Non-profit

PIRG New Voters Project

Website:

newvotersproject.org

Location:

BOSTON, MA

Tax ID:

22-2505821

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $40,200
Expenses: $151,224
Assets: $37,894

Formation:

1984

Type:

Voter Education/Registration

President:

Leigh-Ann Cole

The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) New Voters Project is a left-of-center organization that focuses on increasing participation by left-leaning young voters. It is a part of the left-of-center Public Interest Network (PIN), a collection of over 100 left-leaning advocacy groups that includes the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG). [1] It has numerous affiliations with other left-of-center organizations, many of which are environmental activists,[2] and is funded by the Tides Center,[3] a “dark money” group. [4] The PIRG New Voters Project claims to have registered more than 2 million young voters since 1984. [5] The Student PIRGs is a project of the PIRG New Voters Project and its affiliate Student Organizing. [6]

Left-of-Center Bias

While PIRG New Voters Project claims to be non-partisan for tax purposes, it has a strong left-of-center environmentalist agenda, particularly on climate change. [7] New employees all receive training on the urgency of environmentalist-aligned energy sources like solar and wind turbine. [8] Its student activists have participated in protests against offshore drilling, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline and lobbied for 100% renewable energy policies in Oregon and California. [9] It has also called for bans on plastic products like straws and cups[10] and received an award while attending the Democratic National Convention. [11]

Background

The PIRG New Voters Project seeks to increase the number of youth voters from below average participation. It cites the 2018 election, where only 31% percent of voters between the ages of 18-24 voted in contrast to an average of 50% for all other voter demographics. [12] Its goal for the 2020 election is to register at least 100,000 new college-age voters. [13]

The PIRG New Voters Project has tested a variety of new techniques to motivate voting primarily amongst college students. In one instance, 20,000 text messages were sent on the evening before “Super Tuesday” as a reminder to vote. [14] The text messages claimed an overall voter increase of 4 percent. [15] It also created a campaign where hundreds of student leaders committed to registering 20 other people to vote. In another instance, the group conducted classroom invasions of over 100 classes in which voter registration forms were distributed, completed, and collected. [16] It cites success in the 2008 presidential election of President Barack Obama where exit polls in 16 of 17 states indicated youth voters had doubled from 2000. [17]

The PIRG New Voters Project has 37 student chapters ranging from the University of Oregon to Eckerd College. [18] It also has volunteers and employees working in at least 150 colleges in 24 states driving voter registration and is considered the oldest and largest effort to energize youth voters. [19]

Leadership

Leigh-Ann Cole, President

Leigh-Ann Cole has multiple titles in the Public Interest Network (PIN) of organizations including working as the president of the PIRG New Voters Project,[20] field director at Work for Progress, director of Recruitment at PIN,[21] and Deputy Director at Student PIRGS. [22]

Andrew McDonald, National Organizing Director

McDonald has several roles within the PIN organizations including national organizing director for the PIRG New Voters Project. [23] He is also a member of the board at the left-of-center environmental organization Green Corps and works as a consultant[24] for the left-wing advocacy group Fund for the Public Interest, a major constituent group of the Public Interest Network. [25]

Hierarchy

The PIRG New Voters Project is a part of a wide-ranging family of organizations known as the Public Interest Network (PIN), the most prominent of which is the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG). [26] PIRG New Voters Project and Student Organizing are the parent 501(c)(3) organizations for the Student PIRGs, campus-level liberal organizing and agitation groups. [27] The IRS form for PIRG New Voters Project lists dozens of affiliated organizations[28] and the relationships between all of the groups have been described accurately as “cloudy.” [29]

Some of the over forty affiliates[30] listed in the latest tax records include the left-of-center Environment America Research and Policy Center[31] with twenty-nine state chapters including California, Arizona, New Jersey, and New Hampshire. [32] Fair Share is another voting mobilization left-of-center affiliate. [33]

The PIRG New Voters Project cooperated with its numerous state partners to create the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project. This venture is recruiting activists to register college students on campuses nationwide for the 2020 election. [34]

The PIRG New Voters Project joined with Rock the Vote to create StudentVote.org to provide college students an on-line resource for a voter registration campaign. [35]

The PIRG Community Voters Project focuses on driving higher voter participation amongst minorities,[36] primarily Latinos and African Americans in four states. [37]

