Non-profit

NEO Philanthropy

Website:

www.theneodifference.org

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-3191113

DUNS Number:

61-438-0421

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $39,361,192
Expenses: $39,701,506
Assets: $22,850,503

Formation:

1983

Previous Name:

Public Interest Projects

Co-Presidents:

Michele Lord

Berta Colon

Co-President's Compensation:

$272,618 (Lord)

$282,110 (Colon)

Projects:

Funders Committee for Civic Participation

State Infrastructure Fund

Shelby Response Fund

Four Freedoms Fund

NEO Philanthropy, formerly known as Public Interest Projects, is a New York-based nonprofit that serves as a fiscal clearinghouse for left-of-center causes. The group serves as a vehicle for progressive foundations to pool resources, hosts donor-advised funds, and sponsors various liberal projects.[1]

The organization is the fiscal sponsor of progressive entities, including the Funders Committee on Civic Participation, a liberal voter activation consortium.[2] Disbursing grant money serves remains one of NEO’s primary functions; NEO Philanthropy gave close to 60 percent of its total expenditures as grants.[3]

Inside Philanthropy described NEO as “an intermediary that doesn’t have its own resources for grantmaking.”[4] The group receives funding from major progressive donors, including the Atlantic Philanthropies, George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Gill Foundation, the Pew Trusts, and the Carnegie Corporation, among others.[5] The organization and similar left-of-center groups that engage in “nonpartisan” voter registration have received criticism for appearing to favor the registration of voters exceptionally likely to vote for Democratic candidates.[6]

Initiatives

The organization runs what it calls “funder collaboratives,” each focusing on an area of left-of-center donor interest. The Four Freedoms Fund is directed toward supporting the political interests and welfare of illegal immigrants. The Just and Fair Schools Fund seeks to ease school discipline. The State Infrastructure Fund engages in voter registration and opposes conservative electoral reform legislation.[7] The Sunrise Initiative for Human Rights in the U.S. opposes immigration law enforcement activities.[8]

NEO fiscally sponsors the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation, a membership organization of progressive donors including the Democracy Alliance, the AFL-CIO, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the MacArthur Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and numerous other donors that focuses on voter registration and liberal-backed changes to election systems.[9] The Funders Committee is formally a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity as a sub-organization under NEO, but critics have noted that the organization’s election-related efforts are funded by liberal foundations and support strategies which help Democrats get elected.[10]

In the electoral area, NEO Philanthropy also operates the Shelby Response Fund, dedicated to opposing voting laws in states affected by changes to the Voting Rights Act ordered by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder.[11] That fund was managed by Karen Narasaki, an attorney with ties to numerous liberal nonprofits who was appointed by then-President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.[12] According to leaked documents reported on by the Washington Free Beacon, the Open Society Foundations funded by progressive financier George Soros are a principal funder of the Shelby Response Fund, with liberal voter registration practices such as expanded same-day registration and early voting on the Fund’s agenda.[13]

NEO is also involved in efforts to change criminal justice. The MacArthur Foundation gave NEO $18 million for juvenile justice projects aimed at preventing juveniles from entering the adult justice system.[14]

NEO supports projects in the feminist and pro-abortion spheres. The group was the charitable partner for the producers of the controversial campus sexual assault documentary The Hunting Ground. (Reason magazine described the film as “a work of activist propaganda,”[15] and, ironically, it was distributed by The Weinstein Company of alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.[16]) NEO Philanthropy is also the fiscal sponsor of “Shout Your Abortion,” an aggressive pro-abortion messaging campaign seeking to normalize the practice.[17]

Past projects include the incubation of InsideClimate News, an environmentalist media outfit. NEO Philanthropy, then still named Public Interest Projects, reportedly served as fiscal sponsor for InsideClimate and its associated public relations firm, Science First, from 2010 through 2014.[18]

