Non-profit

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund

Everytown for Gun Safety logo (link)
Website:

everytown.org

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

20-8802884

DUNS Number:

08-053-8081

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $39,456,796
Expenses: $41,570,147
Assets: $5,317,574

Type:

Gun Control Advocacy Group

Everytown for Gun Safety (better known by its short name, Everytown) is a New York-based lobbying group that advocates for gun control measures while opposing laws expanding firearms carry privileges.

Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and founder and owner of global financial services and media company Bloomberg LP, is the founder and the primary funder of Everytown. Bloomberg founded the anti-gun group in April 2014 as a rival to the influence of the pro-Second Amendment National Rifle Association.[1] Everytown’s 2015 tax return shows the group reporting total revenue of about $39.5 million.[2] Bloomberg had initially pledged about $50 million to fund anti-gun campaigns through the lobbying group during the 2014 election cycle.[3]

The group maintains an active presence on social media with Twitter and Facebook accounts where it advertises and promotes gun control campaigns. Everytown’s website includes a section that enables activist to locate events that are closest to their neighborhoods. The group has donated tens of thousands, and in some instances, hundreds of thousands of dollars to state-level organizations that support gun control.

Everytown has a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.

History and Background

Everytown for Gun Safety grew from two different Bloomberg-backed gun control organizations. The predecessor organizations were Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which Bloomberg and former Boston Mayor Tom Menino (D) founded to lobby for major-city style strict gun control, and Moms Demand Action for Sense in America, a purportedly grassroots organization founded after a school shooting in Connecticut in 2012.[4]

Political Activism

Mass Shootings

Everytown for Gun Safety has been called out across the political spectrum for playing fast and loose with facts and figures. The Washington Post,[5] Washington Times,[6] New York Times[7] and the Washington Examiner have published articles criticizing the group for circulating a misleading claim about the number of school shootings in 2018.[8]

Despite wide criticism, Everytown stands by its activist definition of a school shooting, which it says takes place “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds.” Even the liberal Washington Post fact-checking staff concluded this definition is fundamentally misleading.[9]

Despite the controversy over its use of figures, Everytown for Gun Safety seized upon the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018 as an angle into political activism. The group launched a “five-action plan” after the Florida shooting in anticipation of the 2018 midterm elections.

As reported in Politico, those five action items are: “Pledge to vote on gun safety, research how much money local officials have accepted from the National Rifle Association, register friends to vote, force candidates to go on the record about gun policy through a provided candidate questionnaire, and urge people who are involved to run for office themselves.”[10]

2018 March for Our Lives

Also see March for Our Lives Action Fund (Nonprofit)

In the wake of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Everytown has been criticized for using high school students to promote gun control activism under the guise of spontaneous student demonstrations. One of these students, David Hogg, tweeted on March 10 for gun control supporters to utilize a call script produced by Everytown for Gun Safety to pressure Congressional lawmakers into passing stricter gun control laws:

Get in direct contact with your representatives with the number 1844872023. Spread the message, call them during your walkouts or everyday for that matter! If you can’t speak as well as you would like, here’s a script to help. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD[11]

The shooting also prompted the rapid creation of March for Our Lives and March for Our Lives Action Fund (its associated 501(c)(4) advocacy arm) in March 2018, which organized a rally in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with Everytown. Filings obtained by the Huffington Post revealed the group’s initial board of directors, most of whom have political backgrounds—”public servants, legal experts and professionals based outside of Florida” (the location of the high school).[12]

Listed as directors are Aileen Adams, a former deputy mayor for Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; George Kieffer, chair of the University of California system board of regents; Melissa Scholz, a nonprofit lawyer who was involved with a redistricting group called Play Fair Wisconsin (itself a project of the left-leaning High Ground Institute); Nina Vinik, program director for the Joyce Foundation (whose board formerly included Barack Obama) and former legal director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; board secretary Vernetta Walker, a lawyer and Planned Parenthood board member formerly employed by the National Council of La Raza and Alliance for Justice; and board president Deena Katz, executive director of the Los Angeles Women’s March Foundation.[13]

The Huffington Post criticized the group for its lack of transparency and grassroots veneer, when structurally the March for Our Lives bears the hallmarks of professional activists. In particular, HuffPo pointed to March for Our Lives’ Delaware incorporation filings (the group is supposed to be Florida-based), the rapid creation of both March for Our Lives nonprofits, and “millions of dollars in donations” to the nonprofits. HuffPo wrote:

It’s perfectly normal for adults to be involved when millions of dollars are at stake. But other than the document HuffPost discovered, a nonprofit registration filed in Florida and posted on the Florida Department of State’s website, there is little publicly available information about the March for Our Lives Action Fund or who’s running it.[14]

Lobbying Activity

Political Candidates and Independent Expenditures

Everytown is known as a regular supporter of pro-gun control candidates for public office, most of whom are Democrats.

