Non-profit

California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) Education Fund

Website:

calpirgedfund.org

Location:

SACRAMENTO, CA

Tax ID:

77-0566513

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $480,044
Expenses: $270,683
Assets: $762,640

California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (CALPIRG) is the policy research arm of the California Public Interest Research Group. It is the California state affiliate of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG), a left-of-center organization which oversees a federation of state liberal advocacy groups also known as “PIRGs.” [1]

The CALPIRG fund mainly funnels its efforts into research, public education, and outreach engagements that support left-of-center social and environmentalist initiatives. Additionally, the CALPIRG Fund has a broad-brush area of scope in both government and consumer advocacy and has led campaigns that range from promoting green-energy based urban redevelopment to discouraging the use of antibiotics in farming. [2]

CALPIRG Fund’s statewide and national lobbying arms have been accused of having poor funding models[3] and a lack of organizational transparency. [4]

Policy Stances

Campaign Finance

The CALPIRG Education Fund advocates for government-funded campaigns under which federal funds would match small-dollar individual campaign contributions dollar-for-dollar. [5] The CALPIRG Fund claims that this move would strengthen democracy and decrease the supposed influence corporations and wealthy individuals have over election cycles. [6]

Transportation

The CALPIRG Education Fund advocates for expanded public transportation reform in cities to combat both climate change and the global warming theory. Transportation reforms the group suggest as counterweights to traffic and pollution include the building of more bike paths, higher-density “walkable” neighborhoods, and high-performance inter-city trains. The CALPIRG Education Fund supports hot spots, smart traffic lights, and bridges designed only for walkers, cyclists, and trains. [7] The group campaigns against government highway spending packages and private motor vehicle infrastructure development. [8]

Government Transparency

The CALPIRG Education Fund has pushed for a public-accessible government spending “checkbook” that the organization claims would hold government-subsidized companies and privatized transportation initiatives more accountable. [9]

Financial Regulation

The CALPIRG Education Fund states that it prioritizes increased regulations against banks, debt collectors, and credit card companies. In 2011, the CALPIRG Education Fund created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to serve as a watchdog agency to cover financial institutions. [10]

Environment and Sustainability

The CALPIRG Education Fund promotes a slew of left-of-center environmentalist policy proposals including decreased farm antibiotic usage, [11] low-chemical farming practices, [12] re-developing cities to rely more on wind and solar energy, [13] and restricting plastics use. [14] Within these issue areas, the organization has notably advocated against government subsidies for the corn, wheat, and soybean industries [15] and pushed for a total ban of Polystyrene foam, a plastic commonly found in disposable kitchenware. [16]

Funding

The CALPIRG Education Fund’s latest annual IRS filing indicates that in 2016 the group took in $331,877 dollars in revenues and had $470, 274 dollars in expenditures. Additionally, in 2016 the organization reported net assets of $502,590 dollars. [17]

Grants Given

According to previous tax filing records, the CALPIRG Education Fund has given routine grants to the California Student PIRG including a $121,243-dollar grant in 2016.

Funding Received

The CALPIRG Education Fund took in a total of $485,000 dollars in foundation grant revenues between 2007 and 2016. Of that total, $480,000 dollars in grants came from the California Wellness Foundation (a philanthropic foundation that promotes “increased access to healthcare” among other items. [18]) for “education” purposes between the years of 2007 and 2009. During this particular time period. the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare’) was being both debated and campaigned for at the congressional level. The ACA was signed into law by then-President Barak Obama on March 23, 2010. [19] Additionally, in 2016 the McCune Foundation, another left-of-center advocacy foundation, gave the CALPIRG Education Fund a $5,000-dollar grant for a University of California, Santa Barbara campaign on solar energy. [20]

Leadership

Staff

Emily Rusch is the Executive Director for the CALPIRG Education Fund and has worked within the organization in the consumer department for upwards of a decade. Rusch mainly directs advocacy efforts on promoting public health, consumer policy, and left-wing electoral changes. Rusch additionally sits on the Board of Directors for Health Access California and the Consumer Federation of California. Her main areas of focus include efforts to stop the overuse of antibiotics in livestock operations and work aimed at lowering the cost of healthcare. [21] [22] [23]

Josh Chetwynd is the communications manager at the CALPIRG Education Fund and has an extensive career history in journalism, sports broadcasting, book writing, and sports journalism. Chetwynd has worked as a staff reporter for USA Today, the Hollywood Reporter, and U.S. News & World Report. In articles published in the Wall Street Journal, the Medium, and U.S. News & World Report, Chetwynd has taken environmentalist stances; in an article published at Medium titled Chetwynd argues that environmentalists need to do better job of bolstering environmental rhetoric with “meaningful action.” [24] [25]

Associated People

Susan Rakov is listed on CALPIRG Education Fund website as a staff member. She is additionally the senior vice president for Environment California and the Public Interest Network and founding director of the Frontier Group, a left-of-center think tank operated by the Center for Public Interest Research. Rakov mainly engages environmentalist work and has promoted policies related to the global warming theory, the impacts of fracking on the environment, and clean and renewable energy sources. In particular, Rakov has called for bans on disposable plastic products. [26]

