Non-profit

Free Press Action Fund

Website:

www.freepress.net

Location:

FLORENCE, MA

Tax ID:

04-3771598

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $884,719
Expenses: $653,212
Assets: $677,446

Formation:

2003

Founders:

Robert McChesney

Josh Silver

President:

Craig Aaron

Free Press Action Fund was founded in 2003 as the campaign and lobbying arm of the left-of-center media advocacy organization Free Press.[1] Its main policy goals are to restore the internet regulatory policy net neutrality, protect online privacy, and break up media corporations.[2]

Activitism

Free Press Action Fund, which is associated with Free Press[3] and principally operated by the same staff,[4]  organizes rallies, protests, activist training, and town-hall meetings[5] while also coordinating petition drives, calling campaigns to lawmakers, and other events to influence public debate.[6] It claims to have organized over 1.4 million activists.[7]

Net Neutrality

Free Press and Free Press Action Fund have operated most actively in the debate over net neutrality, a regulatory policy governing how bandwidth is allocated that some have argued will “turn the internet into a public utility.”[8] Free Press Action Fund has made restoring net neutrality—first instituted under the Obama administration[9] but later repealed under the Trump administration in 2018[10]—its top priority.[11]

To this end, Free Press Action Fund participated in a campaign to lobby the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against repealing net neutrality in 2017.[12] It helped generate comments to the FCC with other left-of-center groups like the ACLU, the Center for Media Justice, CREDO Action, Color of Change, Common Cause, Demand Progress, Popular Resistance, Daily Kos, Fight for the Future, and the Nation to protest outside of the FCC’s headquarters.[13]

After net neutrality was repealed, Free Press Action Fund coordinated more protests with Demand Progress and Fight for the Future outside of Senate offices to advocate for a reinstatement of the federal regulatory regime[14] while also hosting a petition drive urging Congress to reinstate the Obama-era regulations.[15]

Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media Merger

Free Press Action Fund claimed that in 2018 one of its greatest achievements was stopping the merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media.[16] Free Press Action Fund had been attacking the right-of-center Sinclair Broadcast Group as purveyors of ”propaganda” since 2004,[17] organizing protests at the FCC[18] and at the headquarters of Sinclair Broadcast Group[19] as well filing petitions and legal challenges against the merger.[20]

T-Mobile and Sprint Merger

Free Press Action Fund used similar tactics to fight the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, lobbying the FCC to block the deal[21] and labelling the joining of the two companies as an action that would ”cut the cord for people of color.”[22] Adult activists of Free Press Action Fund went so far as to hold small protests dressed as pirates, witches, scarecrows and in other costumes in front of T-Mobile and Sprint storefronts across the country.[23]

Anti-Free Speech Activism

In 2018, Free Press Action Fund led in the creation of an organization called ”Change the Terms,”[24] which seeks to attack free speech activities online. Free Press Action Fund seeks to target what it defines as ”hate speech” and ”extremism” online together with left-of-center activist groups Center for American Progress, Color of Change, and the Southern Poverty Law Center[25]—a controversial organization with a long-history of labelling conventional right-of-center groups, particularly social-conservative groups such as the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom, as ”hate groups” and equating them to violent extremists.[26]

Change the Terms has advocated for changes in corporate policies and online terms of service to reduce alleged “hateful behavior” online.[27]

Leadership

Craig Aaron is the president and CEO of both Free Press and Free Press Action Fund.[28] Previously, Aaron was a writer and editor at the left-wing publications Congress Watch and In These Times.[29]

Funding

Free Press Action Fund receives funding from the same organizations who donate to its sister organization Free Press.  Free Press reportedly receives anywhere between $170,000[30] and nearly $600,000[31] of its annual revenue from membership fees.

In 2017, Free Press Action Fund reported that it received $372,054 in donations;[32] in 2016, $$712,700;[33] and in 2015, $255,264.[34] In 2017 it reported that it spent $1,001,117 on lobbying, advocacy, and other activities;[35] in 2016, $526,972;[36] and in 2015, $416,326.[37]