Grant Recipients

NEO reported approximately $46.9 million in total expenditures for 2014 and reported more than $32.1 million in grants to domestic organizations.[19] In 2015, those numbers were $39.7 million and $22.7 million, respectively.[20] Since 2003, NEO has granted more than $176 million to likeminded left-of-center organizations.[21]

Grantees for 2015 include branches of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Tides Center, Border Action Network, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Foundation, Citizen Engagement Lab Education Fund, Chinese Progressive Association, Center for American Progress, and the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS), among others.[22]

Funding Sources

NEO Philanthropy serves as a philanthropic intermediary, similar to a donor-advised fund (which NEO reportedly operates). Reports indicate that NEO partners with upwards of 100 left-wing funding groups.[23] NEO Philanthropy reportedly does not typically raise funds from the general public, though it began to do so as part of its association with the film The Hunting Ground.[24]

Foundations provide the backbone of NEO Philanthropy’s funding. In 2014, NEO Philanthropy reported $51.7 million in total revenue; grants to NEO Philanthropy from foundations in 2014 totaled over $37 million.[25] Other progressive nonprofits have provided funds to NEO: Tax records show grants from New Venture Fund, The Energy Foundation, Greenpeace, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey in recent years.[26]

Atlantic Philanthropies, a now-closed Bermuda-based foundation consortium formerly headed by Democracy Alliance chief Gara LaMarche, granted NEO-associated entities more than $14.3 million from 2010 until Atlantic expended all its funds in 2016.[27]

People

Michele Lord serves as the co-president of NEO. She also serves as director of the Ottinger Foundation, a foundation that “supports work in the areas of economic justice, civic participation and environmental justice.” She was previously director of the Norman Foundation for six years, and “has overseen program evaluations on behalf of the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Open Society Institute.”[28]

Lord has a background in Democratic electoral politics. She also worked as director for the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues from 1984 to 1988. She later worked in the New York City Mayor’s Office 1990 to 1993 under then-Mayor David Dinkins (D).[29] NEO paid Lord $272,618 in 2015, with an additional $38,567 in other compensation.[30]

