Non-profit

Americans for Prosperity Foundation

This is a logo for Americans for Prosperity. (link)
Website:

americansforprosperityfoundation.org

Location:

ARLINGTON, VA

Tax ID:

52-1527294

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $17,949,115
Expenses: $20,292,795
Assets: $10,157,247

Type:

Center-Right Training and Education Group

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) is the activist training and educational foundation arm of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a libertarian advocacy nonprofit associated with the billionaire businessman and philanthropist Charles Koch and his late brother David. The organization was formed in 2004 from a split of its predecessor organizations, Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, which split into Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks [1]

The foundation shares most of its executive staff and office space with Americans for Prosperity, which engages in direct grassroots lobbying as opposed to the educational activities, policy research, and activist training conducted by the Foundation. [2] The board of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation was chaired by David Koch prior to his death and is now chaired by Mark Holden, the former general counsel and senior vice president of Koch Industries. The organization is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, near the offices of other Koch-backed organizations including the Charles Koch Institute and Stand Together. The Foundation promotes right-leaning and libertarian positions on issues including global warming, criminal justice, taxes, and government spending. [3]

Background

The predecessor to AFP and the AFP Foundation was founded in 1984 as the Foundation for a Sound Economy. In 1988, the Foundation for a Sound Economy transitioned from a 501(c)(3) organization to a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization and renamed Citizens for a Sound Economy. [4]

Citizens for a Sound Economy was founded and funded in its early years by Charles and David Koch, as well as corporations including tobacco companies Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds. Libertarian thinker and former U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) was an early chairman of the organization. Citizens for a Sound Economy became one of the first organizations to coin the term Tea Party as a movement to oppose left-of-center tax policy and perceived government overreach by starting a U.S. Tea Party website in 2002, although the movement did not take off until 2009. [5]

In 2004, an internal rift led to Citizens for a Sound Economy to split into what is now FreedomWorks and its affiliated organizations FreedomWorks for America and the FreedomWorks Foundation, and Americans for Prosperity and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. The organization hired Tim Phillips, a longtime right-leaning grassroots organizer and political operative who had previously worked with evangelical activist Ralph Reed, as its president. Phillips was also co-founder of Reed’s Century Strategies, which later became ensnared in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Following the separation between AFP and FreedomWorks, AFP became the main outlet of political activities for Charles and David Koch, and they ceased involvement with FreedomWorks. [6]

AFP and the AFP Foundation began to gain political traction at the grassroots level as a catalyst of the Tea Party movement and as a staunch opponent of the policies of the Obama administration. The organization worked alongside the Mercatus Center, a right-leaning think tank operated by George Mason University, to oppose the 2009 economic stimulus package supported by the Obama administration. The organization also came out as an opponent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and created an offshoot organization called Patients United Now to oppose the legislation. AFP also opposed the appointment of White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs Van Jones and opposed international climate agreements. [7]

Activity

Americans for Prosperity Foundation provides policy research, educational materials on public policy, and trainings for the thousands of grassroots activists in AFP’s state-based activism network. The Foundation, which is designated as a charity and is thereby limited in its ability to engage in direct lobbying, acts as a support system for AFP. [8] AFP engages in direct lobbying at the state and local levels and has chapters in 35 states that support right-leaning policies in each state capitol and engage local right-leaning activists to attend in-person lobbying days and rallies. AFP also brings together activists to write to and call legislators in support of the organization’s right-leaning policy priorities. [9]

The AFP Foundation executes many educational campaigns about state and federal public policy to inform voters and right-leaning activists regarding AFP policy priorities. These campaigns center around policy issues, as opposed to campaigns executed by Americans for Prosperity, which encourage voters and activists to take action in support of right-of-center policy implementation. [10]

As of February 2021, AFP Foundation is leading several campaigns. These include “Welcome to Colorado, Go,”[11] a campaign promoting business friendly laws, low taxes, and criminal justice reform as reasons people are moving to Colorado; “True North: Policies for a Path to Prosperity in Alaska,”[12] which promotes lower government spending and right-to-work laws in Alaska; “Lift Up Louisiana” which promotes lower taxes and criminal justice reform policies in Louisiana; [13] and “Common Ground: Immigration,”, which promotes liberal expansionist immigration policies that would expand immigration eligibility and grant permanent residency to some groups of illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. [14]

Affiliated Organizations

The AFP Foundation operates the Grassroots Leadership Academy, a training organization that trains right-leaning grassroots activists in political advocacy, campaigning, and grassroots lobbying. The Grassroots Leadership Academy has a staff of over 25 trainers and has training programs in 35 states. The training staff at the organization includes former Republican elected officials, campaign managers, and government employees. Training focuses on a variety of issue areas, including K-12 education, criminal justice reform, and free speech. [15]

