Center for American Progress (CAP)



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $50,174,276
Expenses: $47,352,861
Assets: $55,668,101


July 2003


American Majority Institution


Left-of-Center Think Tank


John Podesta


Neera Tanden


Center for American Progress Action (CAP Action)

The Center for American Progress (CAP), a 501(c)(3) policy organization funded in large part by billionaire George Soros, was created in 2003 as the left-of-center alternative to the Heritage Foundation. CAP was founded by John Podesta, former White House Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, Counselor to the President in the Obama White House, and chair of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign.[1] Podesta’s goal, according to a New York Times article published when CAP was founded, was to “build an organization to rethink the very idea of liberalism, a reproduction in mirror image of the conservative think tanks that have dominated the country’s political dialogue for a generation.”[2]

The Center for American Progress Action (CAP Action) is the 501(c)(4) advocacy affiliate of the Center for American Progress.


CAP describes itself as “an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.”[3] CAP and it’s 501(c)4 affiliated Center for American Progress Action (CAP Action) were allegedly conceived in 2002 after Democrats lost the Presidency in 2000 to George W. Bush and the lost control of both houses of Congress in 2002. John Podesta worked with then-Democratic National Committee Chairman and now-Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe, former Bill Clinton political director Don Sosnik, and former Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes to create CAP. They connected early with Mark Schmitt of the Open Society Institute, a philanthropic venture of liberal billionaire George Soros, to get CAP off the ground.[4]

Originally launched in July 2003 as the American Majority Institution, the organization changed its name to the Center for American Progress on September 1, 2003.[5] According to The Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss, it was not “completely wrong to see [CAP] as a shadow government, a kind of Clinton White-House-in-exile—or a White House staff in readiness for President Hillary Clinton.” In its early days as now, CAP boasts an abundance of Clinton staff.[6] In 2004, CAP helped Clinton-confidant David Brock to create Media Matters,[7] a left-of-center response to conservative journalism and conservative criticism of news media.

CAP engages in rapid media response, long-term research projects, and policy creation on issues from criminal justice to race and ethnicity. CAP also has many spin-off organizations from left-of-center online publication Think Progress to youth-centered policy and advocacy organization Generation Progress.


According to a 2015 Politico report, CAP received significant donations from coastal power centers. CAP receives large donations from Wall Street, including at least $50,000 from both Bank of America and Goldman Sachs as well as at least $100,000 from Citigroup and Blackstone. It also receives donations from Silicon Valley, including at least $100,000 each from Apple, Google, and Microsoft and $5,000 from Facebook. Donors also include those is the Clinton and Obama inner circle, including Obama supporters Joan and Irwin Jacobs who gave at least $200,000, and Quinn Delaney and Wayne Jordan, who gave at least $100,0000. President Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Obama fundraiser Orin Kramer have given at least $50,000.[8]

CAP also receives significant support from unions, including at least $100,000 from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), at least $100,000 from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and $50,000 from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).[9]

Left-of-Center Donors

Many left-of-center donors gave millions to get CAP started, including donations from the following:

Center for American Progress Donors[10]
$22,274,000 Sandler Foundation
$3,000,000 George Soros
$1,849,991 Open Society Foundations (formerly Open Society Institute)
$3,000,000 Marisla Foundation
$2,192,450 New York Community Trust
$1,900,000 Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation
$797,983 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
$765,000 Tides Foundation

CAP also receives donations from the Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Sea Change Foundation, Wyss Foundation, Glaser Progress Foundation, and Schwab Charitable Fund.[11]

Corporate Supporters

Other notable donors to the Center for American Progress include companies like CVS, Walmart, Samsung, and Ernst & Young, as well as defense contractors DRS Technologies and Northrop Grumman.[12] Below is a full list of 2013 CAP corporate supporters:

Center for American Progress Corporate Supporters[13]
Akins Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Blue Engine Message & Media
America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP Blue Shield of California
American Beverage Association BMW of North America
American Iron and Steel Institute CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
Anglo American Citigroup
Apple Inc. Comcast NBC Universal
AT&T Covanta Energy
Bank of America CVS Caremark Inc.
Blackstone Daimler
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association DeVry Education Group
Dewey Square Group Goldman Sachs
Discovery Google
DISH Network Health Care Service Corporation
Downey McGrath Group, Inc. Japan Bank for International Cooperation
DRS Technologies Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
Eli Lilly and Company McLarty Associates
Facebook Microsoft Corporation
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Monitor Deloitte
General Electric Motion Picture Association of America
Genworth Financial MyWireless.Org
Northrop Grumman The Coca-Cola Company
Pearson The Glover Park Group LLC
PepsiCo The Ickes and Enright Group
PG&E Corporation Time Warner Inc.
Quest Diagnostics T-Mobile
Samsung Electronics America Toyota Motor North America
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States Visa Inc.
Tata Group of Companies Walmart
The Albright Stonebridge Group Wells Fargo

