Non-profit

Organize Florida Education Fund (formerly F.I.R.E.)

Location:

ORLANDO, FL

Tax ID:

27-4384675

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $4,204,588
Expenses: $3,476,352
Assets: $2,721,424

Type:

Community Organizing Group

Formation:

2010

Executive Director:

Stephanie Porta

The Organize Florida Education Fund (formerly F.I.R.E., Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Orlando, Florida. It teaches and trains Central Florida activists to advance left-wing causes throughout the Tampa-Orlando “I-4 corridor.” It also develops issue reports to educate and persuade voters, lawmakers, and the news media.

OFEF works together with its 501(c)4 advocacy sister organization, Organize Florida, to engage Florida’s political system. OFEF was formerly known as F.I.R.E, or the Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment, but changed its name in January 2017.[1]  Organize Florida Education Fund is a state-based partner of The Center for Popular Democracy, a national left-wing community organizing consortium funded by numerous prominent liberal activist donors in the Democracy Alliance.[2]

Background

The Organize Florida Education Fund is a state-based partner of the Center for Popular Democracy, a national activist network supporting and coordinating activities with 43 partner organizations across 30 states. Other CPD Florida-based partner organizations include the Manufactured Housing Action, the New Florida Majority, and Organize Florida.[3]

CPD’s largest donor is activist billionaire George Soros. Its nationwide network also includes successor organizations to the controversial Association of Community Organizations and Reform Now (ACORN) network, which closed amid controversies in 2010.[4]

Activities

The Organize Florida Education Fund claims to be nonpartisan for tax reasons, but its positions and activities are decidedly left-of-center.[5] OFEF community trainings have been advertised by the Orange County Democratic Party,[6] and its core leadership team is identical to its politically active sister organization, Organize Florida.[7][8] Both OFEF and Organize Florida have the same Director of Political Operations, Tim Heberlein, who previously served as the Vice Chair of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party and the “Beyond Coal” organizing representative for the Sierra Club of Florida.[9]

In April 2016, several news reports cited OFEF members, then called FIRE, protesting outside of then-state Rep. Dana Young’s (R-Tampa) district office to denounce a measure blocking public funding for private medical facilities that perform abortions.[10] The legislation defunded Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics, required annual licensure inspections for abortion clinics, and banned the purchase and sale of fetal remains.[11] The same day (April 28), OFEF protesters also rallied outside the Orlando-area office of state Rep. Bob Cortes (R-Altamonte Springs).[12]

In April 2017, OFEF and the Center for Popular Democracy released an issue report stating that Florida’s energy infrastructure burdens women of color. The report was timed to coincide with the “People’s Climate March” in Washington, D.C., and the Organize Florida co-sponsored Climate March rallies in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and other cities across Florida.[13] The report blasts Florida lawmakers for the state’s natural gas pipelines and for an energy industry that it claims is unsafe and contributes to climate change. The report also criticizes Florida legislators for failing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.[14]

Funding

The OFEF is funded largely by Washington D.C. based left-leaning nonprofit groups including the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), the New Venture Fund, and the Voter Registration Project. From 2017 to 2019, OFEF received $700,000 from the CPD, the largest of those grants being $425,000 in 2018 for the stated purpose of “Puerto Rico diaspora, economic justice, base building.” [15] From 2017 to 2019, the New Venture fund contributed $825,000 to OFEF. From 2017 to 2019, OFEF was the recipient of $866,531 from the Voter Registration Project.

In 2020, OFEF also received a $310,000 grant from the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of their “Vote Your Voice” program. The focus of the grant is “voter registration, education, mobilization, and protection with a focus on low- to moderate-income people of color with a low propensity to vote along the I-4 corridor in Florida.” [16]

Leadership

Stephanie Porta is the executive director of both the Organize Florida Education Fund and Organize Florida. In 2013 and 2014, Porta was recognized by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper as an “up and comer” for the 25 Most Powerful People in Central Florida and was recognized as one of top 50 “Power Brokers” in Central Florida.[17]

 

