Economic Security Project


Washington, DC

Tax-Exempt Status:



Left-Wing Funders Network



Project of:

Hopewell Fund


$10 million over two years (estimated)

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The Economic Security Project (ESP) is a left-of-center initiative that advocates for the federal government to distribute “unconditional cash for Americans” through a universal basic income program. 1 It is housed within the Hopewell Fund, a 501(c)(3) funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit operated by Arabella Advisors.

The Economic Security Project was launched by Facebook co-founder and former The New Republic owner and publisher Chris Hughes, along with other left-of-center activists and Democratic Party operatives.

In 2019, the Project announced the “Anti-Monopoly Fund,” a project slated to run through March 2021 and funded by the Omidyar Network of eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar, George Soros‘s Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Knight Foundation to demand further regulations on major businesses.2


The Economic Security Project’s three co-chairs are Natalie Foster, Chris Hughes, and Dorian Warren. 3

Foster is a former Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee staffer who has also held leadership positions at the Sierra Club and 4 Hughes is a co-founder of Facebook who led digital organizing for the Obama campaign, owned and published the leftist New Republic magazine, and is an advisor to the left-wing Roosevelt Institute. 5 Warren is a former labor studies professor at the University of Chicago and Columbia University who leads the left-of-center nonprofits Center for Community Change and Community Change Action Fund. 6

The ESP’s steering committee includes:


The Economic Security Project is not a stand-alone legal entity and does not file an IRS Form 990. Its parent organization, the left-wing Hopewell Fund, does not disclose the ESP’s revenues or expenditures, or the salaries of its staff, in its filings with the IRS.

In addition to its co-founders and steering committee members, organizations that have announced support of the ESP or been identified as its donors in media coverage include:12


Basic Income

The Economic Security Project supports a federal universal basic income (UBI) program in which every working adult with an income under $50,000 per year would receive $500 per month, paid for by increased taxes. 13

While some right-of-center economists have proposed UBI as a replacement for the traditional government-operated welfare-state programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, public housing and more; the ESP’s position is that UBI programs should be implemented “in combination with robust social safety net programs.” 14 15 16

EITC Expansion

The ESP supports a massive expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) they call the “Cost-of-Living Refund,” based in part on the work of former Clinton administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich. 17 An associated advocacy organization, Economic Security Project Action, operates lobbying and organizing campaigns on behalf of these policies. 18

UBI programs similar to the ESP’s proposed policies have been promoted by candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Demonstration Projects

ESP funds the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), a UBI project that is giving $500 every month to 130 residents of Stockton, California for 18 months. The project’s website claims the “root cause of poverty” is the “lack of cash.” 19

In Magnolia, Mississippi, the ESP-funded Magnolia Mothers Trust project is giving 15 families with young children $1,000 each month for a year. 20

Anti-Monopoly Fund

In October 2019, the Economic Security Project announced a new Anti-Monopoly Fund to support economic research and advocacy campaigns that focus on limiting corporate power. Donors to the $10 million dollar fund include the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Knight Foundation, George Soros‘s Open Society Foundations, and the Omidyar Network. 21


Economic Security Project makes grants to organizations that support its basic income policy. Organizations that the ESP has funded include: 22


  1. “What We Fund.” Economic Security Project
  2. Romm, Tony. “Facebook Co-Founder and Critic Chris Hughes Spearheads a $10 Million Anti-Monopoly Fund.” The Washington Post. WP Company, October 17, 2019.
  3. “Who We Are.” Economic Security Project
  4. “Who We Are.” Economic Security Project
  5. Lohr, Steve. 2019. “Chris Hughes Worked to Create Facebook. Now, He Is Working to Break It Up.” The New York Times. July 25, 2019.
  6. “Who We Are.” Economic Security Project
  7. “Hemant Taneja.” General Catalyst,
  8. “Our Vision.” Goldhirsh Foundation,
  9. “Leadership.” Leadership | Stanford Basic Income Lab. Stanford University
  10. Wilson, Fred. “Introducing Albert Wenger.” Union Square Ventures, June 25, 2007.
  11. “Ethical Electric Is Now CleanChoice Energy.” CleanChoice Energy, October 31, 2016.
  12. Rojc, Philip. 2019. “Who’s Helping Push the Idea of a Basic Income into the Political Mainstream?” Inside Philanthropy. May 6, 2019.
  13. Hughes, Chris. “It’s Time for America to Embrace Guaranteed Income | Chris Hughes.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, February 20, 2018.
  14. Murray, Charles. “A Guaranteed Income for Every American.” American Enterprise Institute, June 3, 2016.
  15. Ezrati, Milton. “An Old Idea, Wrong As Ever.” City Journal. Manhattan Institute, May 23, 2019.
  16. “Economic Security Project.” Facebook. Economic Security Project. August 17, 2019.
  17. “Cost-of-Living Refund.” Economic Security Project.
  18. “Economic Security Project Action.” Economic Security Project Action, n.d.
  19. “About SEED.” Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration
  20. “Introducing The Magnolia Mother’s Trust!” Springboard to Opportunities Blog. Springboard to Opportunities.
  21. Alex Daniels. “Grant Makers Face Uphill Battle as They Push for a Kinder Form of Capitalism.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The Chronicle of Philanthropy, December 4, 2019.
  22. “What We Fund.” Economic Security Project
  23. “Mia Birdsong.” Mia Birdsong, n.d.
  24. “Truth Be Told.” Truth Be Told, n.d.
  25. “Leadership.” Leadership | Stanford Basic Income Lab. Stanford University
  26. “Send Money to the Extreme Poor.” GiveDirectly, n.d.
  27. “Leap Forward.” Leap Forward | Haas Institute. University of California Berkeley, n.d.
  28. Altman, Sam. “YC Research.” Y Combinator, February 13, 2017.
  29. “About the Universal Income Project.” Universal Income Project, n.d.
  30. “Poverty Solutions.” Poverty Solutions. The University of Michigan, n.d.
  31. “Street Art Anarchy.” STREET ART ANARCHY, n.d.
  32. “Institute of Social and Economic Research.” Institute of Social and Economic Research | University of Alaska Anchorage. University of Alaska Anchorage, n.d.
  33. “Home.” Insight. Insight Center for Community Economic Development, n.d.
  34. “Institute For The Future.” IFTF. Institute for the Future, n.d.
  35. McGonigal, Jane. “You Found Me.” you found me. Jane McGonigal, n.d.
  36. “About OpenDemocracy.” openDemocracy, n.d.
  37. “Sarah Cowan.” Sarah K Cowan, n.d.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Felicia Wong
    Steering Committee
  2. Alicia Garza
    Founding Signatory
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Economic Security Project

1201 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC