. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://americasvoice.org/blog/alliance_registers_half_million_new_immigrant_voters_128000_in_battleground/. ^
  8. “Home.” We Are America Alliance. Archived from the original November 16, 2018. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20181116144746/http://weareamericaalliance.com/. ^
  9. “Grants Database: We Are America Alliance Action Fund.” The Atlantic Philanthropies, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/grants?q=%22we+are+america+alliance+action+fund%22&date-range-start=1982&date-range-end=2020&amount-start=0&amount-end=1000000000&qtyresults=50&sort=grant_year_awarded%7CDESC. ^
  10. Open Society Institute, Return of Private Foundation (990-PF), 2006-2009, Part XV, Line 3. ^
  11. “Holli Holliday.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/hollileshae/. ^
  12. “Lindsay Daniels.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindsaymdaniels/. ^
  13. “Shirin Bidel-Niyat.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/shirin-bidel-niyat-52429311/. ^
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We Are America Alliance (WAAA)


Washington, DC