References

  1. “Organize Now and FIRE Announce Name Changes to Organize Florida and Organize Florida Education Fund to Reflect Growth Across Florida.” Organize Florida. Accessed July 25, 2017. http://www.orgfl.org/organize_now_and_fire_announce_name_changes_to_organize_florida_and_organize_florida_education_fund_to_reflect_growth_across_florida. ^
  2. Markay, Lachlan. “Liberal Group’s Turnout Efforts Target Battleground States.” Washington Free Beacon. May 09, 2016. Accessed July 28, 2017. http://freebeacon.com/issues/liberal-groups-turnout-efforts-target-battleground-states/. ^
  3. “Partners.” The Center for Popular Democracy. Accessed July 20, 2017. http://populardemocracy.org/our-partners/organize-florida-education-fund. ^
  4. Schoffstall, Joe. “New $80M Anti-Trump Network Spearheaded by Soros-funded Org with Former ACORN Employees.” Washington Free Beacon. March 27, 2017. Accessed July 21, 2017. http://freebeacon.com/issues/soros-funded-anti-trump-network-has-acorn-ties/. ^
  5. “Organize Now and FIRE Announce Name Changes to Organize Florida and Organize Florida Education Fund to Reflect Growth Across Florida.” Organize Florida. Accessed July 25, 2017. http://www.orgfl.org/organize_now_and_fire_announce_name_changes_to_organize_florida_and_organize_florida_education_fund_to_reflect_growth_across_florida. ^
  6. “Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment Leadership Academy: Intro to Power.” Orange County Democratic Party. February 8, 2016. Accessed July 25, 2017.  http://orangefldemocrats.com/event/florida-institute-for-reform-and-empowerment-leadership-academy-intro-to-power/. ^
  7. “Our Team.” Organize Florida Education Fund. Accessed July 25, 2017. http://www.orgflef.org/our_team. ^
  8. “Our Team.” Organize Florida. Accessed July 27, 2017. http://www.orgfl.org/our_team. ^
  9. “Tim Heberlein.” Linkedin. Accessed August 7, 2017. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-heberlein-10a16922. ^
  10. Perry, Mitch. “Activists Criticize Rep. Dana Young for Her Support on Controversial Abortion Bill.” Florida Politics. April 28, 2016. Accessed July 25, 2017. http://floridapolitics.com/archives/tag/florida-institute-for-reform-and-empowerment. ^
  11. “HB 1411 – Termination of Pregnancies.” Florida House of Representatives. March 4, 2016. Accessed July 27, 2017. https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=56464&SessionId=80. ^
  12. Lemongello, Steven. “Women’s Health Advocates Protest at Lawmaker’s Office.” Orlando Sentinel. April 28, 2016. Accessed July 27, 2017. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-womens-health-activist-press-conference-20160428-story.html. ^
  13. Perry, Mitch. “‘People’s Climate March’ Rallies Set for Saturday in Florida, U.S.” Florida Politics. April 28, 2017. Accessed August 8, 2017. http://floridapolitics.com/archives/tag/organize-florida-education-fund.

    ^

  14. Kilpatrick, Michelle. “The High Costs of Florida’s Energy Infrastructure – Burdening Women of Color and their Families.” Center for Popular Democracy. Accessed July 25, 2017. https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/organizeflorida/pages/867/attachments/original/1493303746/The_High_Cost_of_Florida’s_Energy_Infrastructure.pdf ^
  15. Center for Popular Democracy, Form 990, Schedule I – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica, May 9, 2013. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/453813436/201903159349304450/IRS990ScheduleI. ^
  16. Schrader, Esther. “Vote Your Voice: In Florida, Grantee Organizations Regroup after Amendment 4 Setback.” Southern Poverty Law Center, October 30, 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/news/2020/10/30/vote-your-voice-florida-grantee-organizations-regroup-after-amendment-4-setback. ^
  17. “Stephanie Porta.” SheSource, Women’s Media Center. Accessed July 26, 2017. http://www.shesource.org/experts/profile/stephanie-porta. ^

Associated Organizations

  1. Organize Florida (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2014

  • 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
    2019 Dec Form 990 $4,204,588 $3,476,352 $2,721,424 $832,102 N $312,605 $3,858,871 $0 $0 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $3,225,350 $2,982,707 $1,001,562 $3,756 N $1,954,583 $1,250,564 $0 $0 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,477,934 $1,201,420 $880,161 $0 N $825,251 $647,683 $0 $946,439 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,630,286 $1,336,945 $487,906 $130,699 N $1,630,286 $0 $0 $992,200
    2015 Dec Form 990 $330,086 $334,882 $63,866 $0 N $330,086 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $235,990 $167,773 $72,305 $3,643 N $235,990 $0 $0 $7,404 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Organize Florida Education Fund (formerly F.I.R.E.)

    134 E COLONIAL DR
    ORLANDO, FL 32801-1234