Non-profit

Inclusive Economy Fund (Democracy Alliance)

Website:

democracyalliance.org/organization/inclusive-economy-fund/

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Type:

Minimum Wage Advocacy Group

Project of:

New Venture Fund

Formation:

2015

Senior Advisor:

Julie Kohler

The Inclusive Economy Fund (IEF) is a project of the Democracy Alliance, a collective of left-of-center donors influential in left-progressive politics. [1] The IEF financially supports state and local nonprofit organizations that pursue left-of-center economic policy implementation. [2]

The Inclusive Economy Fund began in 2015 and used the left-of-center New Venture Fund as its “fiscal sponsor.” The New Venture Fund has been criticized for providing “dark money” in support of left-of-center causes. [3] In 2016, the IEF reported $1.37 million in revenue. [4]

IEF is affiliated with the Inclusive Economy Action Fund (IEAF), an advocacy project fiscally sponsored by the Sixteen Thirty Fund. The Sixteen Thirty Fund is the “sister” nonprofit of the New Venture Fund, and it has similarly been criticized for “dark money” practices. IEF and IEAF share an advisory board, which features prominent left-of-center activists and Democratic donors. [5]

Both IEF and IEAF appear to have ceased operations in 2018. [6]

Founding and History

IEF began in 2015 as one of the Democracy Alliance’s 2020 State Funds. These funds were designed to support left-of-center causes in twelve states deemed important for left-progressive electoral and policy victories, including Florida, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, Minnesota, and Oregon. [7] [8] After former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election, the Democracy Alliance increased its attention on state and local initiatives. [9]

IEF used the New Venture Fund as its “fiscal sponsor,” making its revenue sources difficult to track. [10] [11] [12] Documents released by the Democracy Alliance have revealed that IEF raised $1.37 million in 2016, which it administered to other left-of-center organizations as grants. [13]

IEF has received some known contributions from left-of-center organizations. In 2015, the Arca Foundation donated $100,000 to the New Venture Fund to support IEF. [14] The Ford Foundation also donated $250,000 and $200,000 in 2016 and 2017 respectively. [15]

The website for the Democracy Alliance has not published any information about IEF or IEAF since 2016, and the organization did not feature either project in its spring 2019 investment recommendations. [16]

Political Activities

In 2016, both Inclusive Economy Fund and Inclusive Economy Action Fund promoted state and federal campaigns to enact left-wing economic policies, including a $15 federal minimum wage. The Funds used a number of state-based allies to target legislation in ten states, most of which are presidential election swing states. [17]

IEF and IEAF worked mostly in the West, partnering with left-of-center organizations including Raise Up Washington, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLÉ), and Together Colorado. The Funds also worked in the Midwest, partnering with the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, the AMOS Project, ISAIAH, and Take Action. Along the East Coast, IEF and IEAF supported the Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment (formerly F.I.R.E.), Organize Now, the Connecticut Working Families Organization, and the Maine People’s Alliance to advocate for left-of-center policy goals. [18]

IEF and IEAF also supported the Hedge Clippers campaign in Florida, Minnesota, and Ohio. The Hedge Clippers campaign claims to oppose “dark money,” though it is supported by IEAF funding through the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is itself a “dark money” organization. [19] [20] [21]

IEF and IEAF determined grantmaking priorities based on the work of many Democracy Alliance-affiliated partner organizations. These include left-of-center think tanks and advocacy groups, such as Americans for Financial Reform, the Center for American Progress, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Demos, the Economic Policy Institute, National Employment Law Project, and the Roosevelt Institute. [22]

Leadership

Inclusive Economy Fund shares an advisory board with Inclusive Economy Action Fund. The board includes several noted left-of-center activists, including Peter Colavito, senior advisor to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Alan S. Davis, director of the WhyNot Initiative; Robert Master, spokesperson for Communication Workers of America (CWA); Michelle Ringuette, assistant to the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT); and Damon Silvers, director of policy and special counsel to the AFL-CIO. [23]

The IEF-IEAF board also includes a number of Democratic donors and philanthropists, including Democracy Alliance board member David DesJardins; philanthropist and Democratic Party donor Nick Hanauer; Lisa Guide, associate director of the Rockefeller Family Fund; Eric Halperin, former senior advisor to the Open Society Foundations; and Matt Hollamby of the left-of-center Wyss Foundation. [24]

