New Venture Fund (NVF)




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $318,405,056
Expenses: $214,351,188
Assets: $264,453,055



Board Chair:

Eric Kessler


Lee Bodner

Managed By:

Arabella Advisors

The New Venture Fund (NVF) is a 501(c)(3) funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit that makes grants to left-of-center advocacy and organizing projects and provides incubation serves for other left-of-center organizations. The fund focuses primarily on social and environmental change, issuing grants for a variety of projects that include conservation, global health, disaster recovery, education, and the arts.[1]

Critics argue that New Venture Fund is a “dark money” organization, serving as a way for left-leaning groups to anonymously funnel money toward various advocacy issues, such as attacking vulnerable Republicans or pushing state-level environmental restrictions. [2]

NVF often operates alongside its 501(c)(4) “sister” nonprofit Sixteen Thirty Fund, which provides similar funding and fiscal sponsorship services to center-left advocacy organizations. Both groups are administered by Arabella Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropy consulting firm that caters to left-leaning clients. New Venture Fund’s board of directors includes officers from Arabella Advisors, including the firm’s principal Eric Kessler. The Hopewell Fund and Windward Fund are also 501(c)(3) nonprofits managed by Arabella Advisors that work closely with NVF and Sixteen Thirty Fund.


Allied Progress

Also see Allied Progress (Nonprofit)

In 2015, Allied Progress was formed using money from New Venture Fund to push for Congress not to overturn the country’s ban on crude oil exports. Allied Progress ran an ad campaign in Colorado, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, and New Mexico, urging voters to tell their senators they wanted to keep the ban.[3] Allied Progress Action is the sister to Allied Progress, and a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund.


New Venture Fund gave about $4 million to a failed Mississippi initiative in 2015 that would have given state judges power over school issues, including increased education spending.[4]

In a report over the National Education Association’s $138 million in spending in the 2016 fiscal year, Dropout Nation, an education reform website, pointed out the national teachers union gave $62,657 to New Venture Fund and $550,000 to Sixteen Thirty Fund, an endowment developed by Arabella Advisors.[5] Eric Kessler, the president and board chairman of New Venture Fund, also founded Arabella Advisors.[6]

Campaign for Accountability

SiliconBeat reported that New Venture Fund was behind Campaign for Accountability, which did extensive research into Google’s relationship with the Obama White House and created the Google Accountability Project, a website that pointed out the tech giant’s heavy influence with the Obama administration.[7] The publication noted that New Venture Fund has received financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ($94 million between 2014 and 2016) and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ($17 million during that period.)[8]


Eric Kessler serves as chairman of the board of directors. He founded and serves as senior managing director of Arabella Advisors, a social venture firm working to increase the effectiveness of philanthropy that works in conjunction with New Venture Fund.[9] Kessler helped manage conservation issues around the globe for the Clinton administration.[10]

Lee Bodner serves as New Venture Fund’s president, after previously serving as managing director of Arabella Advisors.[11] He was founding executive director of ecoAmerica, a nonprofit focusing on educating the American public on conservation issues. While there, Bodner helped launch the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which brought the climate change issue front and center in higher education.[12]

The most recent IRS 990 form for New Venture Fund listed Bodner’s total compensation as $181,257. Project director Karen Nussle is New Venture Fund’s highest-paid employee with total compensation of $363,311 in 2015.[13]


New Venture Fund lists revenue of $318,405,056 and expenses of $214,351,188 on its IRS 990 form for 2015. [14]

New Venture Fund reports providing grants for health and environmental issues on every populated continent on its IRS Form 990 tax filing.[15] Domestic recipients of New Venture Fund grants listed on the form include Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, Sierra Club Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Equality Virginia, and Feminist Majority Foundation. [16]


From 2007 to 2016, New Venture Fund reported contractor expenditures totaling $112,701,677. Of this, $50.5 million was paid to its management firm, Arabella Advisors. [17]

