Non-profit

Our Story Hub

Website:

ourstoryhub.org

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Type:

Communications Strategy Group

Executive Director:

Richard Kirsch

Project of:

Proteus Fund

Our Story is a project of the Proteus Fund established to work with left-of-center advocacy organizations and elected leaders on communication strategies and messaging.

Our Story provides consulting services to facilitate the development and dissemination of left-of-center political propaganda. Our Story provides previously developed “narratives,” designed to be “used over and over again over time,” to “change how people view the world and shape cultural common sense.” [1] In the absence of a previously fabricated narrative, Our Story creates narratives customized to the client’s mission and left-of-center world view for use in messaging campaigns.

Members of its advisory committee come from a number of left-of-center organizations including the AFL-CIO, the Center for American Progress, Demos, Lake Research Partners, People’s Action, the SEIU, and the Working Families Party.

Parent Organization

Our Story is a project of the Proteus Fund. [2] The Proteus Fund is a pass-through funding entity that fiscally sponsors numerous left-wing advocacy groups. Since its founding in 1995, it has routed hundreds of millions of dollars from philanthropic foundations and anonymous donors to political and social activist groups working to secure state recognition of same-sex marriages,[3] reduce religious freedom to publicly dissent from liberal orthodoxy on LGBT rights and abortion,[4] abolish capital punishment,[5] reduce military spending,[6] and limit electoral campaign advocacy. [7] The Proteus Fund established Our Story to work on communication strategies and messaging. [8]

Proteus Fund established Our Story to work on communication strategies and messaging. [9]

Services

Our Story provides political messaging and strategy for left-of-center causes. The organization trains left-wing groups and politicians in developing and utilizing fabricated narratives in messaging campaigns. Our Story creates anecdotal narratives fitting its clients’ political objectives, and provides the client with a messaging strategy. Our Story often provides direct consulting services in developing and disseminating propaganda to its clients. [10] Narratives fabricated by Our Story generally rely heavily on emotional appeal. [11]

Developing Narratives

If a left-wing narrative has already been fabricated, Our Story will attempt to manipulate that narrative to apply to the client’s current cause. Our Story then advises the client on how to incorporate that narrative into their messaging strategy. [12] In some situations, it uses public opinion research to increase the effectiveness of its wordplay. [13]

When working for state-level clients, the organization attempts to concoct a common narrative applicable to that state. This coordination is meant to provide consistency in left-wing political messaging across the state. [14]

Training on Narratives

Our Story offers in-person and on-line training to clients. [15] Our Story developed and delivers training on:[16]

  • Skills required for developing and marketing propaganda, incorporating anecdotal narrative to play on audience emotion.
  • Skills to create propaganda for a specific cause
  • Skills to coordinate multiple narratives to maintain platform consistency
  • Skills to apply narratives at the state-level

Support and Consulting

Our Story provides direct support to left-wing clients on utilizing existing stories in their current messaging strategy. This includes demonstrating how to incorporate aspects of the story into various mediums: op-eds, blog posts, newsletters, speeches, and videos, among others. [17]

Specifically, Our Story works with the client on key concepts to developing and using propaganda, reviewing and editing communications materials, and even writing the communications materials themselves, on behalf of the client. [18]

Narratives

Our story has fabricated standard narratives for use by left-of-center activists, organizations, and political campaigns. The narratives come in the form of talking points, and are designed specifically to be replicated. [19]

Economy

Our Story pushes what it calls the “Progressive Economic Narrative,” holding that the problem with the American economy is rooted in businesses manipulating rule makers. The narrative states a need to “rewrite” of the rules of the using government fiat to increase the minimum wage, increase restrictions on political campaign speech, and eliminate “barriers” to “equal opportunities for Blacks and Latinos.” [20]

Our Story dismisses concern over the size of government, deflecting to corporatism as the issue with the current government. [21] When provided, the economic policy ‘solutions’ lack rationale and detail, and generally advocate for extensive market interference and growing the power of the government. Often, many of the problems identified are nonexistent, and many of the ‘solutions’ advocated for have been in effect for decades.

Education

Without referencing any evidence, Our Story conjectures that there the only issue in the American education system is an insufficient provision of resources. It proposes committing vast resources to public schools “in every neighborhood in America.” This includes free full-day pre-K and kindergarten, paid for by the taxpayers. [22]

Environment

Using baseless claims of a rigged system, Our Story advocates for an excessive reallocation of resources into inefficient ‘green energy’ projects and calls for the elimination of conventional fuels. [23]

Criminal Justice

Our Story calls for the reallocation of resources from police, corrections, and the judiciary to be put towards better education, job training and treatment. It also proposes police reeducation to avoid racial profiling, in addition to reducing fines and punishments for crimes committed. [24] Health Care

Lamenting a health system that operates for profit, Our Story advocates for eliminating deductibles and lowering co-payments by government fiat. It again makes an ambiguous call to ‘rewrite the rules’ of the entire health care system. [25]

Gun Control

Devoid of evidence, Our Story makes an emotional appeal for the institution of radical gun control laws, including the ban of “military style assault weapons” and “ammunition magazines.” [26]

