Non-profit

New Georgia Project

Website:

newgeorgiaproject.org

Location:

ATLANTA, GA

Tax ID:

82-1348307

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2020):

Revenue: $25,272,549
Expenses: $7,356,096
Assets: $18,504,908

Formation:

2014

Type of Organization:

Voter Registration and Voter Advocacy Organization

President/CEO:

Nse Ufot

New Georgia Project is a left-of-center voting and redistricting oriented organization formerly headed by then-Georgia State House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams. The organization was previously a fiscally sponsored project of NEO Philanthropy, a non-profit grantmaking entity that supports a number of left-of-center and liberal causes.

The organization advocates a left-progressive identity politics and aims to register largely Democratic-leaning non-white voters across the state of Georgia. The organization has faced accusations in of misreporting voter registration statistics, mismanaging organization funds, and violating campaign ethics laws.

Criticism and Controversy

2014 Mismanagement Controversy

Stacey Abrams, former state House Democratic Leader, failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate, and vocal left-of-center advocate, previously served as the CEO and founder of New Georgia Project. She faced accusations of financial mismanagement for taking a salary of $177,500 while working only 20 hours per week for the organization. The organization was also accused of financial mismanagement for paying more than $1.5 million to a Washington, D.C. based voter registration firm rather than using any of its own methods. The organization, though it raised more than $3 million, also failed to meet its quota for registering voters in Georgia. While Abrams claimed the organization would be able to register 120,000 voters in the same year, it registered only 46,000. [1]

2018 Violations of Campaign Ethics Laws

In 2019, a Georgia state ethics commission complaint alleged that the New Georgia Project and the New Georgia Project Action Fund had “illegally canvassed for Democratic candidates including [Stacey] Abrams, used phone bank scripts pushing people to vote Democratic and included “#teamAbrams” in social media posts soliciting donations” during the 2018 election cycle. The complaint claimed that, in total, the New Georgia Project had failed to disclose more than $3 million in illicit electioneering expenses and $4 million in political contributions to state authorities between 2017 and 2019. [2]

The ethics commission proceeded with an investigation, and obtained the bank records of both the New Georgia Project and the New Georgia Project Action Fund via subpoenas in 2019. Within the records investigators reportedly found evidence that the organizations had paid $36,000 to a printing company to produce “doorknockers” that featured a list of Democrats to vote for in the 2018 election. [3]

On August 1, 2022, the state ethics commission decided, in a unanimous decision, that the complaint would move past the preliminary hearing stage, and that the New Georgia Project and its affiliated action fund had violated campaign ethics laws eight times. After the unanimous vote of the ethics commission the case moved forward to the office of state administration where a judge would pass final judgment. [4] As of August 23, 2022, no ruling has been made.

May 2022 – Group Chat and Digging for Racism Charges to Fire White Employee

In November 2022, screenshots were obtained by Fox News Digital of exchanges written in May 2022 between members of NGP leadership, including CEO Kendra Cotton, Chief Field and Organizing Officer Keron Blair, and Chief Technology Officer Gabe Posey; discussing how to justify firing a white female NGP staffer. According to the exchange, dubbed “T-Shirt Debacle,” the discussion and justification centered around how said employee, an NGP executive administrator, had placed an order for more units of a T-shirt that the organization already had a surplus of. [5] In response to how the administrator might file for wrongful termination should she be fired, Blair commented,

“If we are going to fire her or [terminate] her, then let’s make a strategic plan to do so… It can’t be based on something that falls apart with scrutiny. It has been my experience that young, white, seemingly progressive, lesbian women/men do not go quietly into the night…” [6]

Later on, Cotton suggested finding and using charges of racism as a justification for firing the administrator, commenting, “Let’s go the hostile work environment route and pull on the racism thread…” [7] An unidentified executive in the chat would later write, “We can’t do to this girl to what white folks have been doing to us for generations…Due process is all I’m saying…We need a RECORD.” [8]