New Venture Fund Contractors
ContractorTotal (2007-2016)
Arabella Advisors$50,542,016
Tigercomm LLC$2,20,573
Fair Elections Legal Network$1,087,425
Ziemba Waid Public Affairs$114,623
Izaak Walton League of America Inc.$54,500
Home Front Communications$1,816,689
Ional Media Research Plan and Placement$997,787
Parthenon Group$605,000
Restone Strategy Group LLC$400,000
STTEP International$1,088,196
Turly Pictures$638,729
Global Health Strategies$475,203
Global Flight Relief$1516,838
Tempus Jets$586,248
Group Inc.$970,000
Ridgeback USA$659,998
Hilltop Public Solutions$2,499,822
Spitfire Strategies$405,153
Purpose Campaigns LLC$17,796,644
270 Strategies Inc$2,162,386
DCI Group AZ LLC$6,394,721
S&B Public Solutions LLC$1,232,689
Shepardson Stern & Kaminsky$2,887,402
Bullpen Integrated Marketing LLC$7,082,779
International Scholarship and Tuition SE$6,896,527


  1. “About New Venture Fund.” Accessed February 17, 2017.
  2. Markay, Lachan. “Over 100 Left-Wing Groups Sourced to DC Dark Money Outfit.” Washington Free Beacon. October 22, 2015. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  3. Northey, Hannah. “Dem strategist takes on oil industry – despite the odds.” E&E News. September 10, 2015. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  4. Wilson, Steve. “New Venture Fund gave more than $5 million to Mississippi initiative fight.” Watchdog. November 16, 2015. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  5. Biddle, Reshawn. “NEA’s $138 Million Political Spree.” Dropout Nation. November 30, 2016. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  6. New Venture Fund Board of Directors page. Accessed February 17, 2017.
  7. Baron, Ethan. “Google’s secretive and deep-pocketed foe heavily funded by Gates, Hewlett foundations.” SiliconBeat. July 19, 2016. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  8. Baron, Ethan. “Google’s secretive and deep-pocketed foe heavily funded by Gates, Hewlett foundations.” SiliconBeat. July 19, 2016. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  9. New Venture Fund Board of Directors page. Accessed February 17, 2017.
  10. New Venture Fund Board of Directors page. Accessed February 17, 2017.
  11. New Venture Fund Staff Biographies page. Accessed February 20, 2017.
  12. New Venture Fund Staff Biographies page. Accessed February 20, 2017.
  13. New Venture Fund IRS 990 form. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  14. New Venture Fund IRS 990 form. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  15. New Venture Fund IRS 990 form. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  16. New Venture Fund IRS 990 form. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  17. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). New Venture Fund (2007 – 2016). Part VII, Section B (Independent Contractors.)

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Wilbur Priester
    Chief Financial Officer and Board Member
  2. Andrew Schulz
    General Counsel and Board Member
  3. Kyle Herrig
    Board Member
  4. Thomas Gibian
    Board Member
  5. Katherine Miller
    Board Secretary
  6. Yanique Redwood
    Board Member
  7. Lee Bodner
  8. Eric Kessler
    Board Chair
  9. Arkadi Gerney
    Project Director
  10. Bruce Boyd
    Senior Advisor

