National Popular Vote (NPV) was founded in 2006 by lottery scratch-card inventor John Koza and election lawyer Barry Fadem to lobby for an “interstate compact” for states to deliver their electoral votes for President to the “winner” of the national popular vote. While Koza and Fadem are both Democratic donors, the organization has hired Republican spokespersons.
The organization has managed to get 15 states and the District of Columbia to join the compact, as of August 2019.  Major funding for the effort has come from Koza, Paychex billionaire Tom Golisano, and several major left-leaning organizations.
National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
National Popular Vote is a lobbying organization promoting the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a purported means to elect the president by a nationwide plurality vote without a Constitutional Amendment.
Under the compact, states could choose to award their electors to the plurality winner of the national popular vote regardless of who wins their state; states have at least some control over how they wish to choose their electors. As of spring 2019, 14 states and the District of Columbia joined the compact for a total of 189 electoral votes. However, the compact would not snap into effect until enough states joined to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. 
After the 2000 election, wherein George W. Bush was elected by the Electoral College despite trailing Al Gore in ballots cast, Robert Bennett, a professor at Northwestern University Law School, wrote a 2001 academic paper titled “Popular Election of a President Without a Constitutional Amendment,” asserting states could pledge their electors to the winner of a national plurality. This was followed up that same year by an article by Akhil and Vikram Amar, brothers who were professors at Yale Law and University of California Hastings College of Law respectively. They argued an interstate compact could bring about “direct national election.” 
After this, Koza and Fadem co-wrote the book Every Vote Equal in 2006, to promote the proposal. They started National Popular Vote to lobby for the plan shortly after.
Maryland was the first state to join in 2007. It was followed in subsequent years by Massachusetts, Washington state, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, District of Columbia, California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut.  In 2019, Colorado, New Mexico and Delaware joined the compact. 
John R. Koza
John R. Koza is the chairman of National Popular Vote. Koza has a long-term interest in the electoral college and presidential elections, selling an Electoral College board game in 1966. In the lottery business, he has been involved in forging interstate compacts.
From 1973 through 1987, Koza was the co-founder and CEO of Scientific Games Inc., where he co-invented the scratch-off lottery ticket. During the 1980s, he teamed with lawyer Barry Fadem, his now-associate at NPV, to promote lotteries in various states across the country through citizen initiatives and in state legislatures. 
From 1988 through 2003, Koza taught a class as a consulting professor at Stanford University on genetic algorithms and genetic program. 
Koza has been a contributor to numerous Democratic campaigns at the federal level, as well as the Democratic National Committee and liberal organizations such as MoveOn and the National Progress Fund. 
As of 2014, Koza publicly said he has spent more than $14 million of his own money promoting the compact, and budgeted $2 million per year moving forward to gain support. 
Barry Fadem, an election lawyer, is the president of National Popular Vote. He has provided legal counsel for campaign finance laws and ballot initiatives and referendums. 
Fadem has also been a prolific donor to Democratic candidates for federal office. 
The secretary of the organization is Vermont state Sen. Chris Pearson (Progressive-Burlington). He is a member of Vermont’s Progressive party, and caucuses with Democrats in the state legislature. He has served in the state Senate since 2017. He previously served in the state House of Representatives from 2006 through 2016. 
Before serving in the state legislature, Pearson was a staffer for then-U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders before he became the director of the presidential election reform program at FairVote, previously known as the Center for Voting and Democracy. 
Stephen M. Silberstein
Stephen M. Silberstein is a wealthy businessman advocating for the popular vote compact. His foundation has been a major donor to National Popular Vote, as well as numerous other liberal organizations.
In 1978, Silberstein founded Innovative Interface Inc., and served as the first president. The company supplies computer software for automation to college and local public libraries. The software is used by libraries in most U.S. states and 40 countries. Silberstein sold his interest in the firm in 2001. Before he started the company, he was an administrator for the University of California, Berkeley and taught at the computer science department. 
Silberstein has consistently contributed to Democratic candidates. 
Tom Golisano, the founder of the payroll and benefits services company Paychex, spent $10 million of his own money on the proposal. He entered the campaign in 2011, but reportedly pulled back in 2017. 
Golisano founded the Independence Party of New York, and twice ran unsuccessfully for governor as the party’s nominee, campaigns that he self-financed. He contributed to the presidential campaigns of Democrats John Kerry and Dick Gephardt in 2004, and in 2010 he contributed to the Senate campaign of Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent now serving in Congress as a Democrat. 
Ray Haynes is a Republican national spokesman for NPV. Haynes was listed as the president of the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections, a 501(c)(3) sister nonprofit organization to National Popular Vote.
Haynes previously served in the California state Assembly and later the state Senate in the 1990s and early 2000s, serving in Republican leadership in both houses.
In 2000, he became the chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization promoting conservative policies for states. 
Saul Anuzis is the president of the 60-Plus Association, a conservative advocacy group for seniors and an alternative to the AARP. Anuzis is the vice president of the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections and is conservative national spokesman for National Popular Vote.
Anuzis was the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party from 2005 through 2009. He was a candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009 and 2011. He served as chairman for the RNC standing committee on technology. He served as a Michigan representative to the RNC. He also previously served on the National Rifle Association’s board’s public affairs committee.
He previously worked with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at American Solutions, was an aid to Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential campaign and a senior adviser to the Ted Cruz 2016 presidential campaign. 
Patrick Rosenstiel is chairman of the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections, and an NPV spokesman.
He was a campaign aide for the Steve Forbes presidential campaign in 1996. He has been involved in public relations efforts for Pfizer, Progress for America, the Business Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
He is the former executive director of the Trade Alliance to Promote Prosperity and helped lead a successful effort to push the Obama administration to impose tariffs on low-cost tires made in China.
Scott Drexel is the managing director of NMA Partners, and active in Democratic politics. He worked with Democratic donors, and served on finance committees for several Democratic campaigns for Congress, California gubernatorial campaigns, and presidential campaigns.
Numerous liberal progressive organizations have donated money to National Popular Vote. No conservative organizations are identifiable as having donated.
The Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros Foundation contributed $1 million to National Popular Vote in 2011. Jonathan Soros is the son of George Soros, known for financing a large network of left-leaning causes around the world and bankrolling Democratic Party candidates in the United States.
The Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation, named for the activist backing the movement, has made $1 million donations to the organization since 2008. In 2015, Inside Philanthropy said, “Nearly every major progressive policy and advocacy group in the U.S. has received money from Silberstein in recent years.” 
The Sandler Foundation–which gives to left-leaning organizations such as the Center for American Progress, the American Civil Liberties Union, and EarthJustice–contributed $100,000 to NPV in 2010. 
The Tides Foundation–a major funder of left-leaning causes such as Media Matters, Planned Parenthood and Sierra Club–contributed $25,000 to the popular vote group in 2009.
The Wallace Global Fund—named for former Vice President Henry Wallace—a hero to progressives—gave $15,000 to NPV in 2009. The fund says its mission is to “promote an engaged citizenry, to fight injustice and to protect the diversity of nature and the natural systems upon which all life depends.” 
The Boston Foundation, a community grant maker in Massachusetts, contributed $10,000 to the effort in 2010.