Everytown has stated its intent to spend over $25 million in the 2018 midterm elections “to prevent national concealed carry from becoming law,” according to the Daily Caller.[15]

In the 2016 election, Everytown spent $181,649 on independent expenditures, the vast majority of which ($162,484) was spent opposing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, as well as incumbent U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H., who lost) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin, who won). The remaining $19,165 was spent supporting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.[16] A top recipient of Everytown’s independent expenditure spending was Patriot Majority, a Democratic Party-aligned Super PAC which received $140,000 in 2016.[17]

In the 2014 midterm election, Everytown spent $386,922 in independent expenditures and associated expenses. Of that sum, Everytown spent $195,769 supporting Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, including U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-California), Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota), and Rep. Kelly Robin (D-Illinois).[18] While the bulk of the remaining funds was spent opposing Republican candidates, Everytown spent $54,247 supporting three Republicans—Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rep. Carl Domino (R-Florida), and Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania)—who have supported gun control legislation in the past. [19]

Funding

Everytown is largely funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an advocate for gun control. [20]

Everytown’s lobbying expenditures on behalf of gun control totaled about $1.3 million for 2017.[21] These figures show all the funds spent against Republicans and for Democrats.

The New York Times reports that Everytown’s hiring surged while its spending “exploded” in a little more than two years after it was founded.[22] During that time, Everytown expanded from having just 12 employees to 130. The group spent $37 million in 2014, according to tax records, which “included $4.6 million on political campaign activities, $3.5 million on advertising and promotion, $2 million on travel, $1.7 million on lobbying, and $580,000 on polling.”[23]

Grantees and Partnerships

Everytown has partnered with a number of state-level organizations, many of which are ballot initiative committees that push Bloomberg-funded gun control measures. They include Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership, Nevadans for Background Checks, Colorado Moms Demand Action, Oregon Democracy Fund, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility.[24]

Everytown for Gun Safety has offered substantial financial support to like-minded organizations since its founding. In 2015 Everytown donated $25,000 to American State Legislators for the Gun Violence Protection Act, $10,000 to Ceasefire Pennsylvania, $10,000 to the Democratic-aligned advocacy group Center for American Progress Action Fund, $40,000 to the National Center to End Domestic Violence, $25,000 to Our Oregon, $535,000 to Nevadans for Background Checks, $755,000 to Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership Fund, and $375,000 to Oregon Democracy Fund. [25]

Financial Documents

Everytown’s Form 990 IRS filings for 2016 and 2017 are available here:

Support Fund

Also see Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (nonprofit)

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.

Data from the website Foundation Search reveals $6.69 million in 37 grants to the 501(c)(3) Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund from the Schwab Charitable Fund, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, George Lucas Family Foundation, and others.[26]

Leadership

According to the group’s federal form 990 filing for 2016, Everytown for Gun Safety’s board of directors includes board chair Richard Descherer, chief legal and compliance officer of Bloomberg L.P.; board secretary and treasurer Diane Gubelli, a partner at the law firm Geller & Company; Jason Post; Michael Best; and board president John Feinblatt.[27][28]

Everytown president John Feinblatt was an aide to Michael Bloomberg during his New York mayoralty. A graduate of Catholic University Law School, Feinblatt was instrumental in founding an experimental court for nonviolent offenders known as the Midtown Community Court in New York.[29]  The Wall Street Journal ran profile piece on Feinblatt in January 2015 describing him as Bloomberg’s “Data Guy.”[30]

Megan Lewis previously served as Everytown’s vice president. She was reportedly fired by Feinblatt after the 2016 election.

Everytown’s advisory board includes liberal businessman Warren Buffett and Shannon Watts, the founder of Everytown spinoff Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.[31] [32] Other advisory board members include political figures, gun control activists, and business leaders. Some of the more prominent advisors joining with Buffett are:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin Mayor Tom Barrett (D)

Former U.S. Senator David Boren (D-Oklahoma)

Stephen Barton, a survivor of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado

Irwin Jacobs, a former chairman of Qualcomm

Liberal donor and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer

Marc Morial, former president of the National Urban League

2017 Leadership Dispute

Also see Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense (Other Group)

In May 2017, the Daily Caller reported “multiple staff departures” from Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. Among those who left were Everytown managing director Debra Rosen, deputy organizing director Isaac Bloom, vice president Megan Lewis, and others.[33] An unnamed source told the Daily Caller that the resignations were at least partly due to Shannon Watts’ managing style:

Another source close to the organization said in a written statement, “Two beliefs unite nearly all gun control supporters: background checks save lives, and Shannon Watts is a self-promoting tyrant.”