Donors

PIRG New Voters Project has received funding from a number of left-of-center institutional grantmakers. It has taken funding from the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation, a left-of-center donor that contributes to left-wing organizations;[38] the Pew Charitable Trusts, a left-of-center group and a leader in the environmentalist movement;[39] and the Hull Family Foundation, which funds a variety of left-wing groups including NARAL and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). [40]

References

  1. Ludwig, Hayden. “MASSPIRG: The Left-Wing Leviathan.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, October 5, 2018. https://capitalresearch.org/article/masspirg-the-left-wind-leviathan/. ^
  2. A 990: PIRG New Voters Project, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990 EZ), 2017,Part II)https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/222/505/2018-222505821-10e936b5-Z.pdf ^
  3. “Tides Foundation List of Grantees 2010.” docshare.tips, March 2017. http://docshare.tips/tides-foundation-list-of-grantees-2010_58bc1cceb6d87fc50d8b4ad0.html. ^
  4. “Tides Foundation.” Tides Foundation. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/tides-foundation/. ^
  5. “2017 – 2018 STUDENT PIRGS ANNUAL REPORT.” 📚 Publizr: Convert PDFs To Interactive Online Publications – FREE! Accessed March 4, 2020. https://publizr.com/studentpirgs/2017—2018-student-pirgs-annual-report?html=true#/12/. ^
  6. “2017 – 2018 STUDENT PIRGS ANNUAL REPORT.” 📚 Publizr: Convert PDFs To Interactive Online Publications – FREE! Accessed March 4, 2020. https://publizr.com/studentpirgs/2017—2018-student-pirgs-annual-report?html=true#/12/. ^
  7. Belli, Brita. “E Magazine.” Cleaner, Greener U: Students Drive the Campus Climate Movement, March 6, 2008. https://www.enn.com/articles/32427-cleaner,-greener-u–students-drive-the-campus-climate-movement. ^
  8. Xie, Dan. “Student PIRGs 2018 Annual Report.” Student PIRGs, April 8, 2019. https://studentpirgs.org/2018/07/18/student-pirgs-2018-annual-report/. ^
  9. Xie, Dan. “Student PIRGs 2018 Annual Report.” Student PIRGs, April 8, 2019. https://studentpirgs.org/2018/07/18/student-pirgs-2018-annual-report/.   ^
  10. Careers with Student PIRGs. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://jobs.studentpirgs.org/campaigns.html. ^
  11. “GCI Blog Content.” GCI Blog Content: September 2004 Archives, September 14, 2004. http://www.grassrootscampaigns.com/articles/2004_09.php. ^
  12. “Voter Registration Field Organizer – Greensboro, N.” Greensboro Free Classifieds. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://greensboronc.global-free-classified-ads.com/listings/voter-registration-field-organizer-greensboro-n-it12668704.html. ^
  13. Careers with Student PIRGs. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://jobs.studentpirgs.org/campaigns.html ^
  14. BATTAN, CARRIE. “Presidential Election 2008: Text Messages Newest Tool to Mobilize Young Voters.” The Tufts Daily, February 6, 2008. https://tuftsdaily.com/archives/2008/02/06/presidential-election-2008-text-messages-newest-tool-to-mobilize-young-voters/. ^
  15. Olsen, Stefanie. “Study: Texting Boosts Young Voter Turnout.” CNET. CNET, September 19, 2007. https://www.cnet.com/news/study-texting-boosts-young-voter-turnout/. ^
  16. BRAND, MADELEINE. “How to Turn Out the Youth Vote.” NPR. NPR, January 11, 2008. https://www.npr.org/transcripts/18023016?storyId=18023016?storyId. ^
  17. JAMES, SUSAN D. ABC News. ABC News Network, November 3, 2008. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=6169622&page=1. ^
  18. “2017 – 2018 STUDENT PIRGS ANNUAL REPORT.” 📚 Publizr: Convert PDFs To Interactive Online Publications – FREE! Accessed March 4, 2020. https://publizr.com/studentpirgs/2017—2018-student-pirgs-annual-report?html=true#/12/. ^
  19. – ENSURING THE RIGHTS OF COLLEGE STUDENTS TO VOTE, September 25, 2008. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-110hhrg47731/html/CHRG-110hhrg47731.htm. ^
  20. A 990: PIRG New Voters Project, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990 EZ), 2017,Part II)https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/222/505/2018-222505821-10e936b5-Z.pdf ^
  21. “Leigh-Anne Cole.” Leigh-Anne Cole. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/person/leigh-anne-cole/. ^
  22. Linkedin Leigh-Anne Cole. Linkedin. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/leigh-anne-cole-083b6959/. ^