An NGP spokesperson later commented to Fox News Digital that the organization, “…does not believe in drumming up false racism charges to justify firing an employee.” [9] The spokesperson also claimed that it was Melissa Koefod, then-Chief Operating Officer of NGP and also on the exchange, who had brought up charges of racism against the female employee but due to not submitting receipts of such exchanges, the company did not allow charges to proceed. Koefod responded by claiming that she did forward concerns brought up by NGP organizers to company leadership, but she believed that leadership staff was afraid to fire the staffer as they feared the female employee had records of the CEO “infantilizing and bullying her for being white.” [10] Koefor also noted she was “surprised at first at how fearful they were of former employees thinking, why be so scared if you aren’t doing anything wrong.”[11]

June 2022 – Firing of CFO Ralph Fraizer

On November 4, 2022, according to the Washington Free Post, an anonymous executive within the company claimed that NGP Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ralph Fraizer had been fired from his position in June 2022 after requesting leadership to hire a forensics accountant in order to look over company finances as well as warning executives that “he couldn’t do his job without violating the law…” due to them engaging in “improper financial impropriety” [12] and that they must bring in a forensic accountant to “right the ship.” [13] An anonymous former executive also noted that CEO Cotton had rejected a request by the then-Chief Operating Officer to hire a new accountant in August 2022 by texting them, “We are HYPER SENSITIVE about who we let around our financial info,” [14] Frazier, due to signing a non-disclosure agreement, did not comment on the story, but according to the Washington Free Beacon, on November 3rd the NGP sent a text message to its employees stating that speaking with the press was a violation of their “Contact the Media” policy and that those who were approached by press should inform their supervisors immediately [15] As of November 4th, several executive positions within the NGP remain vacant including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Legal Officer, and Chief Communications Officer. [16]

Identity Politics

New Georgia Project is open about its advocacy for race- and ethnicity-based identity politics. The organization advertises on its website the goal of registering all voters “of color” in the state of Georgia. The organization claims that voting right of people of color are “under attack” and that the state willfully prevents people of color from voting. [17]

NGP partners with religious organizations with predominately African-American congregations to host voter registration drives and to educate congregants of voter rights. NGP also hosts an online left-of-center and liberal forum it calls “Forum for Faith and Politics,” to push identity politics. Speaking topics have included titles such as, “Politics, Black Liberation, and Theologies of Resistance,” a podcast in which executive director for NGP, Nse Ufot, discussed extreme liberal race politics with Michael Honor, a pastor at a Georgia church and author on similarly motivated issues. [18]

People

Chairman of the board of directors, Francys Johnson, is a left-leaning activist and civil rights lawyer. Johnson assumed the post in 2020 after Democratic senate hopeful, Ralph Warnock, stepped down. Previously, Johnson served as president of the Georgia NAACP.

Raphael Warnock was the former chair of the board of directors for NGP, serving in the position from 2017 t0 2019. Warnock is a pastor in Georgia and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. His campaign for public office runs primarily on the sentiment of beating the GOP and stopping Trump administration agendas. He runs on the slogan, “Turn Georgia Blue.” [19] [20] He was tapped by the Obama administration to deliver numerous prayers and dedications for Presidential events during Barack Obama’s presidency. [21]

Nse Ufot is the executive director and CEO of NGP. Ufot previously worked as a lawyer in the Atlanta, Georgia area and serves in a number of capacities for organizations in the area. Ufot’s time as an attorney was spent negotiating labor contracts. She also worked in the political arm of AFSCME, a large labor union representing government workers. [22]

Funding and Associated Organizations

The New Georgia Project received a grant of an undisclosed amount in 2020 from the Marguerite Casey Foundation, a left-of-center grantmaking entity, as part of a $5 million grantmaking effort that the foundation dedicated to increasing voter engagement from left-leaning demographics across the country. [23] It also received a grant in 2015 of an undisclosed amount from the Northstar Fund, a New York based left-of-center grantmaking entity. [24] The group also received grants of undisclosed amounts from Democracy Fund, a left-of-center grantmaking organization which funds a variety of left-of-center and liberal entities. [25]