References

  1. “About the DA.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://democracyalliance.org/about/. ^
  2. Kohler, Julie. “2020 Funds Update: The Inclusive Economy Fund.” Democracy Alliance. April 18, 2016. Accessed March 29, 2021.  https://democracyalliance.org/da-blog/2020-funds-update-inclusive-economy-fund/. ^
  3. Markay, Lachlan. “Over 100 Left-Wing Groups Sourced to DC Dark Money Outfit.” Washington Free Beacon. October 22, 2015. Accessed March 28, 2021. https://freebeacon.com/issues/over-100-left-wing-groups-sourced-to-d-c-dark-money-outfit/. ^
  4. Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed March 28, 2021. Available: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/04/Democracy-Alliance-2020-Investment-Portfolio-Report.pdf. ^
  5. Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed March 28, 2021. Available: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/04/Democracy-Alliance-2020-Investment-Portfolio-Report.pdf. ^
  6. Democracy Alliance Spring 2019 Investment Strategy and Recommendations. Democracy Alliance. Published Spring 2019. Accessed March 28, 2021. https://www.scribd.com/document/405643994/Democracy-Alliance-Spring-2019-Investment-Strategy-and-Recommendations. ^
  7. “State POWER Funds.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed March 28, 2021. https://democracyalliance.org/investments/state-power-funds/. ^
  8. Markay, Lachlan. “Democracy Alliance’s Dark Money Network Works to Retake States.” Washington Free Beacon. December 3, 2015. Accessed March 27, 2021. https://freebeacon.com/politics/democracy-alliances-dark-money-network-works-to-retake-states/. ^
  9. “Democracy Alliance.” Ballotpedia. Accessed March 28, 2021. https://ballotpedia.org/Democracy_Alliance. ^
  10. Markay, Lachlan. “Democracy Alliance’s Dark Money Network Works to Retake States.” Washington Free Beacon. December 3, 2015. Accessed March 27, 2021. https://freebeacon.com/politics/democracy-alliances-dark-money-network-works-to-retake-states/. ^
  11. Markay, Lachlan. “Democracy Alliance’s Dark Money Network Works to Retake States.” Washington Free Beacon. December 3, 2015. Accessed March 27, 2021. https://freebeacon.com/politics/democracy-alliances-dark-money-network-works-to-retake-states/. ^
  12. Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed March 28, 2021. Available: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/04/Democracy-Alliance-2020-Investment-Portfolio-Report.pdf. ^
  13. Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed March 28, 2021. Available: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/04/Democracy-Alliance-2020-Investment-Portfolio-Report.pdf. ^
  14. “Grantee Database.” The Arca Foundation. Accessed March 28, 2021. https://www.arcafoundation.org/current-past-grantees/. ^
  15. “New Venture Fund donations received.” Accessed March 28, 2021. https://donations.vipulnaik.com/donee.php?donee=New+Venture+Fund#new-venture-fund-donations-received. ^
  16. Democracy Alliance Spring 2019 Investment Strategy and Recommendations. Democracy Alliance. Published Spring 2019. Accessed March 28, 2021. https://www.scribd.com/document/405643994/Democracy-Alliance-Spring-2019-Investment-Strategy-and-Recommendations. ^
  17. Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed March 28, 2021. Available: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/04/Democracy-Alliance-2020-Investment-Portfolio-Report.pdf. ^
  18. Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed March 28, 2021. Available: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/04/Democracy-Alliance-2020-Investment-Portfolio-Report.pdf. ^
  19. “Who Are The Hedge Clippers.” Hedgeclippers.org. Accessed March 28. 2021. https://hedgeclippers.org/about/. ^
  20. Kohler, Julie. “2020 Funds Update: The Inclusive Economy Fund.” Democracy Alliance. April 18, 2016. Accessed March 29, 2021.  https://democracyalliance.org/da-blog/2020-funds-update-inclusive-economy-fund/. ^
  21. Bland, Scott. “Liberal secret-money network hammers House GOP.” Politico. July 28, 2018. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/29/democrats-dark-money-midterms-house-745145. ^
  22. Kohler, Julie. “2020 Funds Update: The Inclusive Economy Fund.” Democracy Alliance. April 18, 2016. Accessed March 29, 2021.  https://democracyalliance.org/da-blog/2020-funds-update-inclusive-economy-fund/. ^
  23. Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed March 28, 2021. Available: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/04/Democracy-Alliance-2020-Investment-Portfolio-Report.pdf. ^
  24. Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed March 28, 2021. Available: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/04/Democracy-Alliance-2020-Investment-Portfolio-Report.pdf. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Katrina vanden Heuvel
    Advisory Board Member
  2. Nick Hanauer
    Advisory Board Member
  3. David DesJardins
    Advisory Board Member

Coalition Memberships

  1. Democracy Alliance Conferences
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Inclusive Economy Fund (Democracy Alliance)


Washington, DC