Non-profit

Council for a Strong America

Website:

www.strongnation.org/

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

13-3840271

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $12,160,968
Expenses: $11,660,559
Assets: $12,818,697

Formation:

1996

Board Chair:

Norman R. Seip

President:

Barry D. Ford

The Council for a Strong America (CSA) is a left-leaning advocacy organization that works to promote left-of-center policy on education and child-care programs. CSA works as an umbrella group for five organizations, which each bring together a given professional community in the United States in support of CSA policies. [1]

CSA has supported broadly left-of-center policies, including federal subsidies for childcare programs, increased funding for after-school programs, expanded public funding for early childhood education, and increased federal oversight of child nutrition programs. [2] [3] [4]

Despite claiming to be nonpartisan, CSA has received support from a number of left-of-center foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. [5] [6] [7] [8] CSA has also worked with the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). [9]

CSA’s president and CEO is Barry D. Ford. Ford was a well-known Democratic fundraiser and political operative before 2004, when he was forced to resign from his position as chief policy advisor to then-New York City Council speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) following three allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate touching by women on the Council staff. [10]

History

Council for a Strong America was founded in 1996 by a group of current and former New York Police Department commissioners when they launched Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, an organization to unite law enforcement leaders across the country to prevent crime by promoting success among high-risk children. The organization began with research initiatives to evaluate crime deterrent programs, concluding that increasing public funding for childhood programs would decrease crime rates. Most famously, CSA published a 1997 report which demonstrated that juvenile crime peaked during afterschool hours, using the results to advocate for federal investments in afterschool programs which culminated in the establishment of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) program in 1998. [11]

Over the following 20 years, CSA launched four new organizations that united particular groups of professionals under its umbrella to promote increased taxpayer funding for education and childcare programs. These included ReadyNation, a community for business leaders; Mission: Readiness, a group of retired military admirals and generals; Shepherding the Next Generation, an association of evangelical pastors; and Champions for America’s Future, an organization of elite coaches and athletes. [12]

Activity

The Council for a Strong America promotes investment in left-of-center social programs focused on youth health and career readiness. The Council functions as an umbrella organization for five organizations that conduct research in support of these policies. [13]

Policy Positions

CSA is active across the country in promoting left-of-center policy towards young people. CSA has supported subsidized child-care programs and expanded public funding for early childhood education programs. [14] CSA has also called on increased taxpayer funding for after-school programs, claiming that keeping more students under school supervision will result in decreased juvenile crime. [15]

In 2015, after the Republican-led House of Representatives Education Committee approved legislation to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act, CSA came out in opposition to the measure, claiming that it did not provide sufficient funding. CSA joined the Committee for Education Funding, a coalition of 115 organizations, condemning the measure. The Committee board of directors included representatives from a number of left-of-center organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA). [16]

Organizations

Five organizations operate under the CSA umbrella and assist in pursuing its policy goals. CSA’s Fight Crime: Invest in Kids program brings together over 5,000 members of law enforcement communities to steer young people away from criminal activity. Founded in 1996, Fight Crime is CSA’s oldest program. [17] The organization has called for increased investment in afterschool programs to keep children off the streets in order to reduce juvenile crime rates. [18] CSA research through the Fight Crime program has been used to support calls to provide government funding for universal after-school programs. [19] The program also organizes initiatives to increase visibility of law enforcement officials within communities. [20]

CSA also organizes the Mission: Readiness program, which aims to promote increased public funding for health programs in schools on the claim that American youth are unfit for military service. The program includes over 700 high-ranking military retirees. Program members have called on the federal government to mandate increased physical education programs in schools, claiming that obesity among young people could compromise national defense. [21] [22] Mission: Readiness has also called for increased federal nutrition programs, including subsidies for childcare providers to serve healthy meals and snacks and stringent nutrition requirements for school lunch programs. [23] The program has also advocated for a redistribution in education funding from high-income to low-income school districts. [24]

ReadyNation is an organization comprised of business leaders within CSA that advances economic arguments in support of left-of-center policy implementation. In January 2019, ReadyNation published a report claiming that instability in childcare was a “crisis” resulting in $57 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue in the United States every year. The report called for increased taxpayer funding for childcare programs at the state and federal level and state-run childcare quality rating systems. [25] Since its publication, the report has been used to call for increased childcare subsidies and support for the childcare industry in Massachusetts, Colorado, and other states. [26] [27] Left-of-center publication The New Republic even used the report to champion a higher corporate income tax, claiming that parents “need money from corporations’ overstuffed pockets” to fund childcare initiatives. [28]

Two smaller organizations operate within CSA as well. Champions for America’s future brings together famous athletes and coaches who advocate for CSA’s proposed policy solutions. Shepherding the Next Generation includes spiritual leaders who work towards the same ends by enrolling at-risk children in church and family-based intervention programs. [29] [30]

Leadership and Funding

In 2019, CSA reported $11,065,487 in revenue and $9,336,494 in expenses. [31] CSA also reported $10,390,2525 in net assets. [32] CSA has received funding from a number of prominent left-of-center organizations, including $2.2 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, $1.2 million from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, $400,000 from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, $300,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and $275,000 from the Lumina Foundation. [33] [34] [35] [36] [37]

