Non-profit

NoVo Foundation

Website:

novofoundation.org/

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

47-0824753

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)-PF

Budget (2014):

Revenue: $157,258,145
Expenses: $107,232,270
Assets: $527,185,379

Formation:

2006

Type:

Grantmaking Foundation

President:

Peter Buffett

The NoVo Foundation is the private foundation controlled by Peter Buffett, son of investor and left-of-center philanthropist Warren Buffett, and Peter’s wife Jennifer. Warren provided the initial donation of 350,000 shares of Berkshire Hathaway valued at $1,000,000,000. [1] The foundation directs millions each year to left-of-center groups advocating for abortion, LGBT interests, and liberal economics.

Peter Buffett and his wife Jennifer are the co-presidents of NoVo, as well as co-chairs of the board of directors.

Background

Jennifer Buffett has funded community projects in Milwaukee since 1997. [2] Jennifer currently serves on the board of V-Day, a feminist advocacy group founded by Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler. [3] Peter Buffett is known as a musician, composer, and television producer. [4]

The Buffetts founded NoVo in 2006 when Warren Buffett provided funding as part of his pledge to give away the majority of his fortune to charity. [5]

Ideologically, the Buffetts functionally align with the anti-capitalist left. Peter wrote a New York Times opinion piece condemning micro-lending and financial literacy writing through these programs “People will certainly learn how to integrate into our system of debt and repayment with interest. People will rise above making $2 a day to enter our world of goods and services so they can buy more. But doesn’t all this just feed the beast?”[6]

Associations with Other Left-of-Center Funders

NoVo supports a number of community foundations, liberal donor-advised funds, and left-of-center incubators which support liberal advocacy. In 2016, NoVo gave $21,913,104 to the Tides Foundation to support a large number of special projects including Feminist.com Foundation, Student Voice, and the European Women’s Lobby. [7]

NoVo provided Community Initiatives of San Francisco with $250,000. [8] Community Initiatives funds many left-of-center projects which support environmentalists, LGBT activists, and liberal media projects. [9]  NoVo maintains a donor-advised fund through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation; in 2016, NoVo provided the fund with $471,500. [10] The Greater Milwaukee Foundation funds left-wing groups and projects such as Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, liberal get out the vote campaigns, and environmentalist groups. [11]

The Ms. Foundation for Women obtained $2,150,000 from NoVo for “general support.” [12] The Ms. Foundation gives to a host of left-wing groups including Adhikaar for Human Rights, Blueprint NC, Miami Workers Center, Planned Parenthood, and National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. [13] The Ms. Foundation has presented Jennifer and Peter Buffett with the foundation’s Gloria Award, named after Ms. Foundation founder Gloria Steinem. [14]

NEO Philanthropy received $216,450 from NoVo. [15] NEO is a left-wing clearinghouse that allows progressives to pull their funding to back projects across the country. [16] NoVo gave $186,450 to the “just economics playbook” and $30,000 to the End Rape on Campus (EROC) project. EROC opposed Secretary of Education Betsy Devos revoking controversial Obama administration guidance on how colleges were to investigate sexual assault, which critics argued (and some courts agreed[17]) did not provide due process for accused students. [18]

Novo gave $2,250,000 to the New Venture Fund (NVF), which spends hundreds of millions on behalf of left-wing causes each year. [19] NVF is a “dark-money” group that allows liberal activists to spend millions on left-wing campaigns while being cloaked in anonymity. [20] Campaigns NVF has funded included a liberal education ballot measure in Mississippi, ads targeting Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and ballot measure in Colorado increasing taxes on oil and gas companies. [21]

New World Foundation (NWF) was the beneficiary of a $5,441,529 in grants from NoVo. [22] NWF supports various liberal initiatives through its funds. The New Majority Fund supports illegal immigrants and often works with the Phoenix Fund for Workers and Communities to aid labor unions. [23] NWF backs environmentalist projects through the Climate Action Fund. [24]

NoVo is a partner of the liberal mega-donor collective Democracy Alliance. [25] The group focused on helping Democratic candidates during the 2018 election through turning out young and minority liberal voters. One group funded by Democracy Alliance was Living United for Change in Arizona. The group paid canvassers to go door to door to turn out voters for Arizona Democrats including Kyrsten Sinema for U.S. Senate, David Garcia for governor, and other down-ballot left-wing candidates. [26]