References

  1. ”Free Press (FP).” Discover the Networks. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/free-press-fp/.
  2. Forester, Brandon. “Celebrating Wins and Planning for the Fights Ahead.” Free Press. November 16, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/celebrating-wins-and-planning-fights-ahead.
  3. ”Free Press (FP).” Discover the Networks. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/free-press-fp/.
  4. “Staff.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/about/staff.
  5. ”Advocacy & Organization.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing.
  6. ”Get Involved.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/get-involved.
  7. ”Free Press.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/.
  8. “Policy Brief – ‘Net Neutrality’: Government Regulation and Takeover of the Internet.” Americans for Tax Reform. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://thehill.com/sites/default/files/atr_netneutralitygovregulation.pdf
  9. “Net Neutrality: A Free and Open Internet.” Obama White House. Accessed January 16, 2019. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/net-neutrality.
  10. Fung, Brian. “The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Are Officially Repealed Today. Here’s What That Really Means.” The Washington Post. June 11, 2018. Accessed January 16, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/06/11/the-fccs-net-neutrality-rules-are-officially-repealed-today-heres-what-that-really-means/.
  11. Forester, Brandon. “Celebrating Wins and Planning for the Fights Ahead.” Free Press. November 16, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/celebrating-wins-and-planning-fights-ahead.
  12. Kroin, Amy. “Net Neutrality Activists Rally Against Trump FCC.” Free Press. May 18, 2017. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/net-neutrality-activists-rally-against-trump-fcc.
  13. Kroin, Amy. “Net Neutrality Activists Rally Against Trump FCC.” Free Press. May 18, 2017. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/net-neutrality-activists-rally-against-trump-fcc.
  14. Brzencheck, Alison. “Protestors Urge Senate to Save Net Neutrality in Wednesday Vote.” Free Press. May 15, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/protesters-urge-senate-save-net-neutrality-wednesday.
  15. ”Winning Isn’t Enough. It’s Time for Action.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://act.freepress.net/sign/internet_time_to_act?source=website-action.
  16. Forester, Brandon. “Celebrating Wins and Planning for the Fights Ahead.” Free Press. November 16, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/celebrating-wins-and-planning-fights-ahead.
  17. Aaron, Craig. “It’s Official: The Sinclair Deal Is Toast.” Free Press. August 9, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/expert-analysis/explainers/its-official-sinclair-deal-toast.
  18. Muhr, Nida. “Anti-Sinclair Activists Rally in Front of the FCC.” Free Press. July 20, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/anti-sinclair-activists-rally-front-fcc.
  19. Forester, Brandon. “Activists Rally Outside Sinclair HQ to Protest Toxic Merger.” Free Press. June 8, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/activists-rally-outside-sinclair-hq-protest-toxic.
  20. “Free Press Continues Challenge to Sinclair’s Takeover of Tribune, Calling Broadcaster’s Divestiture Plan a ’Sham’ and a ’Shell Game.’” Free Press. June 21, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/news/press-releases/free-press-continues-challenge-sinclairs-takeover-tribune-calling-broadcasters.
  21. ”T-Mobile is Selling Out.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://act.freepress.net/sign/reject_sprint_tmobile_merger/?source=FPblog.
  22. Watson, Collette. “The T-Mobile/Sprint Merger Would Cut the Cord for People of Color.” Free Press. October 11, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019.  https://www.freepress.net/our-response/expert-analysis/explainers/t-mobilesprint-merger-would-cut-cord-people-color.
  23. Barrera, Diego and Lucia Martinez. “Activists Don Costumes to Protest T-Mobile/Sprint #MonsterMerger.” Free Press. November 2, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/activists-don-costumes-protest-t-mobilesprint.
  24. Kroin, Amy. “Coalition Launches Campaign to Combat Hateful Activity Online.” Free Press. October 25, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/coalition-launches-campaign-combat-hateful-activity.
  25. Kroin, Amy. “Coalition Launches Campaign to Combat Hateful Activity Online.” Free Press. October 25, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/coalition-launches-campaign-combat-hateful-activity.
  26. Montgomery, David. “The State of Hate.” The Washington Post. November 8, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/magazine/wp/2018/11/08/feature/is-the-southern-poverty-law-center-judging-hate-fairly/?utm_term=.4ef1ec17e1f0.
  27. Kroin, Amy. “Coalition Launches Campaign to Combat Hateful Activity Online.” Free Press. October 25, 2018. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/our-response/advocacy-organizing/stories-field/coalition-launches-campaign-combat-hateful-activity.
  28. ”Craig Aaron.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/about/staff/craig-aaron.
  29. ”Craig Aaron.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/about/staff/craig-aaron.
  30. “2016 Annual Report.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/2016_annual_report.
  31. “2017 Free Press Annual Report.” Free Press. Access January 17, 2019.  https://www.freepress.net/2017_annual_report.
  32. “2017 Free Press Annual Report.” Free Press. Access January 17, 2019.  https://www.freepress.net/2017_annual_report.
  33. “2016 Annual Report.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/2016_annual_report.
  34. “2015 Annual Report.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/2015_annual_report.
  35. “2017 Free Press Annual Report.” Free Press. Access January 17, 2019.  https://www.freepress.net/2017_annual_report.
  36. “2016 Annual Report.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/2016_annual_report.
  37. “2015 Annual Report.” Free Press. Accessed January 17, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/2015_annual_report.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Craig Aaron
    President
  2. Josh Silver
    Co-Founder and former CEO
  3. Robert McChesney
    Co-Founder, Former Board Member & President

Associated Organizations

  1. Free Press (Non-profit)
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2004

  • 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
    2016 Dec Form 990 $884,719 $653,212 $677,446 $146,577 N $882,799 $0 $1,920 $45,689
    2015 Dec Form 990 $421,811 $523,960 $412,562 $113,200 N $418,092 $0 $3,719 $26,650 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $536,724 $345,670 $488,967 $87,456 N $535,015 $0 $1,709 $24,253 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $360,684 $311,254 $226,368 $15,911 N $360,454 $0 $0 $26,485 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $273,460 $327,143 $213,014 $51,987 N $272,251 $0 $1,209 $12,089 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $537,166 $522,550 $336,018 $121,308 N $535,206 $0 $1,960 $39,365 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Free Press Action Fund

    40 MAIN ST
    STE 301
    FLORENCE, MA 01062-3100