CAP Action

Also see Center for American Progress Action (Nonprofit)

CAP Action lists its major donors publicly under the following categories:

CAP Action Supporters[14]
$1,000,000 or more
Center for American Progress
$5,000 to $999,999
[Anonymous Donor]
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
$100,000 to $499,999
[Three Anonymous Donors]
Nick and Leslie Hanauer
$50,000 to $99,999
American Federation of Teachers
Joan and Irwin Jacobs
Motion Picture Association of America
National Public Education Foundation
$5,000 to $49,999
[Anonymous Donor]
Naomi Aberly
Blue Shield of California
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees
Douglas H. Phelps
Ploughshares Fund
Tides Foundation

Past donors to CAP Action include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Wendy and Jim Abrams, Ben Barnes, Google, Harold Ickes, Jack Marco, and Will Robinson.[15]

Affiliated Organizations

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Also see Center for American Progress Action Fund (Nonprofit)

The Center for American Progress Action Fund is the 501(c)(4) affiliate to the Center for American Progress, sharing a mirror image mission to “produce bold, progressive ideas.”[16] Originally founded in 2003, CAP Action had revenue of $6,44,380 and expenses of $7,678,925 in 2014.[17] The first president and CEO of CAP Action was former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello (D-Virginia), who founded controversial left-of-center religious organizations like Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Catholics United, Faith in Public Life, and Faithful America.[18] CAP Action runs a left-of-center blog, Think Progress.


Also see ThinkProgress (Nonprofit)

ThinkProgress is a proudly left-wing media organization founded in 2005.  Editor-in-chief and founder of Think Progress Judd Legum was formerly a research director on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential run and a research director at CAP.[19] Former editor-in-chief (and former senior advisor to U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada)) Faiz Shakir said in 2011, “We report from a progressive perspective. We wear that ideology proudly. To the extent that there’s bias in this world, the bias is in the selection of the stories that we chose to report, but once we chose to report them, we want to present them as honestly, as candidly and as straightforwardly as we possibly can.”[20]

On July 12, 2018, Ian Millhiser, the justice editor for ThinkProgress, published an article claiming that “The U.S. Senate is Facing a Legitimacy Crisis.” In this article, Millhiser criticized the structure of the United States Senate, claiming that “the Senate is one of the most anti-democratic bodies in any modern democracy” and “immoral.”[21] At 5:43 AM, Millhiser tweeted, “Abolish the Senate,” with a link to the article. [22]

Podesta Group

The Podesta Group is a defunct lobbying firm started by longtime Clinton operative and CAP founder John Podesta and his brother, Tony Podesta. It was dissolved at the end of 2017.

Some of the Podesta Group’s clients overlapped with donors to CAP.[23] Clients to the Podesta Group who also donated to CAP directly include organizations such as Blue Shield of California, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Google, Novo Nordisk, Quest Diagnostics, T-Mobile, Walmart, and Wells Fargo. Some of these organizations have supported left-of-center policies, including many which CAP also advocates for, such as Obamacare.[24]

The Podesta Group also represents NBC (which is owned by General Electric, a CAP donor), whose CEO was on the Obama Administration Economic Recovery Advisory Board along with Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a CAP senior fellow.[25][26]

Other Issues

CAP Action also produces the American Worker Project to promote labor issues, to provide election coverage, and the National Security Leadership Alliance to promote more restricted American military action.[27]

CAP also supports Generation Progress, formerly known as Campus Progress, to engage young people to “embrace progressive values” and push progressive policies. Generation progress supports youth activism and journalism and provides event and networking opportunities to mentor future left-of-center leaders.[28]

Mayors for Smart on Crime

Also see Mayors for Smart on Crime (Nonprofit)

Mayors for Smart on Crime is an initiative of the Center for American Progress created by Democratic Party operative John Podesta.