Wendy Wendlandt is listed on the CALPIRG Education Website as a staff member. She is also the Senior Vice President and Political Director of The Public Interest Network. According to her staff biography on CALPIRG Education Fund, as the head of the elections program she directs “nonpartisan efforts” to register people to vote. Wendlandt was previously treasurer of Fair Share Action, a Democratic-aligned super PAC, and executive director of its nonprofit arm Fair Share. [27]

References

  1. CALPIRG Education Fund “About Page.” Accessed June 26, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/page/caf/about-calpirg-education-fund. ^
  2. CALPIRG Education Fund “About Page.” Accessed June 26, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/page/caf/about-calpirg-education-fund. ^
  3. Given, Casey. “Beware of CALPIRG’s Con.” The Daily Californian. Accessed June 26, 2019. https://www.dailycal.org/2011/11/07/beware-of-calpirg’s-con. ^
  4. “U.S. PIRG Education Fund.” Charity Navigator. Accessed June 26, 2019. https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=5433#.Vj1SPrerS70. ^
  5. “Federal Matching Funds Law and Legal Definition.” U.S. Legal. Accessed June 26, 2019. https://definitions.uslegal.com/f/federal-matching-funds. ^
  6. “Democracy for the People.” CALPIRG Education Fund “Issue Page.” Accessed June 25, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/issues/usf/democracy-people. ^
  7. “21st Century Transportation.” CALPIRG Education Fund “Issue Page.” Accessed June 25, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/issues/usf/21st-century-transportation. ^
  8. “Highway Boondoggles.” CALPIRG Education Fund. Accessed June 25, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/reports/caf/highway-boondoggles-5. ^
  9. “Government Transparency.” CALPIRG Education Fund “Issue Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/issues/maf/government-transparency. ^
  10. “Defend the Consumer Bureau.” CALPIRG Education Fund “Issue Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/issues/usf/defend-consumer-bureau. ^
  11. “Healthy Farms, Healthy Families.” CALPIRG Education Fund “issue Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019.

    https://calpirgedfund.org/issues/caf/healthy-farms-healthy-families. ^

  12. “Healthy Farms, Healthy Families.” CALPIRG Education Fund “issue Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019.

    https://calpirgedfund.org/issues/caf/healthy-farms-healthy-families. ^

  13. “Sustainable Cities.” CALPIRG Education Fund “Issue Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/issues/maf/sustainable-cities. ^
  14. “Stop Trashing Our Future.” CALPIRG Education Fund “Issue Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/feature/caf/stop-trashing-our-future. ^
  15. “Healthy Farms, Healthy Families.” CALPIRG Education Fund “issue Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019.

    https://calpirgedfund.org/issues/caf/healthy-farms-healthy-families. ^

  16. “Stop Trashing Our Future.” CALPIRG Education Fund “Issue Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/feature/caf/stop-trashing-our-future. ^
  17. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). California Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. 2016. Schedule A, Lines 12, 18, 22. ^
  18. The California Wellness Foundation “About Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.calwellness.org/mission/our-story ^
  19. “History and Timeline of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).” E Health. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.ehealthinsurance.com/resources/affordable-care-act/history-timeline-affordable-care-act-aca. ^
  20. Information from Foundation Search. CALPIRG Education Fund. Accessed June 24, 2019. www.foundationsearch.com. ^
  21. CALPIRG Education Fund Staff Page. CALPIRG. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/staff. ^
  22. LinkedIn “Emily Rusch Profile Page.” Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-rusch-9aba1428?trk=people-guest_profile-result-card_result-card_full-click. ^
  23. Lazarus, David. “Sneaky deals are keeping cheaper generic drugs off the market.” Los Angeles Times. Accessed June 27, 2019. https://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-generic-drugs-pay-for-delay-20190627-story.html. ^
  24. Josh Chetwynd “Bio.” Josh Chetwynd Website. Accessed June 27, 2019. http://joshchetwynd.com/chetwynd/index.php/bio/. ^
  25. Josh Chetwynd “Journalism Byline. Josh Chetwynd Website. Accessed June 27, 2019. http://joshchetwynd.com/chetwynd/index.php/journalism. ^
  26. CALPIRG Education Fund Staff Page. CALPIRG. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://calpirgedfund.org/staff. ^
  27. https://calpirgedfund.org/staff/usp/wendy-wendlandt. ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. Public Interest Network (PIN)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 2001

  • 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 Aug Form 990 $480,044 $270,683 $762,640 $121,653 N $479,566 $0 $478 $33,993
    2015 Aug Form 990 $144,282 $230,014 $563,625 $131,999 N $139,920 $4,011 $351 $21,357 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $368,550 $322,853 $679,400 $162,042 N $357,694 $10,049 $807 $10,851 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $319,651 $396,007 $692,318 $220,657 N $240,568 $77,395 $635 $14,602 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $419,571 $419,252 $742,109 $194,092 N $397,117 $21,765 $689 $19,071 PDF
    2011 Aug Form 990 $521,346 $360,116 $692,535 $144,837 N $157,292 $363,528 $526 $17,788 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) Education Fund

    1107 9TH ST STE 601
    SACRAMENTO, CA 95814-3611