Non-profit

Civic Nation

Website:

civicnation.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

47-3576918

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2020):

Revenue: $16,234,577
Expenses: $9,427,566
Assets: $13,719,726

Type:

Nonprofit

Formation:

2015

CEO:

Kyle Lierman

Board Chair:

Valerie Jarrett

Civic Nation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2015, headed by President Jason Waskey (CEO of Blue Crab Strategies LLC) and Executive Director Jenn Brown. Touting itself as an organ of widespread positive social change, Civic Nation funds several large charitable initiatives:  Erase the Hate, College Promise, It’s On Us, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, #VoteTogether, and United State of Women. [1] Civic Nation functions as a sort of organizing hub for its partner, Creative Alliance, a left-leaning marketing group which produces advertisements and online content for its subsidiary and partner organizations. From fiscal year 2016 to 2017 Civic Nation’s funding nearly tripled from 2,945,775 to 8,326,553. IRS Form 990 documents from 2017 show a net revenue of 3,562,318, contrasted with 335,424 the previous year. [2]

Leadership

Valerie Jarrett is the board chair for Civic Nation. [3] Prior to this, she worked as the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama from 2009 through 2016. [4]

With the exception of Jason Waskey, the previous president of Civic Nation, the organization’s Board of Directors consists entirely of former high-ranking staff of the Obama administration:[5]

  • Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama  [6]
  • Tina Tchen, Former Chief of Staff to Michele Obama [7]
  • Sam Brown, Former Director of the White House Business Council [8]
  • Cecilia Munoz, Former Director of Domestic Policy Council [9]
  • Pete Rouse, Former Counselor to President Obama [10]
  • Joe Paulsen, Former Special Assistant and Deputy Chief of Staff to President Obama [11]

Since 2019, Kyle Lierman has worked as Chief Executive Officer of Civic Nation. Prior to this, he worked as a field director for “Obama for America” during Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008 before joining the Obama Administration in 2010. There he served as Liaison and then as both Senior Associate Director as well as Senior Policy Advisor to the White House Office of Public Engagement in 2015. [12] From 2018 to 2021, he worked simultaneously as the CEO of When We All Vote, a voter outreach organization and initiative of Civic Nation [13] that is funded by New Venture Fund, part of the left-wing “dark money” Arabella Advisors network. [14]

The previous executive director Jenn Brown had worked for over a decade as a left-of-center political activist and community organizer.  In 2008 she was the Minnesota regional field director for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. In March of 2012 she began work as executive director of Battleground Texas, a PAC designed to shift Texas from a Red state to a “battleground” state through community organizing and increased registration of voters from Democratic-leaning groups. [15] In 2015, Brown became executive director simultaneously of Civic Nation and its partner organization, Creative Alliance. On April 11, 2019, Brown announced on Twitter that she would be starting her new job as campaign manager for the 2020 Presidential election bid of U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.). [16] Following Senator Booker’s presidential campaign suspension, Brown joined Planned Parenthood Federation of America as its Senior Vice President of Policy, Campaigns & Advocacy in August 2020. [17]

Affiliated Campaigns

Erase the Hate

Originally founded in 1994 by current NBCUniversal Chairman Bonnie Hammer as a media-driven anti-discrimination campaign, Erase the Hate began as a series of documentaries starring Martha Plimpton. The campaign was relaunched by Hammer in October 2010,[18] as a series of advertisements and short interviews starring Hollywood figures including Omar Epps, Alicia Keys, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. [19]

In addition to its media campaign, Erase the Hate has endeavored to shift cultural perceptions and perspectives through select left-wing social policy organizations in its ‘Change Makers’ initiative.  One example is Athlete Ally, founded by former Columbia University wrestling coach Hudson Taylor to promote LGBT interests in the athletic community. [20]

#VoteTogether/ALL IN: Campus Democracy Challenge

In September 2018 Civic Nation launched its #VoteTogether project, intended to increase voter turnout among university students by associating voting with a fun, celebratory atmosphere. That same year they partnered with MTV to disburse $1,000 grants to event hosts across the country to defray celebration costs. [21]