CAP employs more than 300 people, from senior staff, editors, communications personnel, administrative workers, development staff, academic fellows, and more to policy experts on the following subjects: democracy and government, early childhood policy, economic policy, education-K-12, education-postsecondary, energy, faith, guns and crime, health, immigration, LGBT, legal progress, national security and international policy, poverty, public lands, technology, and women’s health.[29]

Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden is the president and CEO of CAP and CAP Action, having taken over for John Podesta when he became Counselor to the President in the Obama White House. Tanden previously served as a senior advisor for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration. She was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden Presidential campaign in 2008 during the general election after serving as the policy director for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign during the Democratic Party primaries that same year. She previously worked on Clinton’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2000. During Clinton’s time in the Senate, Tanden served as Clinton’s legislative director. Before this, Tanden was the associate director for domestic policy in the Clinton White House and acted as a senior advisor to the first lady. Tanden is a graduate of UCLA and Yale Law School.[30] In emails released by Wikileaks stolen from John Podesta, Tanden called Hillary Clinton’s instincts “suboptimal,” worried about Mrs. Clinton “dodging another issue” when it came to the Keystone XL pipeline, and called New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) “a bit insufferable.”[31]

Carmel Martin

Carmel Martin is the executive vice president for Policy at CAP. She previously worked as the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the Department of Education during the Obama administration and served as a senior advisor to the former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Before joining the Obama administration, Martin was a general counsel and deputy staff director for the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), the chief counsel and senior policy advisor for former U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), and the special counsel to former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Martin worked as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the Educational Opportunities Section at the Department of Justice and in the private sector at Hogan & Hartson’s.[32]

Winnie Stachelberg

Winnie Stachelberg is the executive vice president of external affairs at CAP. Stachelberg joined CAP in 2006 after spending 11 years at the powerful LGBT interest group Human Rights Campaign (HRC). She first joined HRC as a senior health policy advocate, then became the political director, and finally became the first president of the HRC Foundation, HRC’s 501(c)3 arm. At CAP, Stachelberg helped launched the immigration policy program, the LGBT Research and Communications Project, the gun-violence prevention network, and the Half in Ten antipoverty program. She is a graduate of Georgetown and received a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University.[33]


  1. Center for Organizational Research and Education. “Center for American Progress.” Activist Facts. Accessed October 17, 2017.
  2. Bai, Matt. “Notion Building.” New York Times. October 12, 2003. Accessed November 24, 2016.
  3. “About.” Center for American Progress. Accessed November 24, 2016.
  4. “Center for American Progress.” Left Exposed. Accessed November 24, 2016.
  5. “Center for American Progress.” Discover the Networks. Accessed November 24, 2016.
  6. “Center for American Progress.” Discover the Networks. Accessed November 24, 2016.
  7. Rutenberg, Jim. “New Internet Site Turns Critical Eyes and Ears to the Right” New York Times. May 3, 2004. Accessed November 23, 2016.
  8. Topaz, Jonathan. “CAP Donor Lists Show Many With Clinton Ties.” Politico. January 21, 2015. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  9. Topaz, Jonathan. “CAP Donor Lists Show Many With Clinton Ties.” Politico. January 21, 2015. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  10. “Center for American Progress.” Discover the Networks. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  11. “Center for American Progress.” Left Exposed. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  12. Topaz, Jonathan. “CAP Donor Lists Show Many With Clinton Ties.” Politico. January 21, 2015. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  13. “Our Supporters 2013.” Center for American Progress Action Fund. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  14. “Our Supporters.” Center for American Progress Action Fund. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  15. “Our Supporters.” Center for American Progress Action Fund. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  16. “Mission.” Center for American Progress. Accessed November 26, 2016.
  17. Revenue and expenditure as of TY end 12/31/14 “Center for American Progress Action Fund.” Guidestar. 2015. Accessed November 26, 2016.
  18. “Center for American Progress.” Discover the Networks. Accessed November 26, 2016.
  19. “Judd Legum.” LinkedIn. Accessed November 11, 2016.
  20. “Smith, Ben and Kenneth P. Vogel. “CAP News Team Takes Aim at GOP.” Politico. April 12, 2011. Accessed November 26, 2016.
  21. Millhiser, Ian. “The U.S. Senate Is Facing A Legitimacy Crisis.” ThinkProgress. July 12, 2018. Accessed July 18, 2018.
  22. Ian Millhiser Twitter Post. 5:43 A.M. July. Accessed July 18, 2018.
  23. Markay, Lachlan. “Podesta Group Clients Donated to Podesta’s Center for American Progress.” Washington Free Beacon. December 17, 2013. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  24. “Our Supporters 2016.” Center for American Progress. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  25. Carney, Timothy P. “Obama’s Revolving Door Always Open to Podestas.” Washington Examiner. November 4, 2009. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  26. “Laura D’Andrea Tyson.” National Archives and Records Administration. Accessed June 20, 2018.
  27. “Our Projects.” Center for American Progress Action Fund. Accessed November 26, 2016.
  28. “About Us.” Generation Progress. Accessed November 26, 2016.
  29. “Staff.” Center for American Progress.” Accessed November 23, 2016.
  30. “Neera Tanden.” Center for American Progress. Accessed November 23, 2016. 11/23
  31. “Eder, Steve and Nicholas Confessore. “WikiLeaks Lays Bare a Clinton Insider’s Emphatic Cheers and Jeers.” New York Times. October 29, 2016. Accessed November 23, 2016.
  32. “Carmel Martin.” Center for American Progress. Accessed November 24, 2016.
  33. “Winnie Stachelberg.” Center for American Progress. Accessed November 24, 2016.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Tom Steyer
    Board Member
  2. Susan Sandler
    Board Member
  3. Tom Perriello
    Former President (Action Fund)
  4. Judd Legum
    Editor-in-Chief, ThinkProgress (online publication)
  5. Neera Tanden
  6. Brian Deese
    Former Senior Economic Policy Analyst
  7. Matthew Miller
    Senior Fellow
  8. Michael Linden
    Former Associate Director for Tax and Budget Policy
  9. Indivar Dutta-Gupta
    Former Consultant, Researcher
  10. Anisha Singh
    Senior Organizing Director
  11. Scott Nathan
    Senior Fellow
  12. Arkadi Gerney
    Former Senior Fellow, former Vice President
  13. Steven Phillips
    Senior Fellow
  14. Faiz Shakir
    Former Vice President for Communications
  15. Mike Lux
    Launch Supporter
  16. Maya Harris
    Former Senior Fellow

