Non-profit

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

ILSR logo vertical (link) by Ilsrjb is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 (link)
Website:

ilsr.org/

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

23-7394104

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $1,082,321
Expenses: $1,525,548
Assets: $1,148,542

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a left-of-center, anti-business advocacy and organizing organization. ILSR was co-founded in 1974 by David Morris, Neil Seldman, and Gil Friend to research and establish communities that do not participate in the external market economy. [1] ILSR opposes international trade, instead supporting left-of-center economic development projects within small communities. [2]

ILSR purports to be nonpartisan and cross-ideological. [3] Nonetheless, ILSR invests heavily in a variety of left-of-center causes and is closely affiliated with and funded by left-of center organizations.

ILSR has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Portland, Maine; and Washington, D.C.

Opposition to Amazon

In 2016, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance published a report entitled Amazon’s Stranglehold: How the Company’s Tightening Grip on the Economy Is Stifling Competition, Eroding Jobs, and Threatening Communities. ILSR argued in the report that Amazon, the global retailer created by Jeff Bezos, was monopolizing the economy, undermining wages, and weakening communities. The report also claimed that Amazon’s growth could be attributed to government subsidies and tax advantages. [4]

ILSR co-director Stacy Mitchell, who co-authored the report, later appeared in an episode of PBS’s “Frontline” titled “Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos.” According to David Streitfeld of the New York Times, Mitchell’s anti-corporate crusade against Amazon resulted in the formation of Athena, a coalition of nearly fifty labor union-aligned, left-wing social policy organizations created to break up Amazon. [5]

ILSR is a founding member of Athena. [6] Other members of the Athena coalition include the Center for Popular Democracy, a left-progressive voter mobilization and policy organization, and Public Citizen, the lobbying and advocacy organization created by left-wing activist and former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader. [7]

ILSR opposes other large retailers as well, including Walmart and various dollar stores. [8] ILSR’s retail work is part of its Independent Business Initiative, which also focuses on opposing “big tech” and other large corporations in favor of small businesses. [9]

Other Initiatives

ILSR has substantially invested in its Waste to Wealth program, which aims to end government programs that subsidize turning waste into usable energy through incineration. [10] ILSR’s Waste to Wealth program also supports so-called “zero waste” living, which advocates for individuals to adopt lifestyles free from all waste that cannot be reused or composted. [11][12]

ILSR also supports small-scale community banking, small businesses, the implementation of public broadband networks, small municipal energy projects, and composting initiatives to combat the power of large companies. [13]

Connections to Left-of-Center Organizations

ILSR is a member of the New Economy Coalition, a network of nonprofit organizations that advocate for a left-wing economic transformation based on the large-scale redistribution of wealth, government-mandated environmentalist projects, and the implementation of a left-wing social policy agenda. [14]

ILSR is also affiliated with Center for Rural Strategies, an organization that advocates for left-of-center policies for rural America. In 2018, an ILSR employee spoke at the National Rural Assembly, a conference organized by the Center that brings together left-of-center rural activists. [15]

ILSR is a partner of the Complete Economy Project, an initiative to promote local business and discourage consumers from shopping at large businesses. [16] The Complete Economy Project is sponsored by the New England Grassroots Environment Fund and run by The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock, a crowdfunding platform that encourages individuals to fund left-of-center environmentalist and small enterprise projects within their communities. [17]

ILSR has partnered with dozens of other left-of-center environmentalist groups and government agencies across the country, including various chapters of the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth. [18]

Funding

Institute for Local Self-Reliance was one of the first organizations to receive funding from the Anti-Monopoly Fund, an anti-corporate campaign founded in 2019 by the Economic Security Project and partially funded by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations and Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network. [19]

While ILSR does not disclose all of its funding, the organization lists the Open Society Foundations as a supporter, as well as the Ford Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States that often funds left-of-center initiatives. [20]

ILSR has also received over $800,000 from the Bush Foundation, a Minnesota-based private foundation endowed by 3M investor and early employee Archibald Bush that frequently contributes to left-of-center organizations. [21]

ILSR has received millions from left-of-center private foundations, including over $500,000 from the McKnight Foundation, $55,000 from the Carolyn Foundation, $70,000 from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, and $40,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. [22] [23] [24] [25]

ISLR has also received donations from other left-of-center environmentalist organizations. Between 2012 and 2016, the Town Creek Foundation gave a total of $475,000 to ILSR. [26] In 2019, ISLR received $200,000 from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a leader in left-progressive “shareholder activism,” and $50,000 from the Claneil Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based environmentalist grantmaking organization. [27] [28]

