Non-profit

Netroots Nation

Location:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tax ID:

20-4465717

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $1,232,755
Expenses: $1,140,609
Assets: $138,936

Type:

Annual Convention

Netroots Nation is as an annual convention that aims to train and amplify the efforts of liberal bloggers and online activists.[1] The convention has become a staple of the Democratic political circuit[2] and has been labeled by multiple publications as the largest liberal gathering in the country. [3]

Since its inception, Netroots Nation has featured speeches from nearly every major Democratic politician including then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and a wide array of other notable liberal politicians.[4]

The conference is sponsored by a long list of left-of-center organizations including Planned Parenthood, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, Daily Kos, and Moveon.org. [5]

According to Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the liberal blog Daily Kos, [6] Netroots participants are notably left-leaning, generally disliking Hillary Clinton as too moderate, especially on issues of national security.[7] In 2016, Time described Netroots attendees as “much more excited about Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders” as a potential Democratic Presidential nominee.[8]

Each year’s conference includes a number of panels that seek to help left-leaning organizations mobilize activists and advocate for liberal issue positions. Previous panels have focused on union corporate campaigns and union issue advocacy. Other panels have focused on environmental advocacy, sought to advance Sen. Bernie Sanders’ congressional agenda, and called for participants to oppose then-candidate Donald Trump.

Organizational Overview

Also see Netroots Foundation (nonprofit)

Netroots Nation is as an annual convention and series of regional salons that aim to train and amplify the efforts of liberal bloggers and online activists.[9] The convention features three-days of workshops, discussions, panels, and speeches from liberal leaders [10] and has become a staple of the Democratic political circuit.[11] In 2017 the liberal blog Huffington Post blog labeled Netroots Nation “The Nation’s Largest Progressive Gathering”[12] and TIME called it “the largest gathering of the liberal grassroots in the country.”[13]

Netroots Nation conferences have featured a number of invite-only events including a Media Matters For America-sponsored “VIP reception” and a meeting between then-Senator Barack Obama and a select group of liberal bloggers.[14]

The Netroots Nation conference was originally known as the YearlyKos Convention, named after Markos Moulitsas, founder of the liberal Daily Kos blog and an early leader in the liberal online “netroots” movement. [15]

YearlyKos Convention organizers re-branded the conference Netroots Nation in August 2007.[16] Netroots refers to the community of liberal bloggers that use the internet for political advocacy and mobilization.[17]

Netroots Nation was originally a project of Bloggerpower.org, and is currently registered as a 501(c)(4) organization. [18] It is associated with the 501(c)(3) Netroots Foundation.[19]

History

The first Netroots Nation convention (then known as the YearlyKos Conference) took place in June 2006 and was attended by 1,200 liberal activists, representatives from liberal organizations, Democratic politicians, and bloggers. The New York Times reported that it was hard to find a single Republican in the crowd at the convention.[20] The speakers at the first convention included former Democratic candidate for President Wesley Clark, then-U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Harry Reid (D-Nevada), then-Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean, former Ambassador and Bush administration critic Joe Wilson, and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner (D).[21]

In 2007, the second annual Netroots Nation conference was attended representatives of a number of left-leaning national interest groups, think tanks, and media outlets, as well as seven of the eight Democratic candidates for president including then-U.S. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama and former U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-N.C.). [22]

In 2011, a conservative online activism conference took place in Minneapolis at the same time as Netroots Nation. This led to a shouting match between attendees when conservative online publisher Andrew Breitbart tried to enter the Netroots Conference. In response, Netroots Nation sought to shut down similar occurrences at future conference sites by attempting to ban conservative gatherings from using the host city’s convention center and hotels during Netroots weekend.[23]

Relation to Hillary Clinton

Netroots Nation participants have opposed Hillary Clinton for her comparatively moderate political stances. In 2006, as the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton declined an invitation to attend the convention because of her unpopularity with the participants who reportedly opposed her initial support for the 2003 Iraq War authorization.[24]

