Movement Strategy Center




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $18,129,528
Expenses: $10,519,184
Assets: $12,663,110



Obtained Tax-Exempt Status in 2004

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The Movement Strategy Center (MSC) is a left-wing 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Oakland, California, which provides support and funding to other left-wing organizations. It tends to work with many groups that identify as socialist.


The MSC started in 2001 and obtained its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 2004. Since then, the group has generated partnerships with over 300 organizations, which it works with to promote its left-wing policy agenda.

In 2013, MSC supported the Ear to the Ground project, a series of interviews with far-left activists to come up with an agenda to push the country and world closer to socialism. MSC’s goals included increasing subsidies to environmentalist energy sources, securing taxpayer-funded “reparations” payments for African Americans, and creating a0 government-controlled healthcare system.1


The Movement Strategy Center serves as a funder of many far-left groups, often focusing on issues including race, the environment, and other controversial left-wing positions. The MSC itself often does not fund organizations directly. Instead, it either receives funding from a parent foundation and passes that money to the targeted organization or funds an umbrella organization which passes the money to the activists.


Among the projects the MSC has funded is an anti-energy organization called Stop the Frack Attack. In 2013, MSC helped establish the network with a $25,000 grant from the Chorus Foundation.2

Stop the Frack Attack describes the “transformative organizing model” used by MSC as “a style that focuses on empowering those who are directly impacted by the issue at hand and makes the connection to larger forms of oppression, such as classism and racism.” Ostensibly, the group is targeting the expansion of natural gas exploration in the United States, a boom which is credited with contributed to the decline in carbon dioxide emissions.3

As for its own environmental demands, MSC has called for 100 percent renewable energy in the U.S. by 2020 and globally by 2050. It has criticized proposed solutions as “addicted to the myth of market based solutions and a way of life that is long gone,” and has denounced energy companies and banks.4

MSC has also funded the Reinvest in our Power movement. In 2016, the Chorus Foundation awarded a $14,000 grant to the MSC to aid Reinvest in our Power.5

MSC hosted a “network gathering” at the New Economy Coalition’s Common Bound Conference. The groups seek to divest from traditional energy companies in order to distribute the money to so-called “local, regenerative economy” projects through an outfit called the Financial Cooperative, a loan fund controlled by left-wing interest groups.6 Among the projects the Financial Cooperative funds are businesses under a cooperative ownership model and fighting so-called “food deserts.”7  The Reinvest in our Power movement is a part of the Climate Justice Alliance.8

According to its financials, MSC awarded grants through the Reinvest In Our Power movement, in its 2015 fiscal year Asian-Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Centro Por La Justicia, Communities For Better Environment, Cooperation Jackson, East Michigan Environmental Action, GAIA, Indigenous Environmental Network, Kentucky Coalition Inc., Native Movement, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, Project South, Ruckus Society, and the Tides Foundation.

Opposition to Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power plants produce no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions, and as of 2021 accounted for 20 percent of American electricity production—the largest source of zero carbon electricity in the United States. 9 An October 2018 proposal from The Nature Conservancy noted that zero-carbon nuclear plants produced 7.8 percent of total world energy output and recommended reducing carbon emissions by increasing nuclear capacity to 33 percent of total world energy output. 10

A January 2015 report produced jointly by MSC criticized nuclear energy and carbon capture technology as examples of “false solutions” to the challenge of creating low-carbon and carbon-free energy sources. The same report praised the work of left-leaning advocates in India that were opposing nuclear power and zero-carbon hydro-electric dams. 11

Black Lives Matter

The MSC has endorsed the far-left Movement For Black Lives platform.12

Among the demands of the movement are a ban on using criminal background checks for employment, an end to all removals of illegal immigrants from the United States, an end to the use of police body cameras, government-funded slavery reparations, divestment from oil and natural gas resources, cuts to U.S. defense spending, an end to private and charter schools, and voting privileges for illegal immigrants.13

Another group that is supported by the MSC is Oakland Rising. Oakland Rising bills itself as an organization that mobilizes voters to speak up for and take charge of the issues that impact them. It is focusing on developing the infrastructure necessary to build progressive power in Oakland.14 It does this by organizing demonstrations, holding leadership trainings, and releasing a voter guide before elections.

