Non-profit

The Advocacy Fund (Tides Advocacy Fund)

Website:

www.advocacyfund.org

Location:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tax ID:

94-3153687

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $9,562,045
Expenses: $10,196,815
Assets: $3,775,018

Formation:

2000 (as Tides Advocacy Fund)

2010 (renamed The Advocacy Fund) [26]

Type:

Tides Foundation Advocacy Arm

Headquarters:

San Francisco, CA

Principal Officer:

Amanda Keton [27]

Tides Advocacy is a left-of-center San Francisco-based advocacy organization associated with the Tides Foundation. [1]  While Tides Advocacy, then known as The Advocacy Group, at one time disavowed any affiliation with the Tides Foundation and Tides Center, it is now designated as an entity of the Tides Foundation. [2]

Tides Advocacy once claimed that it did not receive subsidies from the Tides Foundation; evidence from tax filings showed that Tides Foundation had subsidized what was then known as the Advocacy Fund with $6.2 million in support. [3] Tides Advocacy is an IRS-designated 501(c)(4) social welfare organization focused on the origination, financing and consultation respecting various left-of-center projects. [4]

History

The Tides Foundation, an organization with close ties to Tides Advocacy, is a powerful and influential progressive funding vehicle based in San Francisco. Tides was co-founded by Drummond Pike and Jane Bagley Lehman in 1976. In the 1990s, the IRS advised The Tides Foundation to separate its grantmaking from its program of creating activist groups. Pike went to great lengths for these new organizations, including lending them the Tides tax-exempt status under so-called “fiscal sponsorship” that included control of all financial-related matters and the provision to all employees of comprehensive benefits packages. All of this was done at the cost of 8% of the new group’s income as Tides’ “management fee.”[5]

To satisfy the IRS, The Tides Foundation formed the Tides Center, a separate tax-exempt organization, to “run the fiscal sponsorship program efficiently and legally.”[6] This new Tides Center allowed the management of Tides to master the art of concealing organizational donations, with a web of entities created. Pike, who remained chief executive officer of the organization until 2013, is credited with much of this “creativity.” The right-of-center Heartland Institute has written that Pike created, mentored, funded, and, in some cases, led more progressive non-profit organizations than anyone in the world. After Pike’s departure, he became the chairman of the board of the Environmental Working Group. [7]

While The Advocacy Fund’s close ties to the Tides Foundation are clear—it was a product of its incubator, had overlapping board members and shared the same San Francisco address—The Advocacy Fund stated on its website in 2013 that it “is a completely separate legal entity from Tides and Tides does not subsidize The Advocacy Fund in any way.”[8] The right-of-center Capital Research Center identified $6 million in contributions from Tides Foundation to The Advocacy Fund from 2010 through 2014. [9]

Advocacy

Tides Advocacy breaks its areas of advocacy into four categories: equality and human rights, shared prosperity, health and the environment, and democracy.

According to a 2013 lobbying report, Tides Advocacy spent all $2,100,000 on immigration reform. [10] The Advocacy Fund spent that $2,100,000 on lobbying in the 2nd quarter, during which Congress debated the “Gang of Eight” immigration legislation. The organization had not previously spent more than $640,000 for lobbying in a quarter. [11]

Tides Advocacy formed the Florida Rights and Restoration Coalition. The stated goal of this organization was to allow felons the right to vote in the state of Florida. With the help of Tides, a ballot measure granting voting rights to released felons, Measure 4, made the ballot in the November 2018 election. [12] This measure passed. [13]

An organization formed under their shared prosperity agenda is called Voices for Progress, which advocates for environmentalist policies to stop climate change and for left-wing approaches to reducing income inequality. [14]

Whit Jones, the former director of Energy Action Coalition anti-Keystone XL Pipeline group, founded Tides Advocacy’s health and the environment mission, Lead Locally. [15]

Financials

Tides Advocacy, as of 2017, had $12,336,912 in net assets. [16]  In 2017, Tides Advocacy received $28,890,135 in grants, contributions, and gifts. [17] As federal law allows for anonymous contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations, the grantors of numerous substantial gifts are unknown. However, federal filings indicate Tides Advocacy received separate donations of the following amounts: $6,721,333;[18] $3,771,016;[19] and $2,293,656. [20] Tides Advocacy reported four additional contributions over $1,500,000. [21] At the end of 2016, Tides Advocacy reported net assets of $3,650,844. [22]

Leadership

Amanda Keaton is the CEO of Tides Advocacy. Keaton currently serves on the board of Network for Good and formerly served on the boards of ACLU of Northern California and the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. [23]  Romilda Justilien, the deputy director of Tides Advocacy, was previously a social impact consultant at FSG, a diversity-in-hiring consultancy. [24]

