MapLight is a left-of-center research organization that reports on legislative affairs and uses an online database to track financial activity in politics. It publishes newsletters; issues an online voter guide, Voter’s Edge; and builds software to make campaign donations more accessible for public viewing. The Democracy Alliance, a donor affinity group for high-level funders on the Left, listed MapLight as part of the “Progressive Infrastructure Map” in 2014.
MapLight was created in 2005 as “Take Back California” (TakeBackCa.org) to track contributions to the California State Legislature and link the influence of donations in state legislative activities. The group had associations with left-of-center interests and liberal policies; its “concept summary” complained about the defeat of legislation that would have imported drugs from Canada’s socialized price-controlled system. 
In 2014, MapLight started “Voter’s Edge” as a joint project with the left-of-center League of Women Voters (LWV). Voter’s Edge is a ballot database which tracks federal, state, and local elections in California. 
Maplight receives donations from numerous foundations involved in left-of-center public affairs. Some contributors give for general support while others give for specific projects. The Rockefeller Family Fund gave $25,000 to the group in 2012.  John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation supported MapLight’s efforts in compiling voter and interest data by giving it $31,000 in 2008, $62,000 in 2009, and $31,000 in 2010 and 2011.  In 2015, the Joyce Foundation helped to expand the Voter’s Edge program with a $75,000 grant.  Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program, a donor-advised funder provider, gave MapLight $70,000 in 2011 for a “specific project.” 
George Soros is a frequent contributor to MapLight’s work. His Foundation to Promote Open Society gave the group $250,000 for “general support” in 2014, the same year the Voter’s Edge software was produced.  Soros has also funded efforts to get MapLight to expand its projects to other states such as Wisconsin. 
The Democracy Alliance, a coordinating committee of high-level funders on the Left, listed MapLight in its Spring 2014 investment recommendations for members as part of the Alliance’s infrastructure map.  
President and Co-Founder
Daniel G. Newman is the president and co-founder of MapLight, a position he has held 2005. He also is the founder of Say I Can, a speech recognition firm, and has served as a political consultant to politicians and nonprofit groups. 
DeAnna Dalton is the deputy director responsible for fundraising efforts at MapLight. She previously worked abroad at other nonprofits in Ecuador and Tanzania. 
Kylie Baranowski is the development manager for MapLight. She formerly worked as a Jesse M. Unruh Fellow in the California State Assembly and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 
Laura Curlin is MapLight’s data director and is responsible for all research and data-oriented projects. She formerly worked as the treasurer of the Berkeley Fair Elections Coalition and as a member of the Rhode Islanders for Fair Elections.