Non-profit

People for the American Way (PFAW) Foundation

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

13-3065716

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $5,127,573
Expenses: $4,855,715
Assets: $9,541,101

People For the American Way Foundation is the charitable arm of People For the American Way, a progressive advocacy organization in the United States.

In 1980-81, American film producer and left-wing activist Norman Lear, along with liberal former U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan (D-Texas) and other aligned business interests, founded People for the American Way (PFAW) as a means to fight against the “radical and extremist agenda” of conservative televangelists and all of the religious right.[1] Lear created a series of television commercials featuring famous faces (notably champion boxer Muhammad Ali and actress Goldie Hawn) alongside blue-collar Americans that gained notoriety attacking the televangelist preachers for imposing their political views.[2] Building on these commercials, Lear founded PFAW as a means to further expound upon this message.[3]

In a 1985 speech entitled “the Threat of the Religious Right,” Lear criticized “ultra-fundamentalist evangelists” including Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for their simplistic solutions to complex problems and for proclaiming a monopoly on truth based in their Biblically self-evident moral answers.[4]

Falwell retorted, “Norman Lear is clearly anti-Christian,” whose “vendetta is against everyone who is preaching the gospel.”[5] Lear’s fervent opposition to Falwell’s Moral Majority became the early soul of Lear’s PFAW organization. [6]

By 1986, headed by controversial D.C. insider Tony Podesta, PFAW emerged as a preeminent force on the left, with a $5 million annual budget that relied on the media to amplify its message.[7]

PFAW’s operations initially were focused on opposing religious-minded censorship and continued federal funding for schools to teach “secular humanism.”[8] PFAW opposed numerous efforts to nominate conservative judges, including helping defeat the nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court. PFAW also led the battle to secure a constitutional protection for flag-burning.[9]

Over the ensuing years, PFAW has partnered with other left wing groups such as the NAACP, ACLU, and the AFL-CIO.[10] Moreover the group has increasingly involved itself in political campaigns. In 1998, PFAW underwrote a national television campaign called “Let’s Move On” to attack Republican critics of President Bill Clinton, and the same year they established the People For The American Way Voters Alliance PAC that since 2002 has given 100% of its more than $400k in campaign contributions to Democrats.[11]

In 2006, the newly formed Democracy Alliance approved a grant to PFAW, and the Gill Foundation gave a Democracy Alliance-approved grant of $50,000 to PFAW’s spinoff group, Young People For.[12]

Similarly, the People for the American Way Foundation has received support from a number of left-wing philanthropies including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the  Bauman Family Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Open Society Institute (now Open Society Foundations), the Public Welfare Foundation, the Barbra Streisand Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.[13]

References

  1. “People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation: A History.” Undated. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20040402065039/http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=2851
  2. “Lear TV Ads to Oppose The Moral Majority.” The New York Times. June 25, 1981. Accessed November 10, 2017. www.nytimes.com/1981/06/25/arts/lear-tv-ads-to-oppose-the-moral-majority.html
  3. Kurtz, Howard. “Norman Lear’s Crusade Widens.” The Washington Post. February 3, 1986. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1986/02/03/norman-lears-crusade-widens/72fb9dde-1d34-423c-9956-b25f3deba10c/?utm_term=.d3ce82fae7db
  4. “The Backstory.” Normanlear.com. 2017. Accessed November 10, 2017. http://www.normanlear.com/backstory/
  5. Kurtz, Howard. “Norman Lear’s Crusade Widens.” The Washington Post. February 3, 1986. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1986/02/03/norman-lears-crusade-widens/72fb9dde-1d34-423c-9956-b25f3deba10c/?utm_term=.d3ce82fae7db
  6. Kurtz, Howard. “Norman Lear’s Crusade Widens.” The Washington Post. February 3, 1986. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1986/02/03/norman-lears-crusade-widens/72fb9dde-1d34-423c-9956-b25f3deba10c/?utm_term=.d3ce82fae7db
  7. Kurtz, Howard. “Norman Lear’s Crusade Widens.” The Washington Post. February 3, 1986. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1986/02/03/norman-lears-crusade-widens/72fb9dde-1d34-423c-9956-b25f3deba10c/?utm_term=.d3ce82fae7db
  8. Kurtz, Howard. “Norman Lear’s Crusade Widens.” The Washington Post. February 3, 1986. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1986/02/03/norman-lears-crusade-widens/72fb9dde-1d34-423c-9956-b25f3deba10c/?utm_term=.d3ce82fae7db
  9. “People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation: A History.” Undated. Archived April 2, 2004. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20040402065039/http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=2851
  10. “Election Protection.” Undated. Archived April 25, 2005. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20040402065039/http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=2851
  11. “Meet The People For The American Way.” RNC Research. April 25, 2005. Archived April 26, 2005. Accessed November 10, 2017. http://www.gop.com/RNCResearch/Read.aspx?ID=5394
  12. CRC Staff. “The Democracy Alliance Does America: The Soros-Founded Plutocrats’ Club Forms State Chapters.” Capital research Center. December 1, 2008. Accessed November 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/the-democracy-alliance-does-america-the-soros-founded-plutocrats-club-forms-state-chapters/
  13. Laksin, Jacob. “People For the American Way: History, Agendas, and Activities.” DiscoverTheNetworks.org. 2005. Accessed November 10, 2017. http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/Articles/pfawactivities.html

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Lisa Versaci
    Former Vice President, Florida Director
  2. Mike Lux
    Former Senior Vice President
  3. Norman Lear
    Founder, Main Funder
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1981

  • 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 $5,127,573 $4,855,715 $9,541,101 $1,211,935 N $5,096,579 $0 $28,435 $465,291 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $5,031,427 $5,080,530 $9,759,998 $1,492,879 N $4,997,398 $0 $29,271 $788,836 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $5,116,405 $5,114,759 $9,012,447 $885,553 N $4,949,343 $0 $164,983 $477,481 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $5,660,047 $5,853,861 $9,301,558 $1,551,897 N $5,494,224 $0 $163,909 $482,006 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $11,041,313 $5,451,224 $8,801,735 $1,139,100 N $10,994,081 $0 $16,280 $449,678 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    People for the American Way (PFAW) Foundation

    1101 15TH ST NW STE 600
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-5023