According to tax filings, NoVo Foundation has funded a substantial donor-advised fund through the Tides Foundation, a left-wing ideological provider of donor-advised funds. It is reportedly a member of the secretive left-wing donor convening Democracy Alliance.[27]

Project Funding

LGBT Interests

NoVo provided $350,000 to Borealis Philanthropy for its Fund for Trans Generations. [28] The fund is used to support transgender activists and organizations. In 2019, the fund provided financial support to over 50 transgender-interests projects. [29]

National LGBTQ Task Force received $100,000 from NoVo. [30] Founded in 1973, the task force calls itself the oldest LGBT rights group in the United States and began pushing Democrats towards embracing LGBT interests in the 1970s. [31] The National LGBTQ Task Force supports legal protections for the LGBT community, abortion, and the inclusion of sexual orientation in the census. [32]

NoVo founded the Create, Connect, Transform project with Allied Media Projects (AMP). Over four years, NoVo will give AMP $3,000,000 for local organizing in Detroit to “fuel social justice, media, art, and technology innovations.” [33] AMP, along with the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, gave funding to Detroit REPRESENT! a group that discusses injustices facing LGBTQ youth of color and make media projects to address it. [34]

NoVo gave $300,000 to the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project (BLMP) founded by the Transgender Law Center. [35] The project seeks to highlight how law enforcement and the immigration system targets Black LGBT migrants. The project was started with the support of the Open Society Foundations Soros Justice Fellowship. [36]

Pro-Abortion and Feminist Groups

Equality Now received $1,450,000 from NoVo. [37] Equality Now advocates for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a longstanding goal of the American left-wing. [38] The ERA bans discrimination “on account of sex,” which Equality Now claims could codify into the Constitution legal protections for the LGBT community. [39] Equality Now also supports the expansion of abortion. [40]

NoVo gave Forward Together, a group that pushes a pro-abortion agenda, $200,000. [41] [42] Forward Together has lobbied for paid leave and the expansion of government healthcare programs. [43]

The Global Fund for Women received $250,000 from Novo. [44] The Global Fund for Women advocates for increased access to abortion around the world and celebrated the passage of laws allowing abortion in Chile and Ireland. [45]

The International Planned Parenthood Federation received $296,668 from NoVo. [46] The federation supports U.S. foreign aid dollars going to abortion providers and supports global abortion access. [47] [48]

Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) was given $1,500,000 from NoVo earmarked for the Economic Justice for Women (EJW) project. [49] Starting in 2008, EJW began advocating for paid family leave and has since expanded to also push for paid medical leave. [50] The other areas RFF is active in are environmental projects focused on global warming and liberal electoral reforms. [51]

Left-of-Center Economics

Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) received $500,000 from NoVo. [52] CPD is connected to left-wing organizations with its board members having worked for the NAACP, AFL-CIO, and the American Civil Liberties Union. [53] Past CPD campaigns include providing over $1,000,000 to support a ballot measure in Colorado in increase the minimum wage and “fair workweek” legislation which put burdens on business which made it hard to hire part time workers. [54] [55]

NoVo gave Demos $200,000. [56] Demos is associated with Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and promotes leftist economic policies such as raising taxes, expanding the welfare state, and socialized healthcare. [57] [58]

The Institute for Policy Studies, a left-wing D.C. think tank, takes support from NoVo. [59] The group’s connection to left-wing causes date back to when its founders left the Democratic Kennedy Administration and supported the anti-war movement in the 1960s. [60] The institute supports a death tax of over 77 percent, a 70 percent income tax, and open borders. [61] [62] [63]

NoVo gifted $100,000 to the International Labor Rights Forum, which supports increasing the minimum wage, expanding the power of labor unions, and legal protections for illegal immigrant workers. [64] [65]

Jobs With Justice Education Fund received $250,000 from NoVo. [66] The fund has worked on left-wing projects with UFCW labor union and National Domestic Workers Alliance. [67] [68] Jobs With Justice Education Fund supports illegal immigration, labor unions, and increased economic regulations. [69] [70] [71]