The AFP Foundation also operates the LIBRE Initiative, a grassroots advocacy and education organization dedicated to educating the U.S. Hispanic population about right-leaning policy priorities. The LIBRE Initiative hosts events and trainings tailored to the Hispanic population in the United States and provides educational materials in English and Spanish that educate Hispanic voters about right-leaning policies, including programming about the dangers of communism and socialism. [16] The initiative also promotes AFP’s liberal expansionist position on immigration and the group’s support for allowing DACA recipients to remain in the United States. [17]

The AFP Foundation also operates the Concerned Veterans for America Foundation (CVA Foundation), another affinity group that provides outreach to veterans about right-leaning public policy. The CVA Foundation is the sister organization to Concerned Veterans for America (CVA), which is operated by Americans for Prosperity. [18] CVA and the CVA Foundation are centered around engaging veteran voters on right-leaning policy issues and mobilizing them to vote for certain Republican candidates in targeted races. The organization supports a full withdrawal from Afghanistan; ending wars centered around nation-building; and ending continual deployments, such as current operations in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and the horn of Africa. The organization also advocates for a wide-ranging reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs, including changing the structure of VA disability benefits. [19] The CVA Foundation supports the work of CVA by focusing on education about veterans’ health issues, encouraging entrepreneurship among veterans, and creating community-based veteran aid organizations. [20]

People

Mark Holden is the board chairman for Americans for Prosperity and the AFP Foundation. Holden was a longtime employee of Koch Industries where he was a senior vice president and general counsel. Holden currently works as a senior vice president at Stand Together. Holden was formerly chairman of Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and president and COO of the Legal Division of Koch Companies Public Sector. [21]

In 2017, Emily Seidel was named CEO of AFP to run the organization’s daily operations. Seidel also serves as both the president and CEO of the AFP Foundation. Seidel previously worked for Koch Companies Public Sector, the lobbying arm of Koch Industries, where she created some coalition building efforts and programs that later became Stand Together. Seidel also worked for the U.S. House of Representatives for twelve years where she worked in the Speaker of the House’s office and for former Vice President Mike Pence when he was the House Republican Conference Chair. [22]

Daniel Garza is the president of the Libre Initiative, the arm of AFP Foundation that conducts targeted outreach to Hispanic communities. Garza is the child of Hispanic immigrants who became involved in politics in Washington state and ultimately worked in the George W. Bush administration’s Office of the Public Liaison. Despite having a Republican background, Garza has worked with left-leaning groups and individuals such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Mark Zuckerberg. During the Trump administration, Garza lobbied the administration not to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA) program and frequently engaged with top advisors to President Trump on the issue, including Jared Kushner and Marc Short. [23]

Kim Penner is the third board member of the AFP Foundation, alongside Mark Holden and Emily Seidel. Penner is the retired CEO of the Koch Pipeline Company. [24]

Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra

As of 2021, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation is the lead plaintiff in a court case against the California Attorney General (as of March 8, 2021, Xavier Becerra (D)) over a policy of the Attorney General’s office that required nonprofit organizations to provide the names of major donors. The policy and lawsuit initially began during the tenure of now-Vice President Kamala Harris during her time as California Attorney General. [25]

The AFP Foundation sued, claiming the policy violated its First Amendment right to freedom of association, citing the potential for the policy to intimidate possible donors who feared their information becoming public. After receiving a judgement in its favor, the AFP Foundation lost the case on an appeal before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and appealed to the United States Supreme Court. [26]

In January 2021, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, which leads to the potential for the court to reaffirm a longstanding precedent from a 1958 case in which the NAACP defeated an attempt from the State of Alabama to obtain its donor list, citing the potential for intimidation and violence against donors. [27]

Funding

Due to its status as a tax-exempt organization, AFP does not publicly disclose its donors. It is, however, well known that much of the organization’s support comes directly from foundations funded by Charles Koch and the late David Koch, such as the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Other confirmed donors to AFP and the AFP Foundation include the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, and the John William Pope Foundation. [28]

The AFP Foundation also solicits funding from private individuals online. The organization promotes its ability to accept planned gifts and bequests, while also allowing various types of donations including land, stock, annuities, and unused retirement savings. [29]