The following year, Clinton attended the conference, but her appearances were marked by boos and criticisms from event participants.[25]

Then again in 2015, Clinton skipped the conference due in part to a lack of support for her candidacy by convention-goers. Instead Time described Netroots Nation attendees as “much more excited about Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.”[26]

Conference Activities

Speeches

Netroots Nation’s keynote speeches have featured appearances by former Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President and Democratic nominee for President Al Gore, left-wing CNN commentator Van Jones, and a forum with seven Democratic candidates for president including then-Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. [27]

The conference has also featured Q&A sessions with Democratic congressional leaders such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Bernie Sanders.[28]

Panels and Workshops

Netroots Nation conferences include multiple types of workshops. The conferences’ big picture sessions address long-term liberal value items, such as sessions focused on “pivoting left” or a progressive vision for a universal basic income. [29] Other conference sessions help liberal organizations to learn new campaign strategies and mobilization tactics.[30]

Other sessions focused on liberal issues and how liberals can seek to move those specific issues forward, many of these panels are sponsored by or feature speakers from notable left-wing groups.[31]

Past Conference Agendas

The 2017 Netroots Nation conference focused on building a liberal infrastructure outside of the Democratic Party to turn out voters who might be turned off by Democratic politicians.[32] The conference included sessions led by Moveon.org promoting a “Resistance Summer” in support of liberal policies, and another panel led by Our Revolution, a left-wing advocacy group founded by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Presidential campaign, sought to get congressional Democrats on record supporting eight left-wing bills designed to ease voter registration, create government-controlled health insurance, raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and reform the criminal justice system.[33]

The 2017 conference included a keynote address from left-wing Sen. Elizabeth Warren in which Warren refused to move towards a more moderate political agenda, while at the same time espousing a wide array of liberal policies.[34] Other speakers at the conference included former Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), the controversial deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee.[35]

The 2016 conference agenda addressed a number of liberal issues including abortion, [36] LGBT interest movements,[37] and the left-wing economic agenda. [38] The conference also included panels focused on opposing then-candidate Donald Trump.[39]

On environmental issues, a 2016 panel sponsored by NextGen Climate sought to help liberal environmentalists effectively message their advocacy for environmental mandates, and another panel focused on ending domestic energy production on federal lands.[40]

Another main focus of 2016’s conference was race-based criminal justice issues. The conference hosted numerous sessions on this topic: One panel was titled “Police Terrorism Against Children of Color,”[41] and another titled “the Racist Policies that Built Ferguson (and Baltimore and Flint).” [42]

In 2015, the conference was held in Phoenix, Arizona, and largely focused on issues related to illegal immigration. One conference panel called for activists to fight for illegal immigrant handouts at the state level, another attacked then-Maricopa County Sheriff and anti-immigration gadfly Joe Arpaio (R), and yet another was entitled “Border Vigilantes and their Bullshit.” The conference also included a scheduled slot for attendees to participate in a march against Arpaio and in support of sanctuary city policies.[43]

In 2014, the conference was held in Detroit and again focused largely on union issues featuring prominent sponsorships from the AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and a barbeque event hosted by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) featuring supposed “Walmart strikers.”[44] The 2014 conference included panels instructing women on how they could push for gender-based mandatory worker handouts through solidarity, another focused on online union organizing, and another was subtitled “How the American Labor Movement is Securing LGBT Equality.”[45]

The 2013 conference had also included a number of panels focused on union organizing and related issues. One 2013 panel that featured the leader of the United Food and Commercial Workers-backed Making Change at Walmart corporate campaign taught activists how to effectively run corporate campaigns against large companies such as Walmart and Bank of America.[46] Another panel, which included AFL-CIO’s National Worker Center Coordinator, focused on labor organizing outside traditional labor unions.[47]

Funders

In 2015 Netroots Nation’s 501(c)(4) non-profit organization took in $1.2 million but the group doesn’t itemize its contributors.[48]