References

  1. Callahan, David. “Inside NEO Philanthropy: An Unusual Funding Group Works to Unify the Social Justice World.” Inside Philanthropy. June 30, 2015. Accessed April 11, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2015/6/30/inside-neo-philanthropy-an-unusual-funding-group-works-to-un.html
  2. “2017 Membership Renewal Form.” Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation. Accessed April 11, 2017. https://funderscommittee.org/2017-membership-renewal-form/
  3. Author’s calculations from NEO Philanthropy, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2015. Total grants per Part I, line 13 were $23,297,680 for 58.7% of NEO’s total expenses of $39,701,506.
  4. Callahan, David. “Inside NEO Philanthropy: An Unusual Funding Group Works to Unify the Social Justice World.” Inside Philanthropy. June 30, 2015. Accessed April 11, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2015/6/30/inside-neo-philanthropy-an-unusual-funding-group-works-to-un.html
  5. Johnson, Tom. “Partisan Donors Hiding under Charity’s Banner.” Capital Research Center. October 19, 2015. Accessed April 11, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/partisan-donors-hiding-under-charitys-banner/
  6. Johnson, Tom. “Partisan Donors Hiding under Charity’s Banner.” Capital Research Center. October 19, 2015. Accessed April 11, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/partisan-donors-hiding-under-charitys-banner/
  7. “NEO: Creative. Inspired Philanthropy.” NEO Philanthropy. March 2015. Accessed April 12, 2017 http://www.theneodifference.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/NEO-one-pager.pdf
  8. “Domestic Human Rights.” The Overbrook Foundation. 2015. Accessed April 12, 2017. http://www.overbrook.org/domestic-human-rights-movement/
  9. “About.” Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation. Accessed April 12, 2017. https://funderscommittee.org/about/
  10. Johnson, Tom. “Partisan Donors Hiding under Charity’s Banner.” Capital Research Center. October 19, 2015. Accessed April 11, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/partisan-donors-hiding-under-charitys-banner/
  11. Deutsch, Abigail. “Not Left, Not Right, But Forward.” Carnegie Corporation of New York. July 27, 2015. Accessed April 13, 2017. https://www.carnegie.org/news/articles/not-left-not-right-forward/
  12. “Karen Narasaki is nominated to be the next U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner.” Asian American Press. July 28, 2014. Accessed April 13, 2017. http://aapress.com/government/karen-narasaki-is-nominated-to-be-the-next-u-s-civil-rights-commissioner/
  13. Schoffstall, Joe. “Obama Appointee Manages Soros-Backed Election Fund.” Washington Free Beacon. September 1, 2016. Accessed April 13, 2017. http://freebeacon.com/politics/obama-appointee-manages-soros-backed-election-fund/
  14. Marek, Kiersten. “Criminal Justice Reform Is Gaining Steam. What Role Has Philanthropy Played?” Inside Philanthropy. November 23, 2015. Accessed April 12, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2015/11/23/criminal-justice-reform-is-gaining-steam-what-role-has-phila.html
  15. Soave, Robby. “How The Hunting Ground Spreads Myths About Campus Rape.” Reason.com. November 20, 2015. Accessed April 12, 2017. http://reason.com/blog/2015/11/20/how-the-hunting-ground-spreads-lies-abou
  16. Soave, Robby. “Don’t Cite The Hunting Ground in Defense of Harvey Weinstein.” Reason.com. October 08, 2017. Accessed October 18, 2017. http://reason.com/blog/2017/10/08/dont-cite-the-hunting-ground-in-defense
  17. “Donate.” Shout Your Abortion. Accessed April 12, 2017. https://shoutyourabortion.com/donate/
  18. Melchior, Jillian Kay. “InsideClimate News: Journalism or Green PR?” National Review. December 22, 2015. Accessed April 13, 2017. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/428878/environmental-activism-advocacy-journalism-insideclimate-news
  19. NEO Philanthropy, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2014, Part IX
  20. NEO Philanthropy, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2015, Part IX
  21. “Financials.” NEO. Accessed April 14, 2017. https://www.theneodifference.org/home/financials
  22. NEO Philanthropy, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2015, Schedule I Part II
  23. Callahan, David. “Inside NEO Philanthropy: An Unusual Funding Group Works to Unify the Social Justice World.” Inside Philanthropy. June 30, 2015. Accessed April 13, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2015/6/30/inside-neo-philanthropy-an-unusual-funding-group-works-to-un.html
  24. Callahan, David. “Inside NEO Philanthropy: An Unusual Funding Group Works to Unify the Social Justice World.” Inside Philanthropy. June 30, 2015. Accessed April 13, 2017. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2015/6/30/inside-neo-philanthropy-an-unusual-funding-group-works-to-un.html
  25. Revenues from NEO Philanthropy, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2014, Part I. Grants total from data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted April 13, 2017. Includes grants received by “Public Interest Projects,” a former name of NEO Philanthropy.
  26. See New Venture Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2014, Schedule I Part II; The Energy Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2011, Schedule I Part II; Greenpeace Inc., Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2014, Schedule I Part II; United States Public Interest Research Group Inc., Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2009, Schedule I Part II; United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2013, Schedule I Part II.
  27. “NEO Philanthropy.” The Atlantic Philanthropies. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/grantees/neo-philanthropy
  28. “NEO Leadership.” NEO. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://www.theneodifference.org/home/neo-leadership
  29. “NEO Leadership.” NEO. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://www.theneodifference.org/home/neo-leadership
  30. NEO Philanthropy, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2015, Part VII

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Lisa Versaci
    Director (State Infrastructure Fund)