Kris Deiglmeier, the CEO of Tides Foundation is a member of the board of directors. Alice Kessler, who previously worked at the left-of-center Equality California, also serves on Tides Advocacy’s board. [25]

References

  1. LeftExposed. “Trouble with the IRS,” Accessed February 4, 2019, http://leftexposed.org/2015/11/tides-foundation/
  2. LeftExposed. “Trouble with the IRS,” Accessed February 4, 2019, http://leftexposed.org/2015/11/tides-foundation/
  3. Ludwig, Hayden. “Why Does the Advocacy Fund Hide Its Tides Funding?,” Capital Research Center, March 2, 2018, Accessed February 6, 2019 https://capitalresearch.org/article/why-does-the-advocacy-fund-hide-its-tides-funding/
  4. Tides Advocacy. “Focus Areas,” Accessed February 6, 2019,  https://tidesadvocacy.org/about/
  5. LeftExposed. “Trouble with the IRS,” Accessed February 4, 2019, http://leftexposed.org/2015/11/tides-foundation/
  6. LeftExposed. “Trouble with the IRS,” Accessed February 4, 2019, http://leftexposed.org/2015/11/tides-foundation/
  7. LeftExposed. “Background and History,” Accessed February 4, 2019, http://leftexposed.org/2015/11/tides-foundation/
  8. Choma, Russ & Vendittuoli. “Advocacy Fund Spends Millions to Lobby on Immigration.” OpenSecrets.org. July 22, 2013, Accessed February 7, 2019
  9. Ludwig, Hayden. “Why Does the Advocacy Fund Hide Its Tides Funding?,” Capital Research Center, March 2, 2018, Accessed February 6, 2019 https://capitalresearch.org/article/why-does-the-advocacy-fund-hide-its-tides-funding/
  10. Choma, Russ & Vendittuoli. “Advocacy Fund Spends Millions to Lobby on Immigration.” OpenSecrets.org. July 22, 2013, Accessed February 4, 2019
  11. Choma, Russ & Vendittuoli. “Advocacy Fund Spends Millions to Lobby on Immigration.” OpenSecrets.org. July 22, 2013 Accessed on February 4, 2019
  12. Tides Advocacy. “Story, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition,” Accessed February 7, 2019,  https://tidesadvocacy.org/story/florida-rights-restoration-coalition/
  13. De La Garza, Alejandro. “’Our Voice Will Count’ Former Felon Praises Florida Passing Amendment 4 Which Will Restore Voting Rights to 1.4 Million People,” November 7, 2018, Accessed February 7, 2019 /
  14. CAN International. “Voices for Progress.” CAN Member Organizations. Accessed February 15, 2019. http://www.climatenetwork.org/profile/member/voices-progress.
  15. Tides Advocacy. “Story, Tides Advocacy Keeps Fossil Fuels in the Ground,” Accessed February 7, 2019,  https://tidesadvocacy.org/story/lead-locally-keeps-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground
  16. Tides Advocacy, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part I, 22
  17. Tides Advocacy, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Part VIII, 1f
  18. Tides Advocacy, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule B, Part I, 1(c)
  19. Tides Advocacy, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule B, Part I, 2(c)
  20. Tides Advocacy, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule B, Part I, 3(c)
  21. Tides Advocacy, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule B, Part I, 4(c)
  22. The Advocacy Group, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part I, 22
  23. Tides Advocacy. “Focus Areas,” Accessed February 6, 2019, https://tidesadvocacy.org/about/team/
  24. FSG. “Homepage,” Accessed February 8, 2019, www.fsg.org
  25. Tides Advocacy. “Focus Areas,” Accessed February 6, 2019, https://tidesadvocacy.org/about/team/
  26. The Advocacy Fund, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, C
  27. Tides Advocacy, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (From 990), 2017, C
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 1994

  • 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
    2015 Dec Form 990 $9,562,045 $10,196,815 $3,775,018 $498,558 N $9,436,579 $116,443 $27 $509,341 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $12,734,082 $14,556,500 $4,317,606 $406,376 N $12,705,995 $10,000 $267 $240,047 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $18,561,835 $18,503,363 $6,168,050 $434,402 N $18,519,851 $6,100 $1,716 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $7,766,705 $9,557,154 $5,895,175 $219,999 N $7,689,914 $47,250 $3,779 $45,056 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $10,633,049 $9,362,452 $8,464,819 $999,194 N $10,548,567 $61,500 $483 $235,668 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $21,131,764 $22,857,237 $6,906,426 $711,398 N $21,131,061 $0 $703 $150,800 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    The Advocacy Fund (Tides Advocacy Fund)

    1014 TORNEY AVENUE
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94129-1755