Netroots Nation instead provides a vague list of conference sponsors that include a wide-range of left-wing organizations including Daily Kos, I Am An Immigrant, Moveon.org, Planned Parenthood, DemList, EMILY’s List, NARAL Pro Choice America, Living Liberally, and the Sierra Club. It is also sponsored by a number of union organizations including the AFL-CIO, the Amalgamated Bank, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Communications Workers of America (CWA), the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), United Steelworkers, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.[49]

People

Gina Cooper was the founder[50] and first Executive Director of Netroots Nation.[51]She is currently a member of the organization’s Board of Directors.[52] In 2007, Cooper was a DailyKos Fellow and served on the advisory board of the Blue Fund.[53]

Raven Brooks served as the Executive Director of Netroots Nation through early 2017.[54] Previously Brooks served as the organization’s Director Of Finance And Operations. He got his start in politics by co-founding and leading BuyBlue.org and has served on the advisory board of the Blue Fund. [55]

Eric Thut is currently serving as Netroots Nations Interim Executive Director he has held this position since approximately March 2017.[56]

Arshad Hasan chairs Netroots Nation’s Board. Previously Hasan was the executive director of the left-wing political action committee Democracy For America from 2007-2013 and then for ProgressNow from 2013-2015. Arshad’s Netroots Nation biography indicates that he also worked to grow the influence of other liberal organizations including Greenpeace and #Movement2016/2017. [57]

