Non-profit

Movement Alliance Project

Website:

movementalliance.org/

Location:

PHILADELPHIA, PA

Tax ID:

26-0307123

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $639,425
Expenses: $602,127
Assets: $358,696

Movement Alliance Project (formerly Media Mobilizing Project) is a left-wing community organizing outfit in Philadelphia that funds a variety of left-leaning policy campaigns and organizations. The organization was founded in 2005 to organize left-progressive campaigns around poverty, criminal justice, and public schools.

The organization manages several projects including the People’s Media Record, Mapping Pretrial Injustice, the Shift the Narrative Project, and Philly We Rise. The organization also fiscally sponsors many left-leaning organizations including Black Lives Matter Philly, the 215 People’s Alliance, and the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund. The organization received funds from a variety of left-leaning funders including the Open Society Foundations, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.[1] [2] [3]

Despite its charitable organization tax status, the organization’s website has made statements cheerleading electoral outcomes for which Movement Alliance Project claimed credit.[4]

Background

The Movement Alliance Project was founded as the Media Mobilizing Project in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2005. The organization’s founding was centered on organizing media campaigns. The organization credits the inspiration for its founding to the Zapatistas Army of National Liberation, an anarcho-socialist militia that controls territory in southern Mexico, making calls for an independent media. The founders of the Media Mobilizing Project were involved in the development of the Global Indymedia Network, also known as the Independent Media Center, a publishing network of activist media publications.[5]

The early work of the organization was centered on local Philadelphia-based left-leaning policy campaigns opposing gentrification, promoting labor union priorities, and promoting citizenship for illegal immigrants. The organization launched a public access television show called MMPTV in the Philadelphia market, began a campaign to “define access to the internet as a human right,” and operated a citywide campaign to direct federal stimulus money into public computer centers.[6]

The Media Mobilizing Project also supported Obama administration-era net neutrality regulations and has long protested against various issues concerning Comcast’s operations and fees to internet users in Philadelphia. The organization was among many other activist groups that lobbied the Philadelphia city council to alter a proposed franchise agreement with Comcast for its cable television service to instead focus on free internet programs for low-income households.[7] [8]

Activities

The Movement Alliance Project hosts campaigns and programs promoting various left-leaning policies. Such projects include the People’s Media Record, a digital archive of activist’s video footage of protests; Mapping Pretrial Injustice, a mapping tool promoting loosening pre-trial detainment laws; the Shift the Narrative Project, which promotes left-leaning criminal justice and policing policies; and Philly We Rise, a social justice media aggregator hub.[9]

In addition to its in-house programs, Movement Alliance Project sponsors various left-of-center Philadelphia-based advocacy groups. As of October 2020, the most prominent of which were likely Black Lives Matter Philadelphia, Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, and 215 People’s Alliance Education Fund, the charitable-activity arm of the election campaign group 215 People’s Alliance.[10]

The organization also funds other left-leaning groups including the 215 People’s Alliance, Anthracite Unite, Black Lives Matter Philly, Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, Phillysun, and Prison Health News.[11]

Funding

Movement Alliance Project receives support from a range of left-progressive institutions: the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation,[12] the Ford Foundation,[13] the New Venture Fund,[14] the Proteus Fund,[15] and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation all have funded Movement Alliance Project, often under its former Media Mobilizing Project name.[16] The Open Philanthropy Project provided the then-Media Mobilizing Project with $140,000 in support of a “Coalition for a Just District Attorney.”[17]

Other notable funders include labor unions; the American Federation of Teachers, Communications Workers of America, and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania have all funded Movement Alliance Project.[18]

Other financial supporters of Movement Alliance Project include the left-leaning Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation, and Fidelity Charitable, a provider of donor-advised funds.[19]

Controversies

Statements of Electoral Achievement

Movement Alliance Project is tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) as a charitable organization; IRS guidance states, “Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”[20]

Despite the absolute proscription against electoral campaign intervention by 501(c)(3) organizations under IRS rules, Movement Alliance Project/Media Mobilizing Project has made statements of election-related accomplishments on its website. Its “History” page read as follows as of January 13, 2021:[21]

Around 2013,  Media Mobilizing Project started to become a hub, beyond its original projects and tactics, able to support critical victories in our communities: we unseated Governor Corbett, whose legacy included massive cuts to education, we ended the state takeover of Philadelphia schools, and we campaigned both for a district attorney who would work to end mass incarceration and for a city council with leaders who would fight for justice.

“Governor Corbett” presumably refers to Tom Corbett, Republican Governor of Pennsylvania from 2011 until 2015, who lost re-election in 2014.