A related project is “ALL IN: Campus Democracy Challenge” which seeks to increase voter registration among university students. In 2016, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) refused to endorse the project on the grounds that it appeared too partisan. NAICU President David L. Warren explained:  “It was hard to know where one ended and the other began…The issue of the White House and Civic Nation, either separately or together, moving in this direction struck me as an entangling perception at best that I did not want.” [22]

College Promise/Better Make Room

Civic Nation also oversees College Promise, a campaign launched in 2015 designed to implement government-funded community college. [23] A related project, Better Make Room, focuses on preparing low-income high school upperclassmen for secondary education. [24]

It’s On Us

Civic Nation is affiliated with “It’s On Us”, an anti-sexual misconduct campaign begun under the Obama administration, which benefits from widespread support of celebrities and politicians including Barack Obama, Jon Hamm, and Joe Biden. [25]

 The United State of Women

Civic Nation is also affiliated with The United State of Women summits, which took place in June 2016 and May 2018.  In June 2019 United State of Women launched a PSA promoting the renewal and expansion of the Violence Against Women Act. [26]

The Hope Incubator

In September 2018, editor Gautam Raghvan announced a new Civic Nation endeavor, The Hope Incubator, is to be funded by proceeds from a collection of Obama administration staffers’ memoirs: “West Wingers.” [27]

When We All Vote (WWAV)

Created in 2018, When We All Vote is a a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) program started by former first lady Michelle Obama and is also an initiave of Civic Nation. [28] The initiative’s goal is to increase voter registration across the country through advocating for greater voter participation. [29]

All In Campus Democracy Challange

The All In Campus Democracy Challage was created as an initiative of Civic Nation to encourage and promote civic engagement and voter participation on college campuses across the country. [30] One of its goals is to support voter participation on over 1000 campuses including community colleges and institutions for minority groups over the next five years. [31]