References

  1. “Gil Friend and David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Mother Earth News. November/December 1975. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/local-self-reliance-zmaz75ndzgoe ^
  2. “Mission.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://ilsr.org/about-the-institute-for-local-self-reliance/mission/ ^
  3. “Mission.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://ilsr.org/about-the-institute-for-local-self-reliance/mission/ ^
  4. Mitchell, Stacy and Olivia LaVecchia. “Amazon’s Stranglehold: How the Company’s Tightening Grip Is Stifling Competition, Eroding Jobs, and Threatening Communities.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance. November 2016. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://cdn.ilsr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ILSR_AmazonReport_final.pdf ^
  5. David Streitfeld. “As Amazon Rises, So Does the Opposition.” The New York Times. April 18, 2020. September 22, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/18/technology/athena-mitchell-amazon.html ^
  6. “ILSR Cofounds National Coalition To Take On Amazon.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance. November 26, 2019. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://ilsr.org/ilsr-co-founds-national-coalition-to-take-on-amazon/ ^
  7. “Delivery Democracy. Athena. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://athenaforall.org/ ^
  8. “2019 Annual Report.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance. 2019. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://cdn.ilsr.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/2019-Annual-Report-ILSR.pdf ^
  9. “Independent Business Initiative.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://ilsr.org/independent-business/ ^
  10. “Waste to Wealth.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://ilsr.org/waste-to-wealth/ ^
  11. “Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Waste to Wealth Program.” Community Wealth. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://community-wealth.org/content/institute-local-self-reliance-waste-wealth-program ^
  12. “Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Waste to Wealth Program.” Community Wealth. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://community-wealth.org/content/institute-local-self-reliance-waste-wealth-program ^
  13. “Initiatives.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://ilsr.org/initiatives/ ^
  14. “Institute for Local Self-Reliance.” New Economy Coalition. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://neweconomy.net/organizations/institute-local-self-reliance ^
  15. “2018 National Rural Assembly.” Center for Rural Strategies. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://ruralassembly.org/2018-rural-assembly/ ^
  16. “Complete Economy Project.” The Local Crowd Monadnock. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://monadnocklocal.org/completeeconomy ^
  17. “About.” The Local Crowd Monadnock. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://monadnocklocal.org/about ^
  18. “Working Partners.” Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://ilsr.org/working-partners/ ^
  19. “Anti-Monopoly Fund announces first round of investments.” Economic Security Project. December 10, 2019. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://medium.com/economicsecproj/anti-monopoly-fund-announces-first-round-of-investments-c119ede6e4bf ^
  20. “About Us.” Community Networks. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://muninetworks.org/content/about-us ^
  21. “Institute for Local Self-Reliance.” Bush Foundation. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://www.bushfoundation.org/institute-local-self-reliance ^
  22. “Past Grants.” Carolyn Foundation. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://carolynfoundation.org/grantmaking/past-grants/ ^
  23. “Grant Database.” Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. Accessed September 22, 2020.https://ldgfund.org/our-grants/grants-database/?title=local+self&program=&support=&grantyear= ^
  24. “Search Our Grants.” McKnight Foundation. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://www.mcknight.org/grants/search-our-grants/page/2/?grant-keyword&date_start&date_end&grant_program=425 ^
  25. “Institute for Local Self-Reliance.” Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://www.rbf.org/grantees/institute-local-self-reliance ^
  26. “Institute for Local Self-Reliance.” Town Creek Foundation. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://towncreekfdn.org/recipients/institute-for-local-self-reliance/ ^
  27. “Our Partners.” Nathan Cummings Foundation. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://nathancummings.org/our-partners/ ^
  28. “Institute for Local Self-Reliance.” Claneil Foundation. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://www.claneilfoundation.org/grantees/institute-local-self-reliance-2019 ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1974

  • 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 Jun Form 990 $1,082,321 $1,525,548 $1,148,542 $92,881 N $1,020,376 $61,609 $336 $431,474 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $1,606,664 $1,524,460 $1,556,870 $57,982 N $1,508,006 $98,142 $516 $401,189
    2015 Jun Form 990 $1,351,050 $1,347,995 $1,459,494 $42,810 N $1,179,119 $170,953 $978 $397,738 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $1,683,078 $1,184,292 $1,455,886 $42,257 N $1,461,832 $220,307 $939 $294,883 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $1,106,965 $1,012,524 $965,128 $50,285 N $855,248 $249,782 $1,935 $286,562 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $1,267,975 $1,073,123 $882,531 $62,129 N $1,026,134 $238,804 $3,037 $281,017 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $1,186,339 $1,110,324 $683,300 $57,750 N $1,041,458 $139,873 $4,949 $266,600 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Institute for Local Self-Reliance

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