Non-profit

Fairness Project

Website:

www.thefairnessproject.org/

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

37-1779557

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $7,709,838
Expenses: $6,220,214
Assets: $1,990,310

Executive Director:

Jonathan Schleifer

Formation:

2016

Type:

Nonprofit

Executive Director's Salary:

$151,560

The Fairness Project (TFP) is a labor union-backed advocacy organization that finances and supports state ballot initiative campaigns in order to promote left-of-center policies such as government-mandated comprehensive paid family and medical leave, Medicaid expansion, and minimum wage increases. [1]

SEIU United Healthcare Workers West (Local 2005) established the Fairness Project in 2015 with a $5 million grant. [2] TFP finances and supports state ballot initiatives through strategic advice and campaign tactics, and uses a significant amount of its resources to collect required signatures. [3]

The Fairness Project is also funded by a number of undisclosed donors, leading the group to have significant out-of-state influence on local elections. As a result, states like Arizona are responding with measures to regulate various activities related to ballot initiatives. [4]

History

TFP was formed in 2015 with a $5 million grant from SEIU United Healthcare Workers West (Local 2005), a California labor union that continues to fund the organization. [5] TFP uses this money, along with money from undisclosed donors, to fund state ballot initiatives that support its agenda. [6] TFP uses its resources to collect signatures to meet ballot initiative requirements, after which it supports the initiative with strategic advice and campaign tactics. [7]

The Fairness Project’s large out-of-state influence on local elections has caused states like Arizona to respond with measures that would regulate various activities related to ballot initiatives. [8]

Campaigns

Minimum Wage Increases

In 2016, the Fairness Project began focusing its effort on ballot initiatives to increase the minimum wage in Maine, California, and Washington, D.C. [9] Between 2015 and 2017, TFP funded left-progressive groups Maine People’s Alliance, Mainers for Fair Wages, Lift Up California, and the Raise the Wage Committee with nearly $1.4 million. [10]

The organization increased its efforts to support similar initiatives in other states including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Washington. [11]

Medicaid Expansion

In 2017, the Fairness Project expanded its scope to include ballot initiatives that would expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) in Maine. [12] TFP contributed $728,000 to the efforts of Mainers for Health Care, which went directly to ads, polling, and campaign workers. The Fairness Project has continued to fund Medicaid expansion efforts in other states like Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska. TFP has given more than $2.5 million to Utah Decides Healthcare and more than $1 million to the Insure the Good Life campaign in Nebraska. [13]

In 2020, the Fairness Project has initiated support for Medicaid expansion campaigns in Missouri and Oklahoma. [14]

People

Barbara Davis is the director of development, and previously worked for a variety of left-progressive advocacy groups, including the Astraea Foundation for Justice, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, the Peace Center, and the Human Rights Campaign, among others. Davis is the founder of the Orange County Equality Coalition. [15]

Charles Girard is a senior digital organizer at TFP, and has served in a similar capacity for both the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Human Rights Campaign. [16]

Chris Coil serves as the communications director. Coil is the former communications director of the Georgetown Climate Center and the former assistant director of communications of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). [17]

Christine Nguyen is a policy and research manager. Nguyen is the former policy coordinator at the United States of Care, and has formerly worked for organizations that include the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the National Partnership for Women and Families[18]

Hannah Ledford is the campaigns director for TFP and formerly served as a State Director for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. [19]

Jonathan Schleifer is the executive director of TFP. Schleifer is the former chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the former executive director of Educators 4 Excellence New York. Schleifer serves as faculty for the New Leaders Council and as a political partner with the left-leaning foreign policy group Truman National Security Project. [20] He further serves as the Treasurer and Secretary of the board of The Fairness Project.