Donation Recipients

  1. ACLU Foundation of Texas (Non-profit)
  2. Advancement Project (Non-profit)
  3. Alliance for Justice (Non-profit)
  4. America Votes (Non-profit)
  5. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation (Non-profit)
  6. American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (Non-profit)
  7. American Family Voices (Non-profit)
  8. American Friends Service Committee (Non-profit)
  9. American Immigration Council (Non-profit)
  10. American Sustainable Business Council (Non-profit)
  11. Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Civic Engagement Fund (Non-profit)
  12. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC (Non-profit)
  13. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta (Non-profit)
  14. Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) (Non-profit)
  15. Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Foundation (Non-profit)
  16. Blueprint NC (Non-profit)
  17. CASA de Maryland (Non-profit)
  18. Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL) Education Fund (Non-profit)
  19. Center for American Progress (CAP) (Non-profit)
  20. Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action) (Non-profit)
  21. Center for Community Change (CCC) Action (Non-profit)
  22. Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) (Non-profit)
  23. CHIRLA (Non-profit)
  24. Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund (Non-profit)
  25. Color of Change (Non-profit)
  26. Colorado Civic Engagement Roundtable (Non-profit)
  27. Colorofchange.org Education Fund (Non-profit)
  28. Common Cause Education Fund (Non-profit)
  29. Environmental Grantmakers Association (Non-profit)
  30. Faith in Public Life Action Fund (Non-profit)
  31. Florida Immigrant Coalition (Non-profit)
  32. GLSEN (Non-profit)
  33. Institute for Southern Studies (Non-profit)
  34. Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Non-profit)
  35. Leadership Conference Education Fund (Non-profit)
  36. League of Conservation Voters (LCV) (Non-profit)
  37. Make the Road New York (MRNY) (Non-profit)
  38. Media Matters Action Network (Non-profit)
  39. Media Matters for America (Non-profit)
  40. Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) (Non-profit)
  41. Movement Strategy Center (Non-profit)
  42. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (Non-profit)
  43. National Day Laborer Organizing Network (Non-profit)
  44. National Immigration Law Center (Non-profit)
  45. New Florida Majority Education Fund (Non-profit)
  46. New Organizing Institute Education Fund (Non-profit)
  47. New Venture Fund (Non-profit)
  48. New Virginia Majority Education Fund (Non-profit)
  49. New World Foundation (NWF) (Non-profit)
  50. Ohio Organizing Collaborative (Non-profit)
  51. Pacific Institute for Community Organizations (PICO National Network) (Non-profit)
  52. Planned Parenthood Action Fund (Non-profit)
  53. PolicyLink (Non-profit)
  54. Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (Non-profit)
  55. ProgressNow (Non-profit)
  56. Rock the Vote (Non-profit)
  57. State Voices (Non-profit)
  58. Tides Center (Non-profit)
  59. Transgender Law Center (Non-profit)
  60. UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) (Non-profit)
  61. United We Dream (Non-profit)
  62. Voces de la Frontera (Non-profit)
  63. Voter Participation Center (Non-profit)
  64. VoteVets Action Fund (Non-profit)
  65. Voto Latino (Non-profit)
  66. William J. Brennan Center for Justice (Non-profit)
  67. Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund (WVWVAF) (Non-profit)
  68. Working America Education Fund (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1984

  • 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
    2015 Dec Form 990 $39,361,192 $39,701,506 $22,850,503 $2,078,976 N $38,892,928 $356,978 $139,787 $921,044 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $51,747,439 $46,872,485 $26,376,645 $1,819,349 N $51,239,616 $352,160 $163,813 $710,235
    2013 Dec Form 990 $41,666,258 $38,578,027 $21,472,295 $1,843,839 N $41,190,902 $327,653 $140,510 $663,025 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $43,722,631 $42,281,349 $19,399,248 $2,760,341 N $43,089,557 $528,297 $166,948 $436,755 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $34,557,948 $32,847,684 $16,514,171 $1,369,128 N $33,780,257 $669,780 $170,484 $513,580 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $30,206,535 $30,510,933 $14,155,549 $801,639 N $29,417,139 $533,074 $301,225 $247,333 PDF

    Filings Without Data

    NEO Philanthropy

    45 W 36TH ST FL 6
    NEW YORK, NY 10018-7635