Non-profit

Common Dreams

Location:

PORTLAND, ME

Tax ID:

20-3368194

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $1,569,141
Expenses: $1,458,920
Assets: $455,428

Formation:

1997

Executive Director:

Craig Brown

Common Dreams is a left-wing nonprofit news organization which frequently publishes news and opinion pieces with a left-of-center perspective. [1] Though the organization claims to maintain editorial independence by refusing corporate and government funding, Common Dreams explicitly promotes left-of-center values and causes through its reporting. [2] [3]

Common Dreams maintains a commentary section which it updates daily. Opinion contributors have become known for their left-wing perspectives, with one recent article claiming that 2021 protests in Cuba were caused by “the brutal economic war waged by the United States against the island nation,” rather than the authoritarian communist regime in the country. [4] Other writers have called on the United States to make “reparations” to citizens of Afghanistan after fighting to prevent Taliban rule, demanded a complete end to the use of conventional fuels, and claimed that large oil companies should be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity.” [5] [6] [7]

History

Common Dreams was founded in 1997 by Democratic operative Craig Brown and his late wife, Lina Newhouser. Brown has been the executive director of the organization since its founding, and he remains in the position as of July 2021. [8]

Since its founding, Common Dreams has acknowledged its left-progressive bias and support for “progressive values,” claiming that its mission is to “ignite change” and encourage “well-informed, well-intentioned—and just plain fed up and fired-up—people” to demand left-of-center policies. [9] The name “Common Dreams” was inspired by the radical-left Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) co-founder and former president Todd Gitlin’s book, The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America is Wracked by Culture Wars. [10]

Since its founding, Common Dreams has come to brand itself as a news organization for left-progressive activists and causes. The site has received praise from several prominent left-of-center activists, including CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin, The Nation journalist John Nichols, actress and far-left activist Susan Sarandon, Public Citizen founder and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and Our Revolution founder Nina Turner. [11]

Issue Areas

Common Dreams publishes left-of-center news articles on issues including environmentalism, criminal justice, politics, economic policy, military policy, healthcare, and technology. [12] [13] Articles originally published on Common Dreams are often republished and cited by other high-profile, left-of-center organizations, including New York magazine, Salon, and the New York Times. [14] [15]

Most Common Dreams articles highlight and try to build support left-progressive campaigns and organizations, with writers openly supporting left-of-center perspectives and excluding right-of-center commentary, even in pieces designated as news articles. One recent article celebrated a U.S. Senate proposal to decriminalize marijuana that included commentary from marijuana advocacy organizations including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) without mentioning criticisms. [16]

Common Dreams is affiliated with NewsCenter, another left-of-center news site, and Progressive NewsWire, which publishes articles from other left-progressive organizations to promote rallies, protests, and campaigns. [17]

Opinion Journalism

Outside of reporting news with a left-of-center perspective, Common Dreams maintains a opinion section which it updates several times daily. Its opinion section does not feature any right-of-center columnists, and most of its articles advocate for far-left policies and political perspectives. [18]

On issues of American politics, Common Dreams opinion contributors have called for Democrats to implement a government-controlled health care system at the federal level, alleged that there is “Republican minority rule” in the Senate, and claimed that Republicans and right-of-center media outlets have “blood on their hands” for the COVID-19 pandemic. [19] [20] [21] Common Dreams was an opponent of former President Donald Trump, accusing him and the Republican Party of “undermining democracy” and calling on Americans to make them “pay for the insult big time.” [22]

Common Dreams opinion contributors have also called for far-left foreign policy implementation. Contributors have claimed that 2021 protests in Cuba were caused by “the brutal economic war waged by the United States against the island nation,” rather than the communist, authoritarian regime that holds power in the country. [23] Opinion writers have also called for the United States to make “reparations” to citizens of Afghanistan after fighting for over 20 years to prevent Taliban rule of the country and called all war “a cancer on our democracy.” [24] [25] Following the death of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Common Dreams published an article calling him a “war criminal” and “killer of multitudes.” [26]

In recent years, Common Dreams has published opinion pieces endorsing left-wing environmentalist policy. Writers have called for a complete end to the use of conventional fuels, claimed that large oil companies should be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity,” and alleged that wealthy nations “created climate crisis.” [27] [28] [29]

People and Funding

Common Dreams is supported by reader donations. [30] In 2019, Common Dreams reported $1,569,141 in revenue, $1,458,920 in expenses, and $455,428 in net assets. [31]

Common Dreams was founded in 1977 by left-wing operatives Craig Brown and Lina Newhouser. Brown has been executive director of the organization since its founding. Prior to creating Common Dreams, Brown was a community organizer and a political consultant on left-progressive campaigns, including those of former U.S. Representative Tom Andrews (D-ME). In 1991, Brown and Andrews co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), a left-wing caucus within the Democratic Party. [32] Since 2000, Brown has given thousands to left-of-center and left-progressive candidates and organizations, including ActBlue and both of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)’s presidential campaigns. [33]

Other Common Dreams staff members have written for left-of-center publications including  Al Jazeera America, The Nation, and the Washington Post. [34] [35] [36]

References

  1. “Key Staff.” Common Dreams, July 6, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/key-staff. ^
  2. “About Us.” Common Dreams, June 4, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/about-us. ^
  3. “Key Staff.” Common Dreams, July 6, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/key-staff. ^
  4. “Opinion.” Common Dreams, June 3, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/opinion. ^
  5. Kelly, Kathy. “Reckoning and Reparations in Afghanistan.” Common Dreams, July 15, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/15/reckoning-and-reparations-afghanistan. ^
  6. Polychroniou, C.J. “Humanity Needs to Declare Independence From Fossil Fuels.” Common Dreams, July 5, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/05/humanity-needs-declare-independence-fossil-fuels. ^
  7. Hertsgaard, Mark. “Big Oil Should Be Prosecuted for Their Crimes Against Humanity.” Common Dreams, July 1, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/01/big-oil-should-be-prosecuted-their-crimes-against-humanity. ^
  8. “Key Staff.” Common Dreams, July 6, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/key-staff. ^
  9. “About Us.” Common Dreams, June 4, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/about-us. ^
  10. “CommonDreams (CD).” Discover The Networks. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/commondreams-cd.[/note]

    Common Dreams publishes original stories and compiles news published by other outlets. The site is funded by donations from readers. Common Dreams does not accept corporate funding, government grants, or advertisements, claiming that it provides an alternative to “the commercial media.” [note]“Opinion.” Common Dreams, June 3, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/opinion. ^