Everytown disputed the claims about Watts.[34]

References

  1. Blake, Aaron. “Bloomberg launches new $50 million gun control effort.” The Washington Post. April 16, 2014. Accessed February 19, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2014/04/16/bloomberg-aims-to-spend-50-million-on-gun-control/?utm_term=.32c88356e287. ^
  2. 2015 990 Tax Form: Part 1 Summary. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/208802884 ^
  3. Blake, Aaron. “Bloomberg launches new $50 million gun control effort.” The Washington Post. April 16, 2014. Accessed February 19, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2014/04/16/bloomberg-aims-to-spend-50-million-on-gun-control/?utm_term=.32c88356e287. ^
  4. Blake, Aaron. “Bloomberg launches new $50 million gun control effort.” The Washington Post. April 16, 2014. Accessed February 19, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2014/04/16/bloomberg-aims-to-spend-50-million-on-gun-control/?utm_term=.32c88356e287 ^
  5. Qiu, Linda, and Justin Bank. “Fact-Checking Claims About Gun Violence and Mental Illness.” The New York Times. February 16, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/politics/fact-check-parkland-gun-violence-mental-illness.html. ^
  6. Richardson, Valerie. “Bloomberg-backed gun-control group slammed for inflating school-shooting numbers.” The Washington Times. February 17, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2018. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/17/bloomberg-backed-gun-control-group-slammed-inflati/. ^
  7. Cox, John Woodrow, and Steven Rich. “Analysis | No, there havent been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong.” The Washington Post. February 15, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/no-there-havent-been-18-school-shooting-in-2018-that-number-is-flat-wrong/2018/02/15/65b6cf72-1264-11e8-8ea1-c1d91fcec3fe_story.html?utm_term=.fbc69c3760f5. ^
  8. Hashmi, Siraj. “No, there have not been 18 school shootings so far in 2018.” Washington Examiner. February 15, 2018. Accessed February 27, 2018. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/no-there-have-not-been-18-school-shootings-so-far-in-2018/article/2649183. ^
  9. Cox, John Woodrow, and Steven Rich. “Analysis | No, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong.” The Washington Post. February 15, 2018. Accessed February 20, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/no-there-havent-been-18-school-shooting-in-2018-that-number-is-flat-wrong/2018/02/15/65b6cf72-1264-11e8-8ea1-c1d91fcec3fe_story.html?utm_term=.e574e19a49fe ^
  10. DOVERE, EDWARD-ISAAC, Renato Mariotti, Bill Scher, and Susan B. Glasser. “Everytown launches post-Florida action plan.” POLITICO. February 16, 2018. Accessed February 20, 2018. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/16/everytown-launches-post-florida-action-plan-415655. ^
  11. David Hogg Twitter Post. Twitter. March 10, 2018. Accessed May 21, 2018. https://twitter.com/davidhogg111/status/972666986319753216 ^
  12. Liebelson, Dana, and Nick Wing. “Behind Millions Of Dollars Raised By Parkland Students, An Adult Board Of Directors.” The Huffington Post. March 19, 2018. Accessed May 21, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/march-for-our-lives-action-fund_us_5ab02dbbe4b0697dfe19a488. ^
  13. Ludwig, Hayden. “Who’s Paying (to) “March for Our Lives?”” Capital Research Center. March 28, 2018. Accessed May 21, 2018. https://capitalresearch.org/article/whos-paying-to-march-for-our-lives/. ^
  14. Liebelson, Dana, and Nick Wing. “Behind Millions Of Dollars Raised By Parkland Students, An Adult Board Of Directors.” The Huffington Post. March 19, 2018. Accessed May 21, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/march-for-our-lives-action-fund_us_5ab02dbbe4b0697dfe19a488. ^
  15. Picket, Kerry. “Major Gun Control Group Is Riven By Leadership Dispute.” The Daily Caller. May 12, 2017. Accessed March 14, 2018. http://dailycaller.com/2017/05/11/major-gun-control-group-is-riven-by-leadership-dispute/. ^
  16. “The Center for Responsive Politics.” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed February 28, 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000067401&cycle=2016. ^
  17. “The Center for Responsive Politics.” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed February 28, 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000067401&cycle=2016 ^
  18. “The Center for Responsive Politics.” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed February 28, 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000067401&cycle=2016. ^