References

  1. “About Us.” American for Prosperity Foundation. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://americansforprosperityfoundation.org/about-us/ ^
  2. “About Us.” American for Prosperity Foundation. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://americansforprosperityfoundation.org/about-us/ ^
  3. “IRS Form 990.” American for Prosperity Foundation. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/521527294/02_2020_prefixes_47-52%2F521527294_201812_990_2020021417150111 ^
  4. “FreedomWorks History.” FreedomWorks. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://www.freedomworks.org/content/freedomworks-history ^
  5. DeMelle, Brendan. “Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaire Koch Brothers.” Huffington Post. February 11. 2013. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/study-confirms-tea-party-_b_2663125 ^
  6. [1] Mayer, Jane. “Covert Operations The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. The New Yorker. August 23, 2010. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/30/covert-operations ^
  7. Mayer, Jane. “Covert Operations The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. The New Yorker. August 23, 2010. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/30/covert-operations    ^
  8. “About Us.” American for Prosperity Foundation. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://americansforprosperityfoundation.org/about-us/ ^
  9. “About Us.” American for Prosperity. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://americansforprosperity.org/about/ ^
  10. “About Us.” American for Prosperity Foundation. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://americansforprosperityfoundation.org/about-us/ ^
  11. “Colorado Go.” American for Prosperity Foundation. Accessed February 25, 2021.  https://edu.americansforprosperityfoundation.org/colorado-go/ ^
  12. “True North.” American for Prosperity Foundation. Accessed February 25, 2021.  https://edu.americansforprosperityfoundation.org/true-north/ ^
  13. “Lift Up Louisiana.” American for Prosperity Foundation. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://edu.americansforprosperityfoundation.org/lift-up-louisiana/ ^
  14. “Common Ground.” Stand Together. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.explorecommonground.com/experience ^
  15. “About.” Grassroots Leadership Academy. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://gla.americansforprosperityfoundation.org/about/ ^
  16. “About.” Libre Initiative. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://thelibreinstitute.org/about-libre-institute/ ^
  17. “Immigration Pop Up Exhibit Reveals Common Ground on Debate.” Libre Initiative. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://thelibreinstitute.org/blog/2019/10/launching-immigration-pop-up-exhibit-reveals-common-ground-on-debate/ ^
  18. “Home.” Concerned Veterans for America. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://cvafoundation.org/ ^
  19. “2021 Policy Agenda.” Concerned Veterans for America. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://cv4a.org/2021-policy-agenda/ ^
  20. “Focus Areas.” Concerned Veterans for America Foundation. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://cvafoundation.org/focus-area/ ^
  21. “Mark Holden.” American for Prosperity. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://americansforprosperity.org/mark-holden/ ^
  22. “Emily Seidel.” American for Prosperity. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://americansforprosperity.org/emily-seidel/ ^
  23. “NJ 50: Daniel Garza.” National Journal. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://nj50.nationaljournal.com/profile-daniel-garza/ ^
  24. Grover, Bob. “Koch Center promotes ethical leadership.” Emporia Gazette. August 14, 2015. Accessed March 11, 2021. http://www.emporiagazette.com/opinion/article_2421d48e-a07c-505d-ac5e-e03d86d9e1f1.html ^
  25. Hrywna, Mark. “U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Donor Disclosure Cases.” The Non Profit Times. January 25, 2021. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.thenonprofittimes.com/npt_articles/u-s-supreme-court-to-hear-donor-disclosure-cases/ ^
  26. Hrywna, Mark. “U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Donor Disclosure Cases.” The Non Profit Times. January 25, 2021. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.thenonprofittimes.com/npt_articles/u-s-supreme-court-to-hear-donor-disclosure-cases/ ^
  27. Hrywna, Mark. “U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Donor Disclosure Cases.” The Non Profit Times. January 25, 2021. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://www.thenonprofittimes.com/npt_articles/u-s-supreme-court-to-hear-donor-disclosure-cases/ ^
  28. Bennett, Laurie. “Tracking Koch Money and Americans for Prosperity.” Forbes. March 31, 2012. Accessed February 25, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauriebennett/2012/03/31/tracking-koch-money-and-americans-for-prosperity/?sh=4b8fd3416c46 ^
  29. “Planned Giving.” American for Prosperity Foundation. Accessed February 25, 2021.  https://afpf.giftlegacy.com/?pageID=2 ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 1988

  • 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
    2017 Dec Form 990 $17,949,115 $20,292,795 $10,157,247 $5,244,121 N $17,660,453 $249,769 $17,117 $748,809 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $27,391,266 $23,028,942 $10,436,063 $3,179,257 N $25,147,503 $2,246,021 $0 $1,348,335 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $22,192,958 $27,815,002 $7,536,863 $4,642,381 N $20,108,429 $2,064,679 $0 $1,758,318 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $23,284,137 $21,006,809 $10,330,200 $1,813,674 N $21,461,641 $1,704,975 $1,417 $1,500,727 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $13,310,464 $17,700,992 $8,012,392 $1,773,194 N $12,976,019 $332,213 $2,232 $1,195,626 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $24,029,062 $26,587,053 $11,822,279 $1,192,553 N $22,234,000 $272,071 $6,199 $753,442 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $25,176,714 $12,732,913 $14,129,009 $941,292 N $24,846,639 $281,675 $48,413 $897,616 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Americans for Prosperity Foundation

    1310 N COURTHOUSE RD STE 700
    ARLINGTON, VA 22201-2961