Donor Organizations

  1. American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) (Labor Union)
  2. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Non-profit)
  3. American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (Labor Union)
  4. Angell Foundation (Non-profit)
  5. Annenberg Foundation (Non-profit)
  6. Ben & Jerry’s Foundation (Non-profit)
  7. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Non-profit)
  8. Blue Moon Fund (Cassiopeia Foundation) (Non-profit)
  9. Broad Foundation (Non-profit)
  10. Campion Foundation (Non-profit)
  11. Carnegie Corporation of New York (Non-profit)
  12. Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  13. Chestnut Fund (Non-profit)
  14. David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Non-profit)
  15. David Bohnett Foundation (Non-profit)
  16. David Rockefeller Fund (Non-profit)
  17. Democracy Fund (Non-profit)
  18. Ford Foundation (Non-profit)
  19. Foundation to Promote Open Society (Non-profit)
  20. Gill Foundation (Non-profit)
  21. Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation (Non-profit)
  22. Howard G. Buffett Foundation (Non-profit)
  23. Joyce Foundation (Non-profit)
  24. Kendeda Fund (Non-profit)
  25. Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust (Non-profit)
  26. Leonard & Sophie Davis Fund (Non-profit)
  27. McKnight Foundation (Non-profit)
  28. Moriah Fund (Non-profit)
  29. Musk Foundation (Non-profit)
  30. National Education Association (NEA) (Labor Union)
  31. NEO Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  32. NoVo Foundation (Non-profit)
  33. Pew Charitable Trusts (Non-profit)
  34. Public Welfare Foundation (Non-profit)
  35. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) (Non-profit)
  36. Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Non-profit)
  37. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (Non-profit)
  38. S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation (Non-profit)
  39. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) (Labor Union)
  40. Sixteen Thirty Fund (Non-profit)
  41. Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation (Non-profit)
  42. Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (Non-profit)
  43. Tiffany & Co. Foundation (Non-profit)
  44. TomKat Charitable Trust (Non-profit)
  45. W. K. Kellogg Foundation (Non-profit)
  46. Walton Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  47. Weingart Foundation (Non-profit)
  48. Western Conservation Foundation (Non-profit)
  49. Wilburforce Foundation (Non-profit)
  50. William Penn Foundation (Non-profit)
  51. Wyss Foundation (Non-profit)

Donation Recipients

  1. (Non-profit)
  2. Advancement Project (Non-profit)
  3. America Votes (Non-profit)
  4. American Bird Conservancy (Non-profit)
  5. Blueprint NC (Non-profit)
  6. Business for Social Responsibility (Non-profit)
  7. CASA de Maryland (Non-profit)
  8. Center for American Progress (CAP) (Non-profit)
  9. Center for Media Justice (Non-profit)
  10. Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) (Non-profit)
  11. Ceres (Non-profit)
  12. (Non-profit)
  13. Economic Innovation Group (Non-profit)
  14. Energy Action Coalition (Non-profit)
  15. Environment America Research and Policy Center (Non-profit)
  16. Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) (Non-profit)
  17. Feminist Majority Foundation (Non-profit)
  18. Ford Foundation (Non-profit)
  19. Free Press (Non-profit)
  20. Gill Foundation (Non-profit)
  21. Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation (Non-profit)
  22. Guttmacher Institute (Non-profit)
  23. ISAIAH (Non-profit)
  24. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (Non-profit)
  25. League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) (Non-profit)
  26. Media Matters for America (Non-profit)
  27. Movement Strategy Center (Non-profit)
  28. National Urban League (Non-profit)
  29. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (Non-profit)
  30. Nature Conservancy (Non-profit)
  31. NEO Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  32. New America (New America Foundation) (Non-profit)
  33. Ohio Organizing Collaborative (Non-profit)
  34. Partnership Project (Non-profit)
  35. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (Non-profit)
  36. Sierra Club Foundation (Non-profit)
  37. Sixteen Thirty Fund (Non-profit)
  38. State Voices (Non-profit)
  39. Trout Unlimited (Non-profit)
  40. U.S. Peace Corps (Government Agency)
  41. Urban Institute (Non-profit)
  42. We Mean Business Coalition (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2007

  • 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 $318,405,056 $214,351,188 $264,453,055 $34,360,980 N $315,729,299 $2,100,649 $620,682 $160,833 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $179,424,945 $134,487,602 $143,413,906 $17,602,708 N $177,897,024 $1,222,950 $341,155 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $112,942,320 $74,982,490 $85,262,349 $4,388,494 N $111,843,284 $906,840 $192,196 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $52,519,099 $39,574,786 $44,254,337 $1,340,312 N $51,601,903 $764,640 $152,556 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $36,542,348 $24,722,363 $32,883,497 $2,913,785 N $35,238,110 $1,138,686 $162,836 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    New Venture Fund (NVF)

    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-2656