Non-profit

Election Integrity Fund

Website:

electionintegrityfund.org

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Project of:

New Venture Fund

Location:

Unknown

Formation:

2020

Type:

Democracy and elections integrity organization

Director:

Mike Berkowitz

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Not to be confused with the Michigan-based Election Integrity Fund, a right-leaning election reform group

The Election Integrity Fund is an organization formed in 2020 for the purpose of collecting “last minute” donations from high-dollar donors concerned about the integrity of the 2020 election. The organization’s exact structure is unclear, though the organization’s funds are reportedly held at the ideologically left-of-center Amalgamated Bank, day-to-day operations are reportedly managed by the Democracy Funders Network, and overhead is covered by the Why Not Initiative of left-of-center grantmaker the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund. 1 2

The Election Integrity Fund was registered as a trade name by the New Venture Fund in October of 2020, a left-of-center funding and fiscal sponsorship organization that is part of the network of left-of-center “dark money” organizations managed by the consulting firm Arabella Advisors. It is not clear what role, if any, the New Venture Fund and Arabella Advisors have in the Election Integrity Fund. 3

Founding and History

The Election integrity Fund was launched in the fall of 2020 by the Democracy Funders Network in order to rapidly fund election integrity organizations and to provide a way for high-dollar funders to fund organizations, despite the lack of time for adequate vetting, given how soon the then-upcoming election was. 4 5 It is not clear if the organization has continued to function following the inauguration of President Joe Biden in January 2021.

Finances

The Election Integrity Fund is reportedly a charitable nonprofit. 6 However, its application for tax exempt status and any financial filings are not currently publicly available. When the fund was launched, the stated goal was to raise $20 million, of which $15 million would be allocated to a variety of voting integrity organizations around the U.S. The remaining $5 million would be held in reserve for use as needed. The fund had a minimum donation requirement of $25,000. 7 The amount of funding the project received is not clear, but Alan Davis, the president of the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund, pledged he would donate $500,000 for every $5 million raised by October 31, 2020. 8

The Election Integrity Fund was registered as a trade name by the New Venture Fund in October of 2020, a left-of-center funding and fiscal sponsorship organization that is part of the network of left-of-center “dark money” organizations managed by the consulting firm Arabella Advisors. It is not clear what role, if any, the New Venture Fund and Arabella Advisors have in the Election Integrity Fund. 9

Issue Areas

The Election Integrity Fund identified four separate time periods of concern. These were between the fund’s launch and election day, between election day and December 14th when the presidential electors would cast their votes, between December 14 and January 6 when Congress would count the electoral votes and declare a winner, and between January 6 and Inauguration Day on January 20. 10

During those time periods, the fund was concerned with supporting various organizations that would advance the group’s priorities. These priorities included the provision of voting information, voting-related legal actions, preparing the public for the counting of absentee ballots to take a long time, preventing election-related violence, promoting the voices and work of people the fund considered to be bipartisan messengers, and aiding elected officials in carrying out their election-related duties. 11

Partners

Organizational Partners

The Election integrity Fund was run by the Democracy Funder’s Network, an organization that works to advise donors on making contributions to democracy-focused organizations. The executive director of the Democracy Funders Network is Mike Berkowitz, who is also the director of the Election Integrity Fund. Berkowitz is also the cofounder of Third Plateau, a firm that manages foundations and provides philanthropic advising to donors. Those wishing to contribute to the Democracy Funder’s Network were instructed to email Berkowitz at his Third Plateau email address. 12 13 The fund was supported and promoted by Alan Davis, the president of the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund through the fund’s project, the Crisis Charitable Commitment. 14 15

Funding Partners

The fund stated that it planned to support a variety of organizations working on aspects of electoral integrity and reform. 16

These organizations included organizations focused on journalists, such as Election SOS; left-of-center electoral policy organizations, such as Issue One, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, and Represent.Us; and organizations that promoted left-of-center voting and poll watching, such as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Frontline Election Defenders, the Voter Engagement Fund, and the Voting Rights Lab. 17