  11. “What They Are Saying…” Common Dreams, July 4, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/what-they-are-saying. ^
  12. “About Us.” Common Dreams, June 4, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/about-us. ^
  13. “Common Dreams.” Common Dreams. Accessed June 06, 2019. https://www.commondreams.org/. ^
  14. Kilgore, Ed. “Primary Voters Should Decide the Direction of the Democratic Party.” Intelligencer. Intelligencer, July 15, 2021. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/primary-voters-should-decide-the-direction-of-democrats.html.[/note] [note]Wilkins, Brett. “Climate Activist Gets Eight-Year Sentence While Capitol Rioters, Big Oil Execs Go Free.” Salon. Salon.com, July 6, 2021. https://www.salon.com/2021/07/06/climate-activist-gets-eight-year-sentence-while-big-oil-execs-capitol-rioters-go-free_partner/. ^
  15. Herndon, Astead W. “Progressive Ideas Remain Popular. Progressive Presidential Candidates Are Losing. Why?” The New York Times. The New York Times, March 18, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/us/politics/bernie-sanders-progressives-elizabeth-warren.html. ^
  16. Wilkins, Brett. “Drug War Foes Applaud Senators’ Bill to End Federal Cannabis Criminalization.” Common Dreams, July 14, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/07/14/drug-war-foes-applaud-senators-bill-end-federal-cannabis-criminalization. ^
  17. “CommonDreams (CD).” Discover The Networks. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/commondreams-cd. ^
  18. “Opinion.” Common Dreams, June 3, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/opinion. ^
  19. Altman, Nancy J. “Democrats Have An Historic Opportunity To Advance FDR’s Vision For Universal, Guaranteed Health Care.” Common Dreams, July 14, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/14/democrats-have-historic-opportunity-advance-fdrs-vision-universal-guaranteed-health. ^
  20. Hill, Steven. “The Perils of ‘Minority Rule.’” Common Dreams, July 16, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/16/perils-minority-rule. ^
  21. Huppke, Rex. “RIght-Wing Media and GOP Have Blood on Their Hands for Covid-19 Misinformation.” Common Dreams, July 17, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/16/right-wing-media-and-gop-have-blood-their-hands-covid-19-misinformation. ^
  22. “Opinion.” Common Dreams, June 3, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/opinion. ^
  23. “Opinion.” Common Dreams, June 3, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/opinion. ^
  24. Kelly, Kathy. “Reckoning and Reparations in Afghanistan.” Common Dreams, July 15, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/15/reckoning-and-reparations-afghanistan. ^
  25. Mazzarino, Andrea. “Who Authorizes America’s Wars and Why Do They Never End?” Common Dreams, July 15, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/15/who-authorizes-americas-wars-and-why-do-they-never-end. ^
  26. Naureckas, Jim. “Remembering Donald Rumsfeld: A Killer of Multitudes.” Common Dreams, July 5, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/05/remembering-donald-rumsfeld-killer-multitudes. ^
  27. Polychroniou, C.J. “Humanity Needs to Declare Independence From Fossil Fuels.” Common Dreams, July 5, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/05/humanity-needs-declare-independence-fossil-fuels. ^
  28. Hertsgaard, Mark. “Big Oil Should Be Prosecuted for Their Crimes Against Humanity.” Common Dreams, July 1, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/01/big-oil-should-be-prosecuted-their-crimes-against-humanity. ^
  29. Massa, Isabella, and Jeffrey D. Sachs. “Rich Countries Created Climate Crisis Ravaging Island States.” Common Dreams, July 16, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/07/16/rich-countries-created-climate-crisis-ravaging-island-states. ^
  30. “About Us.” Common Dreams, June 4, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/about-us. ^
  31. “Common Dreams.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990, 2019. Part I. ^
  32. “Key Staff.” Common Dreams, July 6, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/key-staff. ^
  33. “Browse Individual Contributions.” FEC.gov. Federal Election Commission. Accessed July 18, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=Craig%2BBrown&contributor_employer=Common%2BDreams&two_year_transaction_period=2022&min_date=01%2F01%2F2000&max_date=12%2F31%2F2020. ^
  34. “Key Staff.” Common Dreams, July 6, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/key-staff. ^
  35. “Key Staff.” Common Dreams, July 6, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/key-staff. ^
  36. “Key Staff.” Common Dreams, July 6, 2021. https://www.commondreams.org/key-staff. ^

Supported Movements

  1. Medicare-for-All
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 2007

  • 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
    2019 Dec Form 990 $1,569,141 $1,458,920 $455,428 $0 N $1,568,867 $0 $274 $187,371 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $1,313,941 $1,147,800 $323,652 $0 N $1,313,566 $0 $375 $186,724 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,061,236 $1,054,572 $157,511 $0 N $1,061,743 $0 $130 $181,405 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $958,990 $984,006 $150,847 $0 N $958,852 $0 $56 $175,247
    2015 Dec Form 990 $902,804 $848,223 $175,863 $0 N $902,859 $0 $808 $164,718 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $751,746 $952,930 $121,282 $0 N $751,574 $0 $0 $169,200 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $935,808 $765,885 $322,466 $0 Y $934,173 $0 $175 $151,699 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $750,149 $641,966 $152,543 $0 Y $746,887 $0 $0 $151,197 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $577,312 $565,069 $44,360 $0 Y $575,469 $0 $0 $136,194 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Common Dreams

    PO BOX 443
    PORTLAND, ME 04112-0443