Donor Organizations

  1. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Non-profit)
  2. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) (Labor Union)
  3. American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (Labor Union)
  4. Annie E. Casey Foundation (Non-profit)
  5. Bauman Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  6. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Non-profit)
  7. Blue Moon Fund (Cassiopeia Foundation) (Non-profit)
  8. Broad Foundation (Non-profit)
  9. Carnegie Corporation of New York (Non-profit)
  10. Democracy Alliance (DA) (Other Group)
  11. Douglas H. Phelps Foundation (Non-profit)
  12. Embrey Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  13. Energy Foundation (Non-profit)
  14. Facebook (For-profit)
  15. Ford Foundation (Non-profit)
  16. Glaser Progress Foundation (RealNetworks) (Non-profit)
  17. Issue One (Non-profit)
  18. JPB Foundation (Non-profit)
  19. Lumina Foundation for Education, Inc. (Non-profit)
  20. Marisla Foundation (Non-profit)
  21. National Education Association (NEA) (Labor Union)
  22. NEO Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  23. New Venture Fund (Non-profit)
  24. New York Community Trust (Community Funds) (Non-profit)
  25. Nick and Leslie Hanauer Foundation (Non-profit)
  26. Open Society Foundations (OSF) (Non-profit)
  27. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) (Non-profit)
  28. Ploughshares Fund (Non-profit)
  29. Rockefeller Foundation (Non-profit)
  30. Sandler Foundation (Non-profit)
  31. Sea Change Foundation (Non-profit)
  32. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) (Labor Union)
  33. Sixteen Thirty Fund (Non-profit)
  34. Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation (Non-profit)
  35. Tides Foundation (Non-profit)
  36. TomKat Charitable Trust (Non-profit)
  37. Trust for Energy Innovation (Non-profit)
  38. W. K. Kellogg Foundation (Non-profit)
  39. Walmart (For-profit)
  40. Wilburforce Foundation (Non-profit)
  41. Wyss Foundation (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2003

  • 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 $50,174,276 $47,352,861 $55,668,101 $6,778,991 Y $49,778,104 $41,334 $57,105 $1,129,565 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $45,156,090 $42,425,026 $55,526,919 $7,606,945 Y $44,515,120 $88,544 $53,292 $1,312,714 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $40,870,394 $38,013,551 $53,153,182 $7,847,535 Y $40,013,311 $143,130 $22,431 $1,028,232 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $39,201,517 $34,156,778 $50,042,142 $7,838,769 Y $38,215,459 $305,126 $29,535 $952,820 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $34,647,763 $34,115,219 $44,146,250 $6,987,616 Y $33,795,845 $243,185 $42,394 $617,277 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Center for American Progress (CAP)

    1333 H ST NW
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-4707