Leadership

Mike Berkowitz is the director of the Election Integrity Fund. He has had a long career in the non-profit and funding world. He is the cofounder of Third Plateau, a firm that manages foundations and provides philanthropic advising to donors, and is the executive director of the Democracy Funders Network, an organization that assists donors interested in funding organizations that are focused on the health of American democracy. 18 19 20

Keesha Gaskins-Nathan is an advisor to the Election Integrity Fund and has worked in left-progressive political organizing, lobbying, and as a trial attorney. She currently works at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as the director of the Democratic Practice—United States program and the Racial Justice Initiative. 21 22

Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld is an advisor to the Election Integrity Fund and a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where her work is focused on democratic development. She was previously the founding CEO of the Truman National Security Project. 23 24

Trevor Potter is an advisor to the Election Integrity Fund. He has previously worked as the chairman of the Federal Election Commission and was the general counsel to the 2000 and 2008 McCain presidential campaigns. He is currently the founder and president of the Campaign Legal Center, which is focused on legal issues concerning American democracy such as gerrymandering and voting rights and access. 25 26

Michael Steele is an advisor to the Election Integrity Fund. He is the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, and was the chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2009 to 2011. He is currently chair of the board of the U.S. Vote Foundation, which is provides voter information and services. 27 28

References

  1. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  2. OpenGov.US. “The Whynot Initiative · The Leonard & Sophie Davis Fund Inc.” Accessed October 31, 2021. https://opengovus.com/san-francisco-business/1041914-10-151.
  3. Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. “Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: New Venture Fund.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://corponline.dcra.dc.gov/BizEntity.aspx/ViewEntityData?entityId=2689437.
  4. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  5. Daniels, Alex. “More Than 110 Philanthropists and Foundation Leaders Call for Secure Elections and a Peaceful Response to the Results.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 19, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/more-than-110-philanthropists-and-foundation-leaders-call-for-secure-elections-and-a-peaceful-response-to-the-results.
  6. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  7. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  8. Daniels, Alex. “More Than 110 Philanthropists and Foundation Leaders Call for Secure Elections and a Peaceful Response to the Results.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 19, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/more-than-110-philanthropists-and-foundation-leaders-call-for-secure-elections-and-a-peaceful-response-to-the-results.
  9. Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. “Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: New Venture Fund.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://corponline.dcra.dc.gov/BizEntity.aspx/ViewEntityData?entityId=2689437.
  10. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  11. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  12. ThirdPlateau.com. “Mike Berkowitz.” Accessed October 31, 2021. https://www.thirdplateau.com/team-member/mike-berkowitz/.
  13. ThirdPlateau.com. “Our Work and Services.” Accessed October 31, 2021. https://www.thirdplateau.com/work-with-us/.
  14. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  15. Daniels, Alex. “More Than 110 Philanthropists and Foundation Leaders Call for Secure Elections and a Peaceful Response to the Results.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 19, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/more-than-110-philanthropists-and-foundation-leaders-call-for-secure-elections-and-a-peaceful-response-to-the-results.
  16. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  17.  The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  18. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  19. ThirdPlateau.com. “Our Work and Services.” Accessed October 31, 2021. https://www.thirdplateau.com/work-with-us/.
  20. Daniels, Alex. “More Than 110 Philanthropists and Foundation Leaders Call for Secure Elections and a Peaceful Response to the Results.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 19, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/more-than-110-philanthropists-and-foundation-leaders-call-for-secure-elections-and-a-peaceful-response-to-the-results.
  21. Rockefeller Brothers Fund. “Keesha Gaskins-Nathan.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.rbf.org/people/keesha-gaskins-nathan.
  22. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  23. Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld. “About: Rachel Kleinfeld.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://rachelkleinfeld.com/about/.
  24. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  25. Campaign Legal Center. “Trevor Potter.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://campaignlegal.org/staff/trevor-potter.
  26. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
  27. USVoteFoundation.org. “U.S. Vote Foundation Board.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.usvotefoundation.org/who-we-are-board#Michael_Steele.
  28. The Crisis Charitable Commitment. “The Election Integrity Fund,” October 9, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2021. https://charitablecommitment.org/election-integrity-fund/.
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