References

  1. Civic Nation. “Initiatives.” Civic Nation Website. Undated. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://civicnation.org/initiatives/ ^
  2.  Propublica. Tax Filings by Year. Form 990. Filed April 3, 2019. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/473576918/201940709349300514/IRS990^
  3. “About Us.” Civic Nation, Accessed November 8, 2022. https://civicnation.org/about/ ^
  4. Boghosian, Joyce N. “Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Obama, to join University of Chicago Law School.” University of Chicago Law School News, December 11, 2017. https://news.uchicago.edu/story/valerie-jarrett-former-senior-adviser-president-obama-join-university-chicago-law-school ^
  5. Civic Nation. Civic Nation Website. Board of Directors. Undated. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://civicnation.org/about/ ^
  6. Boghosian, Joyce N. “Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Obama, to join University of Chicago Law School.” University of Chicago Law School News, December 11, 2017. https://news.uchicago.edu/story/valerie-jarrett-former-senior-adviser-president-obama-join-university-chicago-law-school ^
  7. CBS News. “Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff, announced as new head of Time’s Up.” CBS News, October 7, 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/times-up-announces-new-head-tina-tchen-michelle-obama-former-chief-of-staff/ ^
  8. “Sam Brown.” LinkedIn, Accessed November 8, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/samdavidbrown ^
  9. “Cecilia Munoz”. New America. Accessed November 1, 2019. https://www.newamerica.org/our-people/cecilia-mu%C3%B1oz/ ^
  10. “Pete Rouse.” Perkins Coie, Accessed November 8, 2022. https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/professionals/pete-rouse.html ^
  11. Galuppo, Mia. “Obamas’ Higher Ground Unveils Key Exec Team as Film/TV Co-Chief Steps Down.” The Hollywood Reporter, July 29, 2021. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/obamas-higher-ground-announces-key-execs-priya-swaminathan-step-down-1234989924/#! ^
  12. “Kyle Lierman.” LinkedIn, Accessed November 8, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-lierman-98521a8 ^
  13. “About Us.” When We All Vote. Accessed October 20, 2022. https://whenweallvote.org/about/ ^
  14. Ludwig, Hayden. “Arabella Advisors’ ‘Dark Money’ Helped Democrats in the 2018 Midterms-Expect More in 2020,” March 18, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/arabella-advisors-dark-money-helped-democrats-in-the-2018-midterms-expect-more-in-2020/ ^
  15. Dreier, Peter. “Activists to Watch:  Jenn Brown.” October 24, 2013.  Accessed August 28, 2019. https://billmoyers.com/content/jenn-brown ^
  16. Jenn Brown. Twitter Post. Twitter.com April 11, 2019. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://twitter.com/jennb_jennb/status/1116386877295271937?lang=en ^
  17. “Jenn Brown.” LinkedIn, Accessed November 8, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenn-brown-0370924 ^
  18. Rose, Lacey. “NBCU Cable Chairman Bonnie Hammer Relaunches ‘Erase the Hate’ Campaign.” The Hollywood Reporter. October 10, 2017. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nbcu-cable-chairman-bonnie-hammer-relaunches-multi-mollion-dollar-erase-hate-campaign-1047329 ^
  19. Erase the Hate. “Join the Movement.” Youtube.com August 10, 2018. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=20&v=LsTL89DnByA ^
  20. Athlete Ally. “Our Founding Story.” Athlete Ally website.  Undated. Accessed August 29, 2019. https://www.athleteally.org/about ^
  21. Civic Nation. “Civic Nation Launches #VoteTogether With 140 Partners and More Than 500 Celebrations to Change the Culture of Voting.” Cision PR Newswire website. September 5, 2018. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/civic-nation-launches-votetogether-with-140-partners-and-more-than-500-celebrations-to-change-the-culture-of-voting-300707219.html[/note] ^
  22. Lederman, Doug. “Civic Engagement or Get out the Vote?” Inside Higher Ed Website. July 8, 2016. Accessed August 27, 2019. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/07/08/confusion-surrounds-student-voting-effort-linked-white-house ^
  23. Civic Nation. Civic Nation Website. “Initiatives.” Undated. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://civicnation.org/initiative/college-promise/ ^
  24. Civic Nation. Civic Nation Website. “Initiatives.” Undated. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://civicnation.org/initiative/better-make-room/ ^
  25. [note] It’s On Us. “Sexual Assault PSA.” Youtube.com September 14, 2014. Accessed August 28, 2019.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNMZo31LziM  ^
  26. The United State of Women. “Violence Against Women Act PSA.” Youtube.com June 25, 2019. Accessed August 28, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LArw-lQWcT8  ^
  27. Raghvan, Gautam. “How a Group of Obama White House Staffers are Empowering the Next Generation of Change Makers” Forbes. September 25, 2018 Accessed August 28, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/civicnation/2018/09/25/how-a-group-of-obama-white-house-staffers-are-empowering-the-next-generation-of-change-makers/#952400b1d638  ^
  28. “About Us.” When We All Vote. Accessed October 20, 2022. https://whenweallvote.org/about/ ^
  29. “When We All Vote.” Civic Nation. Accessed October 20, 2022. https://civicnation.org/our-initiatives/when-we-all-vote/ ^
  30. “All In.” Civic Nation. Accessed October 20, 2022. https://civicnation.org/our-initiatives/all-in/ ^
  31. “About.” All In Campus Democracy Challange. Accessed October 20, 2022. https://allinchallenge.org/about/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Tina Tchen
    Treasurer
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 2015

  • 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
    2020 Dec Form 990 $16,234,577 $9,427,566 $13,719,726 $1,006,571 Y $15,611,314 $529,598 $0 $162,295
    2019 Dec Form 990 $3,228,707 $4,151,811 $1,634,551 $89,702 Y $2,869,629 $325,920 $1,658 $156,189 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $7,760,332 $9,324,505 $2,683,964 $497,036 Y $7,760,332 $0 $0 $147,031 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $8,326,553 $4,764,235 $4,742,444 $154,403 N $8,326,553 $0 $0 $138,655 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,903,386 $2,567,962 $1,196,939 $171,216 N $2,945,775 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,026,017 $335,718 $732,243 $41,944 N $1,026,017 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Civic Nation

    727 15th St. NW
    WASHINGTON, DC 20009-4512