Kelly Hall is the director of health policy and partnerships. Hall served in the Obama administration assisting in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act [21] and also served as a senior advisor for both the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. [22]

Nicole Butler is the operations manager, and formerly worked for organizations like 270 Strategies, Earth Conservation Corps, Witness for Peace, and the U.S. Department of State. [23]

Ryan Johnson is the former executive director. [24]

Board President Steve Trossman is the Director of Public Affairs for SEIU United Healthcare Workers West (Local 2005). [25]

Board member Joe Lawrence is the former Assistant City Attorney for Santa Monica, California. [26]

References

  1. “Our Work.” The Fairness Project, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/work/. ^
  2. Hellman, Jessie. “Meet the group funding the fight to expand Medicaid in red states.” The Hill, August 2, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/400003-meet-the-group-funding-the-fight-to-expand-medicaid-in-red-states. ^
  3. “Our Work.” The Fairness Project, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/work/. ^
  4. Fischer, Howard. “GOP lawmakers advance measures to rein in citizens’ ballot-initiative rights.” Arizona Daily Star, February 9, 2017. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://tucson.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/gop-lawmakers-advance-measures-to-rein-in-citizens-ballot-initiative/article_e3c4b5f7-544c-5703-9038-c0a1f3b75c23.html. ^
  5. Hellman, Jessie. “Meet the group funding the fight to expand Medicaid in red states.” The Hill, August 2, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/400003-meet-the-group-funding-the-fight-to-expand-medicaid-in-red-states. ^
  6. DePillis, Lydia. “The big 2016 minimum wage push just got a powerful new ally.” The Washington Post, October 21, 2015. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/21/the-big-2016-minimum-wage-push-just-got-a-potentially-powerful-new-ally/. ^
  7. “Our Work.” The Fairness Project, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/work/. ^
  8. Fischer, Howard. “GOP lawmakers advance measures to rein in citizens’ ballot-initiative rights.” Arizona Daily Star, February 9, 2017. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://tucson.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/gop-lawmakers-advance-measures-to-rein-in-citizens-ballot-initiative/article_e3c4b5f7-544c-5703-9038-c0a1f3b75c23.html. ^
  9. “Past Campaigns.” The Fairness Project, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/campaigns/past/. ^
  10. The Fairness Project, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2015-2017, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  11. “Past Campaigns.” The Fairness Project, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/campaigns/past/. ^
  12. “Past Campaigns.” The Fairness Project, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/campaigns/past/. ^
  13. Hellman, Jessie. “Meet the group funding the fight to expand Medicaid in red states.” The Hill, August 2, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/400003-meet-the-group-funding-the-fight-to-expand-medicaid-in-red-states. ^
  14. “2020 Campaigns.” The Fairness Project, 2020. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/campaigns/. ^
  15. “Barbara Davis.” The Fairness Project, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/staff/barbara-davis/. ^
  16. “Charles Girard.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlescgirard/. ^
  17. “Chris Coil.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/chriscoil/. ^
  18. “Christine Nguyen.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/christinengu/. ^
  19. “Hannah Ledford.” The Fairness Project, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/staff/hannah-ledford/. ^
  20. “Jonathan Schleifer.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanschleifer/. ^
  21. “Kelly Hall.” The Fairness Project, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.thefairnessproject.org/staff/kelly-hall-2/. ^
  22. “Kelly Hall.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-hall-60901883/. ^
  23. “Nicole Butler.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-butler93/. ^
  24. “Ryan Johnson.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-johnson-31472416/. ^
  25. “Steve Trossman.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed May 18, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevetrossman/. ^
  26. Whitaker, Barbara. “’Living Wage’ Ordinance Both Delights And Divides.” The New York Times, May 29, 2001. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/29/us/living-wage-ordinance-both-delights-and-divides.html. ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. Democracy Alliance Conferences
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 2016

  • 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 $7,709,838 $6,220,214 $1,990,310 $406,143 N $7,709,838 $0 $0 $158,330 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,890,759 $3,773,004 $218,824 $124,281 N $2,890,759 $0 $0 $122,343 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,152,091 $1,086,987 $1,065,104 $0 N $2,152,091 $0 $0 $64,010 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Fairness Project

    1342 FLORIDA AVE NW
    WASHINGTON, DC 20009-4808