Movement Alliance Project (formerly Media Mobilizing Project) is a left-wing community organizing outfit in Philadelphia. Despite its charitable organization tax status, the organization’s website has made statements cheerleading electoral outcomes for which Movement Alliance Project claimed credit.
Movement Alliance Project conducts a number of campaigns, with a focus as of 2020 on supporting left-of-center approaches to criminal justice. In a 2020 online townhall with Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney (D), Movement Alliance Project activist Devren Washington called for using police salary cuts and layoffs as a “choreographed obsolescence” plan to defund police.
In addition to its in-house programs, Movement Alliance Project sponsors various left-of-center Philadelphia-based advocacy groups,the most prominent of which are 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.
Movement Alliance Project receives support from a range of left-progressive institutions: the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New Venture Fund, the Proteus Fund, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation all have funded Movement Alliance Project, often under its former Media Mobilizing Project name. The Open Philanthropy Project provided the then-Media Mobilizing Project with $140,000 in support of a “Coalition for a Just District Attorney.”
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.
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.”
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:
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.
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. 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.