References

  1. Stewart, Jon. “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” Comedy Central. August 7, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.cc.com/video-clips/ebiygj/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-yearly-kos-convention
  2. Nagourney, Adam. “Gathering Highlights Power of the Blog.” N.Y. Times. June 10, 2006. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/10/us/10bloggers.html
  3. Frizell, Sam. “Ghost of Hillary Clinton Haunts Liberal Convention.” Time. July 19, 2015. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://time.com/3963825/hillary-clinton-netroots-nation/
  4. “Keynotes.” Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/keynotes/
  5. “Sponsors: Netroots Nation.” Undated. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/partners/sponsors/
  6. Cillizza, Chris and Murray, Shailaigh. “The Net Roots’ Moment in the Sun.” Washington Post. August 5, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/04/AR2007080401320.html
  7. Nagourney, Adam “Gathering Highlights Power of the Blog.” N.Y. Times. June 10, 2006. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/10/us/10bloggers.html
  8. Frizell, Sam. “Ghost of Hillary Clinton Haunts Liberal Convention.” Time. July 19, 2015. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://time.com/3963825/hillary-clinton-netroots-nation/
  9. Stewart, Jon. “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” Comedy Central. August 7, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.cc.com/video-clips/ebiygj/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-yearly-kos-convention
  10. Nagourney, Adam. “Gathering Highlights Power of the Blog.” N.Y. Times. June 10, 2006. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/10/us/10bloggers.html
  11. Nagourney, Adam. “Gathering Highlights Power of the Blog.” N.Y. Times. June 10, 2006. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/10/us/10bloggers.html
  12. Nelson, Eliot. “The Nation’s Largest Progressive Gathering Disappoints Many.” Huffington Post. July 18, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/progressives-meet-up-accomplish-little_us_578be40be4b0867123e1ab5e
  13. Frizell, Sam. “Ghost of Hillary Clinton Haunts Liberal Convention.” Time. July 19, 2015. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://time.com/3963825/hillary-clinton-netroots-nation/
  14. Melber, Ari. “At YearlyKos, Netroots Come of Age.” August 6, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.thenation.com/article/yearlykos-netroots-come-age/
  15. Cillizza, Chris and Murray, Shailaigh. “The Net Roots’ Moment in the Sun.” Washington Post. August 5, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/04/AR2007080401320.html
  16. Netroots Nation: History. Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Archived November 10, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20071110154742/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/history
  17. “About Netroots Nation.” Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Archived November 10, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20071110154742/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/history
  18. “About Netroots Nation.” Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Archived July 27, 2011. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20110727122049/http://netrootsnation.org/about
  19. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax: Netroots Nation. Part I. 2015. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://990finder.foundationcenter.org/990results.aspx?990_type=&fn=netroots+nation&st=&zp=&ei=&fy=&action=Find
  20. Nagourney, Adam. “Gathering Highlights Power of the Blog.” N.Y. Times. June 10, 2006. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/10/us/10bloggers.html
  21. Netroots Nation: History. Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Archived November 10, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20071110154742/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/history
  22. Melber, Ari. “At YearlyKos, Netroots Come of Age.” August 6, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.thenation.com/article/yearlykos-netroots-come-age/
  23. Yadron, Danny. “Netroots Nation Tries to Keep Its Distance From RightOnline at 2012 Conference.” Wall Street Journal. June 21, 2011. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/06/21/netroots-nation-tries-to-keep-its-distance-from-rightonline-at-2012-conference/
  24. Nagourney, Adam “Gathering Highlights Power of the Blog.” N.Y. Times. June 10, 2006. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/10/us/10bloggers.html
  25. Melber, Ari. “At YearlyKos, Netroots Come of Age.” August 6, 2007. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.thenation.com/article/yearlykos-netroots-come-age/
  26. Frizell, Sam. “Ghost of Hillary Clinton Haunts Liberal Convention.” Time. July 19, 2015. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://time.com/3963825/hillary-clinton-netroots-nation/
  27. “Keynotes.” Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/keynotes/
  28. “Keynotes.” Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/keynotes/
  29. “Panels.” Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Archived September 20, 2017. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20170920185629/http://www.netrootsnation.org/panels-2/
  30. “Panels.” Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Archived September 20, 2017. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20170920185629/http://www.netrootsnation.org/panels-2/
  31. “Panels.” Netroots Nation Website. Undated. Archived September 20, 2017. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20170920185629/http://www.netrootsnation.org/panels-2/
  32. Weigel, David. “Progressives are building outside of the Democratic Party to win in 2018.” Washington Post. August 12, 2017. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/progressives-are-building-outside-of-the-democratic-party-to-win-in-2018/2017/08/12/689ec374-7ed1-11e7-83c7-5bd5460f0d7e_story.html?utm_term=.7239e2ab8e2f
  33. Weigel, David. “Progressives are building outside of the Democratic Party to win in 2018.” Washington Post. August 12, 2017. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/progressives-are-building-outside-of-the-democratic-party-to-win-in-2018/2017/08/12/689ec374-7ed1-11e7-83c7-5bd5460f0d7e_story.html?utm_term=.7239e2ab8e2f
