Non-profit

Over Zero

Website:

projectoverzero.org

Location:

Washington, DC

Formation:

2015

Project of:

Hopewell Fund

Over Zero is a left-of-center advocacy organization against supposed “dangerous speech.” It is a project of the Hopewell Fund, a funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit managed by the Washington, D.C.-based consultancy Arabella Advisors.

Activities

The organization states that when societies become divided along religious, ethnic and political lines violence, discrimination and mass atrocities can happen. [1] To do this, the group ways it must “undermine factors (such as dangerous speech) that increase division.” [2]

The group provides training and resources for civil society organizations. It also researches practices for reducing conflict based on identity. [3]

The organization provides resources to “incubate new initiatives” in specific communities. The group also convenes people from academia, civil society, and public policy. The organization suggests communication is used to “drive division, tap into and mobilize powerful emotions like fear and disgust, shape social norms and pressures, and coordinate action.” [4]

People

Rachel Brown has been the executive director of Over Zero since June 2017. Brown previously spent four years as director of Sisi ni Amani International. In 2016, she was a conflict sensitivity advisor for the World Bank. She was also a fellow at the Center for Genocide Prevention at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum from 2014 to 2015. [5]

Samantha Owens is the U.S. regional director for Over Zero based in Washington. She started with the organization in June 2018. Owens previously worked as programming and external relations manager at the Post Conflict Research Center. [6]

Funding

The Democracy Fund, the left-leaning foundation of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, made a $150,000 grant to the group in 2017 and a $200,000 grant in 2019, asserting the group is combatting “growing prevalence of nativist and xenophobic movements targeting Muslims, refugees, immigrants, and minority groups.” Parroting one Over Zero line, the Democracy Fund wrote, “dangerous speech devolves political debate.” Over Zero used the Democracy Fund grant to partner with local groups to provide trainings. [7]

Parent Network

The Hopewell Fund, Over Zero’s parent organization, manages several left-of-center single-issue advocacy groups, including the Economic Security Project and pro-Obamacare Get America Covered. The Hopewell Fund often operates alongside its “sister” nonprofits, primarily the 501(c)(4) Sixteen Thirty Fund and 501(c)(3) New Venture Fund, which both provide similar funding and fiscal sponsorship services to left-progressive advocacy organizations. All three funds are administered by Arabella Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropic consulting firm that caters to left-leaning clients. The Windward Fund, another 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is also managed by Arabella Advisors and performs similar functions. [8]

References

  1. Over Zero. Idealist. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit/b99a2511025b4a81925cd97cab8a267a-over-zero-washington ^
  2. Rachel Brown. LinkedIn. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-brown-615bb316/ ^
  3. Rachel Brown. LinkedIn. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-brown-615bb316/ ^
  4. What We Do. Over Zero. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://projectoverzero.org/what-we-do ^
  5. Rachel Brown. LinkedIn. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-brown-615bb316/ ^
  6. “Samantha Owens.” LinkedIn, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/samantha-owens-2099456a/. ^
  7. Over Zero. Democracy Fund. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.democracyfund.org/portfolio/entry/over-zero ^
  8. Ludwig, Hayden. “Big Money in Dark Shadows.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, April 25, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/publication/big-money-in-dark-shadows/. ^
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Over Zero

1201 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Suite 300
Washington, DC