  19. “The Center for Responsive Politics.” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed February 28, 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000067401&cycle=2016. ^
  20. Blake, Aaron. “Bloomberg launches new $50 million gun control effort.” The Washington Post. April 16, 2014. Accessed February 19, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2014/04/16/bloomberg-aims-to-spend-50-million-on-gun-control/?utm_term=.32c88356e287. ^
  21. “The Center for Responsive Politics.” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed February 28, 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000067401&cycle=2016. ^
  22. Ho, Catherine. “Inside the Bloomberg-backed gun-control group’s effort to defeat the NRA.” The Washington Post. June 20, 2016. Accessed February 28, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/06/20/everytowns-survivors-network-stands-on-the-front-lines-of-the-gun-control-battle/?utm_term=.ae2a95b1b4b1. ^
  23. Ho, Catherine. “Inside the Bloomberg-backed gun-control group’s effort to defeat the NRA.” The Washington Post. June 20, 2016. Accessed February 28, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/06/20/everytowns-survivors-network-stands-on-the-front-lines-of-the-gun-control-battle/?utm_term=.ae2a95b1b4b1. ^
  24. 2015 990 Tax Form: Part 1 Summary. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/208802884 ^
  25. 2015 990 Tax Form: Part 1 Summary. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/208802884 ^
  26. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted March 14, 2018. ^
  27. 2016 990 Tax Form: Part 7 Compensation of Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, Highest Compensated Employees, and Independent Contractors. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/208802884 ^
  28. Batts, Woody. “Diane Gubelli, Partner.” Go to Geller & Company. Accessed March 14, 2018. https://www.gellerco.com/management/diane-gubelli-partner/. ^
  29. Howe, Marvine. “Taking Justice to the Scene in Midtown.” The New York Times. July 20, 1992. Accessed February 28, 2018. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/21/nyregion/taking-justice-to-the-scene-in-midtown.html. ^
  30. Gay, Mara. “Bloomberg’s ‘Data Guy’ Leads His Gun-Control Campaign.” The Wall Street Journal. January 09, 2015. Accessed February 28, 2018. https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-new-york-city-mayor-michael-bloombergs-data-guy-leads-his-gun-control-campaign-1420854150. ^
  31. “Everytown for Gun Safety.” Everytown for Gun Safety. Accessed February 20, 2018. https://everytown.org/ ^
  32. “New Gun Violence Prevention Group “Everytown for Gun Safety” Unites Mayors, Moms and Millions of Americans on New Paths to Victory: State Capitols, Corporate Responsibility, Voter Activation.” Everytown for Gun Safety. April 16, 2014. Accessed March 14, 2018. https://everytown.org/press/new-gun-violence-prevention-group-everytown-for-gun-safety-unites-mayors-moms-and-millions-of-americans-on-new-paths-to-victory-state-capitols-corporate-responsibility-voter-activation/. ^
  33. Picket, Kerry. “Major Gun Control Group Is Riven By Leadership Dispute.” The Daily Caller. May 12, 2017. Accessed March 14, 2018. http://dailycaller.com/2017/05/11/major-gun-control-group-is-riven-by-leadership-dispute/. ^
  34. Picket, Kerry. “Major Gun Control Group Is Riven By Leadership Dispute.” The Daily Caller. May 12, 2017. Accessed March 14, 2018. http://dailycaller.com/2017/05/11/major-gun-control-group-is-riven-by-leadership-dispute/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Shannon Watts
    Advisory Board Member
  2. Amanda Harrington
    Former Deputy Communications Director (2014)
  3. Arkadi Gerney
    Former Manager
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 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
    2015 Dec Form 990 $39,456,796 $41,570,147 $5,317,574 $1,858,641 N $39,330,989 $122,491 $3,316 $230,400 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $40,773,276 $37,392,933 $6,722,374 $1,154,507 N $40,770,296 $1,522 $1,458 $536,163 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $36,030,037 $36,512,270 $2,901,999 $971,211 N $36,028,857 $0 $1,180 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $4,861,600 $4,700,502 $3,082,771 $658,198 N $4,859,999 $0 $1,601 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $3,476,643 $2,834,151 $2,379,327 $115,852 N $3,473,758 $0 $2,885 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund

    PO BOX 4184
    NEW YORK, NY 10163-4184