Miami Workers Center (MWC) was given $66,660 by NoVo. [72] In 1999, labor activists founded MWC in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami. [73] MWC’s pushes a “Femme Agenda” which focuses on poverty through the lenses of “low-income Black women, particularly LGBTQ women.” [74] MWC has advocated for creating renters unions, opposing the patriarchy, and abortion. [75]

NoVo, in partnership with the National Domestic Worker Alliance (NDWA), is conducting the Women’s Rematch project, a $2,000,000 undertaking. [76] The project claims to be a non-partisan voter engagement campaign. However, the project hopes to build on the efforts of the left-wing #MeToo movement. The projects efforts will be focused on increasing voter engagement in 2020 among traditionally Democratic voters in Georgia, a state featuring potentially competitive races for president and the U.S. Senate. NDWA is part of the “alt-labor” movement supported by labor unions and left-wing funders including the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Marguerite Casey Foundation. [77] CCC pushes a liberal economic agenda including expanding welfare programs and Obamacare. [78]

Education

Through Advocates for Youth, NoVo provided $25,000 to Know Your Title IX which advocates for left-wing education policies. [79] Know Your Title IX supports the Obama administration’s Title IX guidance on sexual assault disciplinary procedures which forced colleges to use the lowest evidentiary standard. [80] That stance was so radical that “even some liberal legal figures took issue arguing that no student should be punished unless the school was more certain that a line had been crossed.” [81]

Black Lives Matter

NoVo partnered with the Movement for Black Lives for the Electoral Justice Project. [82] The $500,000 project was focused on creating campaigns within African-American communities to increase political engagement. [83] The project was used to influence black voters to support the radical left-wing agenda of the Movement for Black Lives. The group’s platform incudes so-called “reparations,” such as free college and guaranteed minimum income for blacks; the redistribution of wealth; divesting from fossil fuels; and reducing military spending. [84] [85] [86]

NoVo and the Movement for Black Lives support the Movement Strategy Center (MSC). [87] NoVo gave MSC $2,000,000 for the Decolonizing Race project. [88] The project hopes “to transform the way conversations around racism and other issues of privilege and power.” MSC partners with anti-energy groups to push left-of-center energy policy. Policies such as ending fracking, divesting from traditional energy sources, and making U.S. energy 100 percent renewable by 2020 are all stances of MSC partner organizations. [89] [90] [91] MSC has supported left-wing food and restaurant policy through its work with the HEAL Food Alliance. HEAL supports efforts to end the tipped minimum wage, which is earned mostly by waiters and waitresses; end farm labor by prisoners; and the end of deportations of all illegal immigrants. [92]

Immigration

Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice received $107,500 from NoVo. [93] Adhikaar supports legal status for illegal immigrants and less restrictions on their ability to work in the United States.

NoVo started the Radical Hope Florida project with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FIC). The $2,000,000 project is focused on bringing a feminist perspective to FIC and other partner organizations’ missions. [94] FIC supports a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and opposes local law enforcement aiding federal authorities in their effort to enforce immigration laws. [95] [96] During the 2016 election, FIC mobilized a get out the vote campaign in traditionally Democratic areas of the state in an effort to boost Democratic turnout in the closely contested election. [97]

Human Rights First has had financial support from NoVo. [98] Human Rights First opposes detaining illegal aliens at the border, closing the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, and allowing more refugees into the United States. [99] [100]

Other Grant Recipients

NoVo contributed $300,000 to the MomsRising Education Fund, the 501(c)3 charitable arm of MomsRising a 501(c)4 advocacy organization. [101] MomsRising supports a wide variety of liberal policies including expanding welfare programs, gun control, legal status for illegal immigrants, and the Women’s March. [102]

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) received $50,000 from NoVo. [103] In 1997, NCRP released a report on how left-wing think tanks could better deploy their money, which sparked the founding of think tanks like Center for American progress and directly helped to founding of Democracy Alliance. [104] Today, NCRP still aims to help liberals maximize the impact of their funds on promoting left-wing causes. [105]

References

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Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Peter Buffett
    Co-President/Director
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1999

  • 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
    2014 Dec Form PF $157,258,145 $107,232,270 $527,185,379 $119,937,856 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $150,280,680 $115,717,881 $395,245,222 $109,076,665 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $57,983,303 $43,548,350 $264,168,686 $63,471,847 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $59,807,033 $48,383,783 $243,196,104 $83,237,880 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    NoVo Foundation

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