MSC is also involved with Bay Resistance, and is listed as a member organization.15

Other Support

The MSC is also a supporter of Gamechanger Labs, a project designed to encourage left-wing activists to experiment with ideas and campaigns. Among its supporters is a $60,000 grant from the Woodcock Foundation. 16

The Movement Strategy Center’s biggest role is awarding grants to far-left organizations under its various programs. In fiscal year 2015, it awarded grants to Action for Community Raleigh, All Hands On Deck Network, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement, Padres Unidos, Wellstone Action Fund, and Wisconsin Voices in support of its Gamechanger Labs program.

MSC has also supported left-wing food and restaurant policy efforts, supporting the HEAL Food Alliance, the Food Chain Workers Alliance, Third Sector New England, and Union of Concerned Scientists. Among the campaign’s demands are an end to the tipped minimum wage, which is earned mostly by waiters and waitresses; end farm labor by prisoners; and the end of deportations of all illegal immigrants. It calls American land “stolen” and calls for the end of private aquaculture.17 It also calls for strict regulation of “junk food” along the lines of tobacco products.18

The MSC is also a partner organization of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). It views itself as a localist movement to displace market capitalism with government-controlled socialist economic practices.19

Wildfire Project

Also see Wildfire Project (Nonprofit)

The MSC is also a fiscal supporter of the Wildfire Project. The Wildfire Project seeks to train, link, and support left-wing activist groups. In 2016, it was awarded $50,000 from the Chorus Foundation to support the Wildfire Project’s work.20 The Samuel Rubin Foundation also awarded MSC a grant to support Wildfire’s work. 21


Taj James is the founder and executive director of MSC. Before founding MSC, he worked with the Children’s Defense Fund. 22

Mimi Jo serves as the co-director. She has over two decades experience working as an organizer for left-wing causes. 23

Rachel Burrows serves as the managing director. Before that, Burrows was a staffer at the defunct ACORN community organizing network. 24


In fiscal year 2015, the MSC raised $7.8 million and had revenue of $9.1 million. It spent $8.1 million and had $4.4 million in assets. Taj James made a little under $120,000 from MSC related work.

The group has been funded in the past by the Akonadi Foundation, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, the California Endowment, the Ford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Foundation to Promote Open Society, the Surdna Foundation, and the Tides Foundation. 25


  1. Lee, NTanya, and Steve Williams. 2013. More Than We Imagined: Activists’ Assessments On The Moment & The Way Forward. Ebook. San Francisco, CA.
  2. “Movement Strategy Center (MSC) – Chorus Foundation”. 2018. Chorus Foundation. Accessed August 30.
  3. “Our Work”. 2018. Stop The Frack Attack. Accessed August 30.
  4. James, Taj. 2015. “Movement Strategy Center | Real Solutions On Climate, Right Now”. Movementstrategy.Org.
  5.     “Movement Strategy Center (MSC) – Chorus Foundation”. 2018. Chorus Foundation. Accessed August 30.
  6. “Let’S Spread Non-Extractive Finance Through The Peer Network”. 2018. Theworkingworld.Org. Accessed September 5.
  7. “Uniting Nationally”. 2018. Theworkingworld.Org. Accessed September 5.
  8. “Reinvest In Our Power – Climate Justice Alliance”. 2018. Climate Justice Alliance. Accessed August 30.
  9. “Nuclear explained.” U.S. Energy Information Administration. Accessed August 16, 2021.    >.
  10. “ The Science of Sustainability.” The Nature Conservancy. October 13, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2021.
  11. “Pathways to Resilience: Transforming Cities in a Changing Climate.” Movement Strategy Center | Movement Generation | The Praxis Project | Reimagine! RP&E. January 2015. Accessed August 18, 2021.
  12. “Endorsing Organizations (Continued) – The Movement For Black Lives”. 2018. The Movement For Black Lives. Accessed August 30.
  13. “Platform – The Movement For Black Lives”. 2018. The Movement For Black Lives. Accessed August 30.
  14. “About Us | Oakland Rising”. 2018. Oaklandrising.Org. Accessed August 30.
  15. “Resistance Institute”. 2018. Bay Resistance. Accessed August 30.
  16. “Gamechanger Labs”. 2018. Woodcockfdn.Org. Accessed August 30.
  17. “Our Platform For Real Food – Heal Food Alliance”. 2018. Heal Food Alliance. Accessed August 30.
  18.  “Our Platform For Real Food – Heal Food Alliance”. 2018. Heal Food Alliance. Accessed August 30.
  19. “Movement Strategy Center – BALLE | Business Alliance For Local Living Economies”. 2018. BALLE | Business Alliance For Local Living Economies. Accessed August 30.
  20. “Movement Strategy Center (MSC) – Chorus Foundation”. 2018. Chorus Foundation. Accessed August 30.
  21. “FY2016 Grantees – Samuel Rubin Foundation”. 2018. Samuelrubinfoundation.Org. Accessed August 30.
  22. “Movement Strategy Center | PEOPLE”. 2018. Movementstrategy.Org. Accessed August 30.
  23. “Movement Strategy Center | PEOPLE”. 2018. Movementstrategy.Org. Accessed August 30.
  24. “Movement Strategy Center | PEOPLE”. 2018. Movementstrategy.Org. Accessed August 30.
  25. Simpson, James. 2016. “Black Lives Matter”. Capitalresearch.Org.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Billy Wimsatt
    Former Fellow