Democracy and the Role of Government

Our Story seeks public funding of political campaigns, which would somehow “empower small donors.” It seeks the elimination of anti-voter fraud measures, including instituting automatic registration, expanding online registration, increase early and mail-in balloting, and the total prohibition of requiring identification. It also seeks the re-enfranchisement of ex-convicts currently on parole, allowing them to vote. [27]

America’s Role in the World

Decrying the use of force, Our Story advocates for a radical reduction in investment for military technology and operations. [28]

Financial Support

Our Story receives financial support from its parent organization, the Proteus Fund, for daily operations. For individual clients, many receive financial support from the fund to cover the consulting services rendered. If grant funding from the Proteus Fund is unavailable, the client must pay out of pocket for the consulting services. [29]

Leadership

Richard Kirsch, director of Our Story Hub, is also known for his role in the passage of Obamacare. He worked as the national campaign manager of Health Care for America Now (HCAN), a coalition of various left-wing healthcare interest groups created to push for the passage of Obamacare. [30] Kirsch worked with leaders of those groups, including the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Andy Stern and Center for American Progress head John Podesta. [31] As HCAN’s chief spokesman, Kirsch had made numerous media appearances. He also led the development of the Progressive Economic Narrative Project. [32]

Kirsch was a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute from 2010 through 2016. From 1985 to 2008, Mr. Kirsch served as executive director of Citizen Action of New York. [33] He is a member of the Board of Directors of People’s Action and Every Voice. [34]

Kirsch aided the 2006 campaign of then-Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) in her initial bid to represent the 20th New York Congressional District. [35]

Advisory Committee

Members of the Advisory Committee are drawn from 39 left-wing groups and unions. Notable members include:[36]

  • Mike Podhorzer – AFL-CIO
  • Blaine Rummel – AFSCME
  • Mike Lux – American Family Voices
  • Anat Shenker Osorio – ASO Communications
  • Dana Laurent – Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC)
  • Andy Green – Center for American Progress
  • Jeffrey Parcher – Center for Community Change
  • Anita Jain – Center for Popular Democracy
  • Tony Perlstein – Center for Popular Democracy
  • Dennis Chin – Center for Social Inclusion
  • Paco Fabian – Change to Win
  • Robert Kraig – Citizen Action of Wisconsin/Progress Centered Communications
  • Causten Rodriguez-Wollerman – Demos
  • Thea Lee – EPI
  • Ellen Bravo – Family Values at Work
  • John Neffinger – Franklin Forum
  • Sarah Jaynes – Progress Alliance of Washington
  • Richard Healey – Grassroots Policy Project
  • Arkadi Gerney – The Hub
  • Jessica Felix-Romero – Jobs with Justice
  • Celinda Lake – Lake Research Partners
  • Amanda Ballantyne – Main Street Alliance
  • Anna Chu – National Women’s Law Center
  • Nick Berning – MoveOn.org
  • Mitch Hirsch – NELP
  • Norman Eng – NELP
  • Ben Palmquist – NESRI
  • Julie Rowe – Opportunity Agenda
  • Sondra Youdelman – People’s Action
  • Tim Lilienthal – PICO
  • Kate Snyder – Progressive Economic Message Group
  • Bernie Horn – Public Leadership Institute
  • Lonnie Scott – Progress Now
  • Lynn Fahselt – Rethink Media
  • Dan O’Sullivan – Service Employees International Union
  • Becky Wasserman – Service Employees International Union
  • Anna Fahey – Sightline Institute
  • Kate Fleury – State Innovation Exchange (SIX)
  • Matt Brix – State Voices
  • Meg Bostrom – Topos Partnership
  • Maggie Koebbe – Working America
  • Joe Dinkin – Working Families Party
  • Rob Duffey – Working Families Party