Barry D. Ford became president and CEO of CSA in 2019. Ford previously worked as COO and executive vice president of CSA, after holding several positions at CSA state affiliates. Ford previously worked as director of public affairs and advocacy for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and as a local lobbyist in New York City. Ford twice ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives. [38]

Ford also worked as chief policy advisor to former New York City Council speaker Gifford Miller, being described as a “Democratic political operative and fund-raiser” by the left-leaning New York Times. In December 2004, Ford was suspended and then resigned from his position following three allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate touching by women on the Council staff. [39] Ford was married at the time to his current wife, Lisa Mensah, who worked as Undersecretary of Agriculture in the Obama administration. [40]

CSA’s Senior Policy Council includes 41 former public officials, including 15 former United States Representatives, 6 former governors, six United States Senators, and two Cabinet officials from both major political parties. [41]

References

  1. “Our Organization.” Council for a Strong America. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/about/our-organization. ^
  2. Maxey, Heather, Sandra Bishop-Josef, and Ben Goodman. “Unhealthy and Unprepared.” Council for a Strong America. Council for a Strong America, October 2018. https://strongnation.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/484/389765e0-2500-49a2-9a67-5c4a090a215b.pdf. ^
  3. “Georgia’s Working Families Need Early Care and Education.” Council for a Strong America, March 2, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/articles/1455-georgia-s-working-families-need-early-care-and-education. ^
  4. Valigra, Lori. “How Afterschool Programs Are Deterring Youth Crime in Auburn.” Bangor Daily News, October 17, 2019. https://bangordailynews.com/2019/10/17/news/how-afterschool-programs-are-deterring-youth-crime-in-auburn/. ^
  5. “Council for a Strong America.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, January 1, 1AD. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2013/07/OPP1082143. ^
  6. “Council for a Strong America.” The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.packard.org/grants-and-investments/grants-database/council-for-a-strong-america-5/. ^
  7. “Council for a Strong America, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Report, 2018-03103.” Mott Foundation. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.mott.org/grants/council-for-a-strong-america-fight-crime-invest-in-kids-report-2018-03103/. ^
  8. “Council for a Strong America.” Hewlett Foundation, May 17, 2017. https://hewlett.org/grants/council-for-a-strong-america-for-strengthening-state-policy-and-local-implementation-of-californias-school-accountability-system/. ^
  9. Strauss, Valerie. “115 Education Groups: GOP No Child Left Behind Legislation Is Vastly Underfunded.” The Washington Post. WP Company, April 25, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/12/115-education-groups-gop-no-child-left-behind-legislation-is-vastly-underfunded/. ^
  10. Slackman, Michael. “Sex Complaints Lead to Ouster at City Council.” The New York Times. The New York Times, December 16, 2004. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/16/nyregion/sex-complaints-lead-to-ouster-at-city-council.html. ^
  11. “Our History.” Council for a Strong America. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/about/our-organization/our-history. ^
  12. “Our History.” Council for a Strong America. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/about/our-organization/our-history. ^
  13. “Our Organization.” Council for a Strong America. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/about/our-organization. ^
  14. “Georgia’s Working Families Need Early Care and Education.” Council for a Strong America, March 2, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/articles/1455-georgia-s-working-families-need-early-care-and-education. ^
  15. Valigra, Lori. “How Afterschool Programs Are Deterring Youth Crime in Auburn.” Bangor Daily News, October 17, 2019. https://bangordailynews.com/2019/10/17/news/how-afterschool-programs-are-deterring-youth-crime-in-auburn/. ^
  16. Strauss, Valerie. “115 Education Groups: GOP No Child Left Behind Legislation Is Vastly Underfunded.” The Washington Post. WP Company, April 25, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/12/115-education-groups-gop-no-child-left-behind-legislation-is-vastly-underfunded/. ^
  17. “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.” Council for a Strong America. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/fightcrime. ^
  18. Valigra, Lori. “How Afterschool Programs Are Deterring Youth Crime in Auburn.” Bangor Daily News, October 17, 2019. https://bangordailynews.com/2019/10/17/news/how-afterschool-programs-are-deterring-youth-crime-in-auburn/. ^
  19. Johnson, Stephon. “De Blasio and City Council Begin Universal after-School Push.” New York Amsterdam News. Amsterdam News, January 23, 2020. http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2020/jan/23/de-blasio-and-city-council-begin-universal-after-s/. ^
  20. Wenzler, Elliott. “Sheriff Reads to Preschoolers over Video Call.” Douglass County News Press. Colorado Community Media, May 4, 2020. https://douglascountynewspress.net/stories/sheriff-reads-to-preschoolers-over-video-call,298313. ^
  21. Stensland, Jeff. “US Military: Less than 30% of Americans Fit to Join Armed Forces.” Spectrum News 1. Charter Communications, April 10, 2018. https://spectrumlocalnews.com/tx/san-antonio/news/2018/04/10/us-military–less-than-30–of-americans-fit-to-join-armed-forces. ^
  22. Strong, Kim. “71% Of Young People Are Ineligible for the Military – and Most Careers, Too.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, May 14, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/05/14/military-service-most-young-people-dont-qualify-careers/3665840002/. ^
  23. Maxey, Heather, Sandra Bishop-Josef, and Ben Goodman. “Unhealthy and Unprepared.” Council for a Strong America. Council for a Strong America, October 2018. https://strongnation.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/484/389765e0-2500-49a2-9a67-5c4a090a215b.pdf ^
  24. Mahon, Ed. “Retired Military Leaders Say PA Schools Need More Money.” 90.5 WESA. PA Post, November 18, 2019. https://www.wesa.fm/post/retired-military-leaders-say-pa-schools-need-more-money#stream/0. ^
  25. Bishop-Josef, Sandra, Chris Beakey, Sara Watson, and Tom Garrett. “Want to Grow the Economy? Fix the Child Care Crisis.” Council for a Strong America, January 2019. https://strongnation.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/602/83bb2275-ce07-4d74-bcee-ff6178daf6bd.pdf?1547054862&inline;%20filename=%22Want%20to%20Grow%20the%20Economy?%20Fix%20the%20Child%20Care%20Crisis.pdf%22. ^
  26. Murphy, Matt. “Reopening Costs Straining Mass. Child Care System.” Taunton Daily Gazette. The Taunton Daily Gazette, June 16, 2020. https://www.tauntongazette.com/story/news/2020/06/16/reopening-costs-straining-mass-child-care-system/42905573/. ^
  27. Jones, Callie. “New Report Shows Colorado Child Care System Doesn’t Meet Needs.” Sterling Journal-Advocate. MediaNews Group, May 14, 2020. https://www.journal-advocate.com/2020/05/14/new-report-shows-colorado-child-care-system-doesnt-meet-needs/. ^
  28. Haspel, Elliot. “The False Prophets of the Childcare Revolution.” SoldShort. The New Republic, February 20, 2020. https://newrepublic.com/article/156623/false-prophets-childcare-revolution. ^
  29. “Champions for America’s Future.” Council for a Strong America. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/champions. ^
  30. “About Us.” Council for a Strong America. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/shepherding/about-us. ^
  31. “Council for a Secure America.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990, 2021. Part I, Line 12, Line 18. ^
  32. “Council for a Secure America.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form

    990, 2019. Part I, Line 22. ^

  33. “Council for a Strong America.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, January 1, 1AD. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2013/07/OPP1082143. ^
  34. “Council for a Strong America.” The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.packard.org/grants-and-investments/grants-database/council-for-a-strong-america-5/. ^
  35. “Council for a Strong America, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Report, 2018-03103.” Mott Foundation. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.mott.org/grants/council-for-a-strong-america-fight-crime-invest-in-kids-report-2018-03103/. ^
  36. “Council for a Strong America.” Hewlett Foundation, May 17, 2017. https://hewlett.org/grants/council-for-a-strong-america-for-strengthening-state-policy-and-local-implementation-of-californias-school-accountability-system/. ^
  37. “Council for a Strong America, Grant #10445.” Lumina Foundation, January 31, 2018. https://www.luminafoundation.org/grant/10445/. ^
  38. “Barry D. Ford, J.D.” Council for a Strong America. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/people/barry-d-ford-j-d. ^
  39. Slackman, Michael. “Sex Complaints Lead to Ouster at City Council.” The New York Times. The New York Times, December 16, 2004. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/16/nyregion/sex-complaints-lead-to-ouster-at-city-council.html. ^
  40. “Undersecretary for Rural Development: Who Is Lisa Mensah?” AllGov, July 13, 2014. http://www.allgov.com/news/appointments-and-resignations/undersecretary-for-rural-development-who-is-lisa-mensah-140713?news=853668. ^
  41. “Senior Policy Council.” Council for a Strong America. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.strongnation.org/about/our-people/senior-policy-council. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Robert H. Dugger
    Board Member
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 1995

  • 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 $12,160,968 $11,660,559 $12,818,697 $1,399,717 N $11,976,018 $500 $30,678 $894,325 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $9,995,803 $12,479,977 $12,508,077 $1,483,635 N $9,659,486 $1,250 $69,211 $793,092
    2015 Dec Form 990 $11,617,141 $10,307,031 $15,369,999 $1,166,699 N $11,550,183 $4,167 $54,864 $765,887 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $11,755,745 $8,553,819 $14,315,266 $1,414,256 N $11,632,358 $0 $75,657 $845,609 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $7,971,852 $7,891,595 $10,934,346 $1,409,882 N $7,820,871 $0 $84,519 $662,289 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $7,027,747 $7,218,535 $10,675,538 $1,289,366 N $6,948,177 $0 $75,895 $651,117 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $7,908,716 $6,906,700 $10,375,428 $872,142 N $7,861,918 $19,125 $27,673 $611,710 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Council for a Strong America

    1212 NEW YORK AVE NW STE 300
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-3988