Donor Organizations

  1. Abelard Foundation (Non-profit)
  2. AIDS Healthcare Foundation (Non-profit)
  3. Akonadi Foundation (Non-profit)
  4. Bafrayung Fund (Non-profit)
  5. Ben & Jerry’s Foundation (Non-profit)
  6. Benjamin Fund (Non-profit)
  7. California Calls Action Fund (Non-profit)
  8. California Endowment (Non-profit)
  9. Chorus Foundation (Non-profit)
  10. Cloud Mountain Foundation (Non-profit)
  11. Compton Foundation (Non-profit)
  12. Crankstart Foundation (Non-profit)
  13. Ford Foundation (Non-profit)
  14. Foundation to Promote Open Society (FPOS) (Non-profit)
  15. Groundswell Fund (Non-profit)
  16. Hill-Snowdon Foundation (Non-profit)
  17. Hopewell Fund (Non-profit)
  18. ImpactAssets Inc. (Non-profit)
  19. J. M. Kaplan Fund (Non-profit)
  20. James Irvine Foundation (Non-profit)
  21. JPB Foundation (Non-profit)
  22. Kresge Foundation (Non-profit)
  23. Leonard & Sophie Davis Fund (Non-profit)
  24. Levi Strauss Foundation (Non-profit)
  25. Liberty Hill Foundation (Non-profit)
  26. Marguerite Casey Foundation (Non-profit)
  27. MoveOn Civic Action ( (Non-profit)
  28. Nathan Cummings Foundation (Non-profit)
  29. NEO Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  30. New Venture Fund (NVF) (Non-profit)
  31. New World Foundation (NWF) (Non-profit)
  32. NoVo Foundation (Non-profit)
  33. Open Society Foundations (Open Society Institute) (Non-profit)
  34. Patagonia Org (Non-profit)
  35. Proteus Fund (Non-profit)
  36. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) (Non-profit)
  37. Rockefeller Foundation (Non-profit)
  38. Rudolf Steiner Foundation (RSF Social Finance) (Non-profit)
  39. Sagner Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  40. San Francisco Foundation (Non-profit)
  41. SEIU Local 1021 (Labor Union)
  42. Sierra Club (Non-profit)
  43. Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) (Non-profit)
  44. Singing Field Foundation (Non-profit)
  45. Surdna Foundation (Non-profit)
  46. Threshold Foundation (Non-profit)
  47. Tides Foundation (Non-profit)
  48. Warsh Mott Legacy (Non-profit)
  49. Weingart Foundation (Non-profit)
  50. Y & H Soda Foundation (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 2004

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Jun Form 990 $18,129,528 $10,519,184 $12,663,110 $994,366 N $17,336,200 $765,029 $0 $337,991
    2015 Jun Form 990 $9,125,285 $8,189,612 $4,490,889 $432,489 N $7,803,346 $1,304,637 $336 $217,158 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $7,508,121 $6,423,969 $3,705,616 $582,889 N $6,577,475 $912,439 $93 $211,151 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $5,826,523 $5,692,400 $2,373,989 $335,414 N $4,695,915 $1,111,608 $31 $197,922 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $6,593,944 $6,511,296 $2,241,979 $337,527 N $6,110,446 $471,326 $191 $191,125 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $3,281,523 $2,960,785 $2,100,968 $279,164 N $2,843,667 $432,509 $0 $160,930 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Movement Strategy Center

    OAKLAND, CA 94612-2708