References

  1. “Narrative – a Powerful Tool for Social change.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 24, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/narrative-a-powerful-tool-for-social-change/. ^
  2. “Our Story – The Hub for American Narrative.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/our-story-the-hub-for-american-narrative/. ^
  3. Civil Marriage Collaborative.” The Proteus Fund. 2018. Accessed January 05, 2018. http://www.proteusfund.org/cmc/about. ^
  4. Williams, Wendy. “LGBTQ Philanthropy is Growing Yet Under Attack | PBA.” Pro Bono Australia. November 23, 2017. Accessed January 19, 2018. https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2017/11/lgbtq-philanthropy-growing-yet-attack/. ^
  5. Hill, Henderson. “Announcing the 8th Amendment Project.” Announcing the 8th Amendment Project | Themis Fund. May 23, 2014. Accessed January 17, 2018. http://temp-proteusfund.gaiahost.net/themis/news/announcing-8th-amendment-project ^
  6. Colombe Foundation. Foundation Directory Online. November 6, 2017. Accessed January 24, 2018. https://fconline.foundationcenter.org/grantmaker-profile/?collection=grantmakers&activity=result&key=COLO055 ^
  7. Dreyfuss, Robert . “Reform Gets Rolling.” The American Prospect. July & Aug. 1999. Accessed January 01, 2018. http://prospect.org/article/reform-gets-rolling. ^
  8. “Our Story – The Hub for American Narrative.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/our-story-the-hub-for-american-narrative/. ^
  9. “Our Story – The Hub for American Narrative.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/our-story-the-hub-for-american-narrative/. ^
  10. “What We do.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/what-we-do/. ^
  11. “Narrative – a Powerful Tool for Social change.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 24, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/narrative-a-powerful-tool-for-social-change/. ^
  12. “Developing Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/services-support/develop-narratives/. ^
  13. “Developing Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/services-support/develop-narratives/. ^
  14. “Developing Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/services-support/develop-narratives/. ^
  15. “Training On Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/services-support/training-on-narratives/. ^
  16. “Training On Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/services-support/training-on-narratives/. ^
  17. “Support and Consulting on Using Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/services-support/support-and-consulting-on-using-narratives/. ^
  18. “Support and Consulting on Using Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/services-support/support-and-consulting-on-using-narratives/. ^
  19. “How to Use These Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 17, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/how-to-use-these-narratives/. ^
  20. “Economic Issues Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/economic-issues-narratives/. ^
  21. “Economic Issues Narratives.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/economic-issues-narratives/. ^
  22. “Education.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/economic-issue-narratives/education/. ^
  23. “Climate Narrative.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/economic-issue-narratives/climate/. ^
  24. “Criminal Justice.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/economic-issue-narratives/criminal-justice/. ^
  25. “Health Care.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 17, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/economic-issue-narratives/health-care/. ^
  26. “Gun Violence.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 17, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/economic-issue-narratives/gun-violence/. ^
  27. “Democracy and the Role of Government.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 17, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/economic-issue-narratives/democracy-and-the-role-of-government/. ^
  28. “America’s Role in The World.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 17, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/issue-narratives/economic-issue-narratives/americas-role-in-the-world/. ^
  29. “Support Form.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 17, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/services-support/support-form/. ^
  30. “Our Story – The Hub for American Narrative.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/our-story-the-hub-for-american-narrative/. ^
  31. “Richard Kirsch.” The Washington Post. July 25, 2012. Accessed April 16, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/richard-kirsch/gIQAVvj99O_print.html. ^
  32. “Our Story – The Hub for American Narrative.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/our-story-the-hub-for-american-narrative/. ^
  33. “Our Story – The Hub for American Narrative.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 16, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/our-story-the-hub-for-american-narrative/. ^
  34. “Richard Kirsch.” HuffPost. Accessed April 16, 2019. https://www.huffpost.com/author/rkirsch-673. ^
  35. “Richard Kirsch.” The Washington Post. July 25, 2012. Accessed April 16, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/richard-kirsch/gIQAVvj99O_print.html. ^
  36. “Advisory Committee.” Our Story Hub. Accessed April 17, 2019. http://ourstoryhub.org/index.php/home/about/who-we-are/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Maggie Koebbe
    Advisory Board Member
  2. Julie Rowe
    Advisory Board Member
  3. Blaine Rummel
    Advisory Board Member
  4. Anat Shenker Osorio
    Advisory Board Member
  5. Dana Laurent
    Advisory Board Member
  6. Rob Duffey
    Advisory Board Member
  7. Becky Wasserman
    Advisory Board Member
  8. Dan O’Sullivan
    Advisory Board Member
  9. Kate Snyder
    Advisory Board Member
  10. Sondra Youdelman
    Advisory Board Member
  11. Nick Berning
    Advisory Board Member
  12. Anita Jain
    Advisory Board Member
  13. Celinda Lake
    Advisory Board Member
  14. Causten Rodriguez-Wollerman
    Advisory Board Member
  15. Andy Green
    Advisory Board Member
  16. Thea Lee
    Advisory Board Member
  17. Richard Kirsch
    Executive Director
  18. Anna Chu
    Advisory Board Member
  19. Arkadi Gerney
    Advisory Board Member
  20. Mike Lux
    Advisory Board Member
  21. Jeffrey Parcher
    Advisory Board Member
  22. Tony Perlstein
    Advisory Board Member
  23. Meg Bostrom
    Advisory Board Member
  24. Norman Eng
    Advisory Board Member
  25. Matt Brix
    Advisory Board Member
  26. Kate Fleury
    Advisory Board Member
  27. Anna Fahey
    Advisory Board Member
  28. Lynn Fahselt
    Advisory Board Member
  29. Lonnie Scott
    Advisory Board Member
  30. Bernie Horn
    Advisory Board Member
  31. Tim Lilienthal
    Advisory Board Member
  32. Ben Palmquist
    Advisory Board Member
  33. Mitchell Hirsch
    Advisory Board Member
  34. Dennis Chin
    Advisory Board Member
  35. Amanda Ballantyne
    Advisory Board Member
  36. Jessica Felix-Romero
    Advisory Board Member
  37. Richard Healey
    Advisory Board Member
  38. Sarah Jaynes
    Advisory Board Member
  39. John Neffinger
    Advisory Board Member
  40. Ellen Bravo
    Advisory Board Member
  41. Robert Kraig
    Advisory Board Member
  42. Paco Fabian
    Advisory Board Member
  43. Michael Podhorzer
    Advisory Board Member
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