New Georgia Project is a partner organization with the Center for Popular Democracy, a left-of-center multi-issue organizing and press group funded and endorsed by a plethora of liberal grantmaking entities such as Democracy Alliance and the Ford Foundation. [26]

References

  1. “The new New Georgia Project: Stacey Abrams’s $10 million plan to double down on voter registration.” Atlanta Magazine. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/the-new-new-georgia-project-stacey-abramss-10-million-plan-to-double-down-on-voter-registration/. ^
  2. Hurt, Emma. “State Alleges $3 Million in Unreported Spending by Abrams-Founded Group.” Axios, July 14, 2022. https://www.axios.com/local/atlanta/2022/07/14/stacey-abrams-funded-group-political-spending-georgia. ^
  3. Dunlap, Stanley. “Georgia Ethics Panel Dusts off Inquiry into Spending by Abrams-Founded Nonprofits.” Georgia Public Broadcasting. Accessed August 23, 2022. https://www.gpb.org/news/2022/08/02/georgia-ethics-panel-dusts-off-inquiry-spending-by-abrams-founded-nonprofits. ^
  4. Elliot, Richard. “New Georgia Project Says They’re ‘Unsurprised’ Ethics Commission Found Violations Against Group.” WSB. WSB-TV Channel 2 – Atlanta, August 1, 2022. https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/new-georgia-project-says-theyre-unsurprised-ethics-commission-found-violations-against-group/JXTBLZRVPVDW7F3CUBQC5WB5QI/. ^
  5. Keene, Houston and Joe Schoffstall. “Execs at Stacey Abrams-founded group weighed digging up racism charges to fire White employee.” Fox News, November 4, 2022. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/execs-stacey-abrams-founded-group-weighed-digging-up-racism-charges-fire-white-employee ^
  6. Keene, Houston and Joe Schoffstall. “Execs at Stacey Abrams-founded group weighed digging up racism charges to fire White employee.” Fox News, November 4, 2022. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/execs-stacey-abrams-founded-group-weighed-digging-up-racism-charges-fire-white-employee ^
  7. Keene, Houston and Joe Schoffstall. “Execs at Stacey Abrams-founded group weighed digging up racism charges to fire White employee.” Fox News, November 4, 2022. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/execs-stacey-abrams-founded-group-weighed-digging-up-racism-charges-fire-white-employee ^
  8. Keene, Houston and Joe Schoffstall. “Execs at Stacey Abrams-founded group weighed digging up racism charges to fire White employee.” Fox News, November 4, 2022. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/execs-stacey-abrams-founded-group-weighed-digging-up-racism-charges-fire-white-employee ^
  9. Keene, Houston and Joe Schoffstall. “Execs at Stacey Abrams-founded group weighed digging up racism charges to fire White employee.” Fox News, November 4, 2022. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/execs-stacey-abrams-founded-group-weighed-digging-up-racism-charges-fire-white-employee ^
  10. Keene, Houston and Joe Schoffstall. “Execs at Stacey Abrams-founded group weighed digging up racism charges to fire White employee.” Fox News, November 4, 2022. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/execs-stacey-abrams-founded-group-weighed-digging-up-racism-charges-fire-white-employee ^
  11. Keene, Houston and Joe Schoffstall. “Execs at Stacey Abrams-founded group weighed digging up racism charges to fire White employee.” Fox News, November 4, 2022. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/execs-stacey-abrams-founded-group-weighed-digging-up-racism-charges-fire-white-employee ^
  12. Kerr, Andrew and Joseph Simonson. “Days Before Election, Stacey Abrams’s ‘Poster Child’ Voter Registration Group is in Turmoil.” The Washington Free Beacon, November 4, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/elections/days-before-election-stacey-abramss-poster-child-voter-registration-group-is-in-turmoil/  ^