  34. De Costa Klipa, Nik. “Read the massive speech Elizabeth Warren gave ripping moderate Democrats at Netroots Nation.” Boston Globe. August 13, 2017. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2017/08/13/read-the-massive-speech-elizabeth-warren-gave-ripping-moderate-democrats-at-netroots-nation
  35. Debendetti, Gabriel. “At Netroots, liberal activists demand full-throttle approach to Trump-Russia ties.” Politico. August 11, 2017. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/11/liberal-activists-netroots-atlanta-russia-trump-241556
  36. “Netroots Nation Panel: Moving Beyond Brogressives: Ensuring Economic Justice Includes Reproductive Justice.” Netroots Nation Website. July 14, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20160714171432/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/nn_events/nn-16/moving-beyond-brogressives-ensuring-economic-justice-includes-reproductive-justice
  37. “Netroots Nation Panel: #BlackQueerMagic: Black Feminism and Pop Culture as Resistance.” Netroots Nation Website. July 14, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20160622131349/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/nn_events/nn-16/blackqueermagic-black-feminism-and-pop-culture-as-resistance/
  38. “Netroots Nation Panel: Taking Bernie’s Political Revolution to Congress.” Archived May 22, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20160522203619/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/nn_events/nn-16/taking-bernies-political-revolution-to-congress/
  39. “Netroots Nation Panel: Defeating Trump: How Our Side Will Unite And Win the 2016 Presidential Election.” Netroots Nation Website. July 14, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20160622130606/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/nn_events/nn-16/defeating-trump-how-our-side-will-unite-and-win-the-2016-presidential-election/
  40. “Netroots Nation Panel: Keep It in the Ground: Getting the Federal Government Out of the Fossil Fuel Business.” Archived May 22, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20160522203512/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/nn_events/nn-16/keep-it-in-the-ground-getting-the-federal-government-out-of-the-fossil-fuel-business
  41. “Netroots Nation Panel: A Fathers Perspective: Police Terrorism Against Children of Color.” July 14, 2016. Archived June 29, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20160629100456/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/nn_events/nn-16/a-fathers-perspective-police-terrorism-against-children-of-color/
  42. “Our #NN16 agenda!” Netroots Nation Website. May 10, 2016. Archived June 10, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20160610051903/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/our-nn16-agenda
  43. Netroots Nation Program. 2015. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.scribd.com/doc/271378392/Netroots-Nation-2015
  44. Netroots Nation Program. 2014. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.scribd.com/document/233734144/Netoots-Nation-2014-Program
  45. Netroots Nation Program. 2014. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.scribd.com/document/233734144/Netoots-Nation-2014-Program
  46. “Netroots Nation Panel: Making Wall Street Tremble: Case Studies From Innovative Corporate Campaigns.” Netroots Nation Website. June 20, 2013. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/nn_events/nn-13/making-wall-street-tremble-case-studies/
  47. “Netroots Nation Panel: The Rise Of Alt-Labor: Organizing Outside Traditional Unions.” Nation Website. June 21, 2013. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/nn_events/nn-13/the-rise-of-alt-labor-organizing/
  48. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax: Netroots Nation. Part I. 2015. Accessed February 6, 2018. http://990finder.foundationcenter.org/990results.aspx?990_type=&fn=netroots+nation&st=&zp=&ei=&fy=&action=Find
  49. “Sponsors: Netroots Nation.” Undated. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/partners/sponsors/
  50. Netroots Nation: Staff. Undated. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/about/staff/
  51. Netroots Nation: Organizers. Undated. Archived December 20, 2007.  Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20071220194015/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/team
  52. Netroots Nation: Staff. Undated. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/about/staff/
  53. Netroots Nation: Organizers. Archived December 20, 2007.  Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20071220194015/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/team
  54. Netroots Nation: Staff. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/about/staff/
  55. Netroots Nation: Organizers. Archived December 20, 2007.  Accessed February 6, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20071220194015/http://www.netrootsnation.org:80/team
  56. Netroots Nation: Staff. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/about/staff/
  57. Netroots Nation: Staff. Undated. Accessed February 6, 2018. https://www.netrootsnation.org/about/staff/

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Mike Lux
    Former Board Member
  2. Jane Carter
    2017 Speaker
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: September - August
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2015

  • 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 Sep Form 990 $1,232,755 $1,140,609 $138,936 $67,611 N $813,263 $388,340 $0 $121,250
    2015 Sep Form 990 $1,241,058 $1,288,558 $27,989 $58,838 N $760,940 $430,644 $0 $113,498 PDF
    2014 Sep Form 990 $1,244,537 $1,198,379 $81,864 $75,460 N $669,208 $522,272 $0 $105,336 PDF
    2013 Sep Form 990 $1,215,736 $1,245,141 $27,305 $67,059 N $692,747 $475,989 $0 $89,675 PDF
    2012 Sep Form 990 $1,082,965 $1,130,853 $57,718 $68,067 N $667,754 $379,518 $0 $86,519 PDF
    2011 Sep Form 990 $1,156,294 $1,225,437 $92,146 $54,611 N $737,570 $405,368 $0 $170,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Netroots Nation

    1559B SLOAT BLVD STE 316
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94132-1222