  23. Tigas, Mike, Sisi Wei, Ken Schwencke, Brandon Roberts, and Alec Glassford. “Pirg New Voters Project Inc, Full Filing – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica, May 9, 2013. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/222505821/201601379349203075/full. ^
  24. “Linkedin Andy McDonald.” Linkedin Andy McDonald. LinkedIn. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andy-macdonald-800/. ^
  25. “Fund for the Public Interest.” Fund for the Public Interest. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/fund-for-the-public-interest/. ^
  26. Ludwig, Hayden. “MASSPIRG: The Left-Wing Leviathan.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, October 5, 2018. https://capitalresearch.org/article/masspirg-the-left-wind-leviathan/. ^
  27. “2017 – 2018 STUDENT PIRGS ANNUAL REPORT.” 📚 Publizr: Convert PDFs To Interactive Online Publications – FREE! Accessed March 4, 2020. https://publizr.com/studentpirgs/2017—2018-student-pirgs-annual-report?html=true#/12/. ^
  28. A 990: PIRG New Voters Project, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990 EZ), 2017,Part II)https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/222/505/2018-222505821-10e936b5-Z.pdf ^
  29. Ludwig, Hayden. “MASSPIRG: The Left-Wing Leviathan.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, October 5, 2018. https://capitalresearch.org/article/masspirg-the-left-wind-leviathan/. ^
  30. A 990: PIRG New Voters Project, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990 EZ), 2017,Part II)https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/222/505/2018-222505821-10e936b5-Z.pdf ^
  31. “Environment America.” Environment America. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/environment-america/. ^
  32. “Action for a Greener, Healthier America.” Environment America. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://environmentamerica.org/feature/ame/about-us. ^
  33. “Fair Share.” Fair Share. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/fair-share-alliance/. ^
  34. “Community-Organizer-Organizing-Fellow-for-2020-Elections.” Community-organizer-organizing-fellow-for-2020-elections. Linkedin. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/community-organizer-organizing-fellow-for-2020-elections-at-work-for-progress-1651966025/. ^
  35. “Voter Registration for the 21st Century.” Student Government Resource Center, August 20, 2014. https://studentgovresources.org/voter-registration-for-the-21st-century/. ^
  36. “GCI Blog Content.” GCI Blog Content: September 2004 Archives, September 14, 2004. http://www.grassrootscampaigns.com/articles/2004_09.php. ^
  37. “Helping to Register Voters in 2019-2020.” Helping to Register Voters in 2019-2020 | Community Voters Project. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.communityvotersproject.org/about. ^
  38. “Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation.” Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/naomi-and-nehemiah-cohen-foundation/. ^
  39. “Evaluation of Voter Registration and Contact Programs .” Polimetrix The State Public Interest Research Groups (State PIRGs) , November 14, 2006. https://pincdn.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/06resRk12_rBROubadZzmA/2004_NVP_Evaluation.pdf. ^
  40. “Hull Family Foundation.” Hull Family Foundation. Accessed March 4, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/hull-family-foundation/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Heather Smith
    Former National Field Director
  2. David Rosenfeld
    Former President
  3. Shawna Upton
    Board Member
  4. Len Montgomery
    Board Member
  5. Gary Kalman
    Board Member
  6. Leigh-Anne Cole
    Executive Director
  7. David Rossini
    Former Voter Registration Activist (2004)

Coalition Memberships

  1. Public Interest Network (PIN)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1984

  • 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
    2017 Jun Form 990EZ $40,200 $151,224 $37,894 $31,185 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990EZ $21,250 $83,554 $235,178 $92,823 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990EZ $30,393 $82,968 $253,746 $49,087 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $649,698 $1,009,028 $623,641 $366,407 N $648,000 $0 $1,698 $46,161 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $365,411 $64,466 $802,861 $186,297 N $364,200 $0 $1,211 $15,898 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $405,056 $540,306 $753,480 $437,861 N $403,400 $0 $1,656 $5,662 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    PIRG New Voters Project

    294 WASHINGTON ST STE 500
    BOSTON, MA 02108-4612