  13. Kerr, Andrew and Joseph Simonson. “Days Before Election, Stacey Abrams’s ‘Poster Child’ Voter Registration Group is in Turmoil.” The Washington Free Beacon, November 4, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/elections/days-before-election-stacey-abramss-poster-child-voter-registration-group-is-in-turmoil/  ^
  14. Kerr, Andrew and Joseph Simonson. “Days Before Election, Stacey Abrams’s ‘Poster Child’ Voter Registration Group is in Turmoil.” The Washington Free Beacon, November 4, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/elections/days-before-election-stacey-abramss-poster-child-voter-registration-group-is-in-turmoil/  ^
  15. note] Kerr, Andrew and Joseph Simonson. “Days Before Election, Stacey Abrams’s ‘Poster Child’ Voter Registration Group is in Turmoil.” The Washington Free Beacon, November 4, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/elections/days-before-election-stacey-abramss-poster-child-voter-registration-group-is-in-turmoil/  ^
  16. Kerr, Andrew and Joseph Simonson. “Days Before Election, Stacey Abrams’s ‘Poster Child’ Voter Registration Group is in Turmoil.” The Washington Free Beacon, November 4, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/elections/days-before-election-stacey-abramss-poster-child-voter-registration-group-is-in-turmoil/  ^
  17. “Our History.” New Georgia Project. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://newgeorgiaproject.org/history/. ^
  18. “Loose the Chains Faith Agenda.” New Georgia Project. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://newgeorgiaproject.org/loose-the-chains-faith-agenda/. ^
  19. “About our Campaign.” Warnock for Georgia. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://warnockforgeorgia.com/. ^
  20. “Donate.” Warnock for Georgia/ActBlue.com. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/wfg_ads-a?amount=25&recurring=1&amounts=25,50,100,250,500,1000,2800&refcode=ads_alw_gs_brand_d2d_nat&gclid=Cj0KCQjws_r0BRCwARIsAMxfDRgnnjbwpdOC2-JBOhz_FgijpdC36l-yZ8zvFxx9YyNNmJJDg6gnG00aAk9pEALw_wcB. ^
  21. “Our Pastor.” Ebenezer Atlanta Church. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://www.ebenezeratl.org/our-pastor/. ^
  22. “Interview With Nse Ufot.” BlackHer.us. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://blackher.us/on-creating-a-culture-of-civic-engagement-that-is-grounded-in-love-an-interview-with-nse-ufot/. ^
  23. “Casey Foundation gives $5 million for Voter Engagement.” Casey Foundation. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://caseygrants.org/who-we-are/inside-mcf/marguerite-casey-foundation-gives-5m-for-voter-engagement/. ^
  24. “Northstar Fund Annual Report.” Northstar Fund. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://northstarfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/North_Star_Fund_2015_Annual_Report.pdf. ^
  25. “Portfolio, Our Investees.” Democracy Fund. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://www.democracyfund.org/portfolio/entry/new-georgia-project. ^
  26. “Partners.” Center for Popular Democracy. Accessed April 21, 2020. https://populardemocracy.org/our-partners/new-georgia-project. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Stacey Abrams
    Founder and Former Leader
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2019

  • 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
    2020 Dec Form 990 $25,272,549 $7,356,096 $18,504,908 $616,143 N $24,510,646 $757,946 $3,957 $300,320
    2019 Dec Form 990 $1,636,327 $1,911,849 $311,249 $359,596 N $1,636,327 $0 $0 $118,232 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $1,919,960 $1,693,546 $428,293 $201,117 N $1,919,960 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $74,546 $71,020 $762 $0 N $74,546 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    New Georgia Project

    A231 65 COURTLAND STREET
    ATLANTA, GA 30303-0000