People

Bryan Mercer leads the Movement Alliance Project as executive director. Mercer is a national left-progressive media activist and sits on the boards of Free Press and MediaJustice.[22] Mercer is also involved in the 215 People’s Alliance campaign group; as a representative of 215 People’s Alliance, he participated in the Fall 2017 Democracy Alliance conference in a session on supporting the election of radical-left prosecutors.[23]

References

  1. “About.” Movement Alliance Project. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://movementalliance.org/about/ ^
  2. “Funders.” Movement Alliance Project. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://movementalliance.org/about/#funders ^
  3. “Programs.” Movement Alliance Project. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://movementalliance.org/programs/#current ^
  4. “Our History.” Movement Alliance Project, November 17, 2020. Archived from the original January 12, 2021. http://web.archive.org/web/20210113135534/https://movementalliance.org/about/. ^
  5. “About.” Movement Alliance Project. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://movementalliance.org/about/ ^
  6. “About.” Movement Alliance Project. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://movementalliance.org/about/ ^
  7. Torres, Roberto. “Media Mobilizing Project celebrates ‘massive victory for net neutrality.’” Technically. June 15, 2016. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://technical.ly/philly/2016/06/15/media-mobilizing-project-net-neutrality-ruling/ ^
  8. Reyes, Juliana. “City’s new Comcast contract expands internet access for low-income Philadelphians.” Technically. December 4, 2015. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://technical.ly/philly/2015/12/04/comcast-contract-internet-access/ ^
  9. “Programs.” Movement Alliance Project. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://movementalliance.org/programs/#current ^
  10. “Sponsored Projects.” Movement Alliance Project, October 16, 2020. https://movementalliance.org/sponsored-projects/. ^
  11. “Sponsored Projects.” Movement Alliance Project. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://movementalliance.org/sponsored-projects/ ^
  12. Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2017, Part XV Line 3 https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/30300865/201842489349100909/IRS990PF ^
  13. Ford Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2017, Part XV Line 3 https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/131684331/201803209349100025/IRS990PF  ^
  14. New Venture Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Schedule I https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/205806345/201723179349305572/IRS990ScheduleI ^
  15. Proteus Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2017, Schedule I https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/43243004/201803189349304195/IRS990ScheduleI ^
  16. W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2018, Part XV Line 3 https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/381359264/201901939349100620/IRS990PF ^
  17. “Media Mobilizing Project – Criminal Justice Coalition.” Open Philanthropy, June 1, 2018. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/criminal-justice-reform/media-mobilizing-project-criminal-justice-coalition. ^
  18. Data compiled from Department of Labor Office of Labor-Management Standards Payer-Payee Search tool from forms filed by labor unions. Queries on “Media Mobilizing Project” conducted January 13, 2021. ^
  19. Data compiled from FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted January 12, 2021. ^
  20. IRS. “The Restriction of Political Campaign Intervention by Section 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations.” Internal Revenue Service. Accessed January 13, 2021. https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/the-restriction-of-political-campaign-intervention-by-section-501c3-tax-exempt-organizations#:~:text=Under%20the%20Internal%20Revenue%20Code,candidate%20for%20elective%20public%20office. ^
  21. “Our History.” Movement Alliance Project, November 17, 2020. Archived from the original January 12, 2021. http://web.archive.org/web/20210113135534/https://movementalliance.org/about/. ^
  22. “Bryan Mercer.” Movement Alliance Project, May 14, 2020. https://movementalliance.org/staff/bryan-mercer/. ^
  23. Democracy Alliance. “Democracy Alliance Fall Investment Agenda.” Posted to Scribd by The Washington Free Beacon. November 2017. Accessed May 27, 2020. Available at: https://freebeacon.com/politics/resistance-royalty-pelosi-soros-headline-lefts-biggest-dark-money-conference/ ^
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 2008

  • 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 $639,425 $602,127 $358,696 $4,308 N $593,425 $45,425 $0 $46,350
    2015 Dec Form 990 $447,087 $623,749 $333,411 $16,321 N $437,692 $7,770 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $450,945 $481,758 $502,206 $8,454 N $431,160 $18,615 $0 $87,000 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $392,808 $519,175 $528,028 $3,463 N $378,571 $9,708 $0 $85,546
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,012,653 $694,598 $668,813 $17,881 N $966,319 $45,909 $0 $28,125 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $834,482 $753,094 $244,685 $0 N $801,373 $32,073 $0 $0 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990EZ $136,885 $134,417 $173,716 $20,394 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Movement Alliance Project

    4534 BALTIMORE AVE
    PHILADELPHIA, PA 19143-3705