Progress North Carolina (Progress NC)




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $535,173
Expenses: $447,679
Assets: $330,075


Left-Wing State Advocacy Group


Gerrick Brenner

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Progress North Carolina (Progress NC) is an advocacy group created with the goal of shifting North Carolina’s policies to the political left, including increasing taxes, expanding government involvement in health care, and supporting environmentalist initiatives. Progress NC works in conjunction with Progress North Carolina Action, which serves as an advocacy and lobbying group. Its policy advocacy is carried out through dissemination of articles and blog entries with a left-of-center viewpoint.

It is a member of Blueprint NC, a coalition of over 40 left-leaning political and advocacy groups that includes the American Friends Service Committee, ACLU North Carolina, and NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation. 1 It is also affiliated with the St. Paul, Minnesota-based national progressive coalition ProgressNOW. 2

Progress NC has received funding from Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation, the Triangle Community Foundation, the Rose Foundation, and NEO Philanthropy. 3

Policy Advocacy

Progress NC has voiced opposition to the Trump administration’s relaxation of environmental “compliance and reporting” and the repeal of some environmental legislation, highlighting the 2015 Waters of the United States rule made by the administration of President Barack Obama. 4 This rule was criticized as being “overly broad” by many businesses and farmers as it gave the “federal government jurisdiction over seasonal streams, ponds, ditches, and even depressions fields that are dry through most of the year.” 5

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Progress NC has expressed a desire for all-mail-in elections. 6  Progress NC supported efforts by Lawyers for Advance Carolina to overturn some of these measures as infringing “on core political speech and associational activities of organizations and citizens working to increase voter turnout.” 7


Gerrick Brenner was the executive Director of PNC from June 2011 to February 2020. 8 In 2012 Brenner came under fire after a pressure campaign to force former Charlottesville mayor (later governor) Pat McCrory (R-NC) to disclose his tax returns, although the latter had already filed economic disclosure information with North Carolina’s Ethics Commission. In turn, McCrory began to inquire about funding sources for Progress NC, which Gerrick refused to divulge (as is Progress NC’s right under IRS regulations). When asked about specific donors, Brenner was evasive:

We have donors of all shapes and sizes all across the state, who share progressive values about the value of funding our public universities and public schools, and smart investments like Research Triangle Park. 9

Eleanore Wood is the digital director of PNC, and the founder of activism coalition RISE Together NC. Prior to her work at PNC she co-founded an internet provider in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 10

Alanna Joyner provides most of the digital content for PNC’s website. She is a graduate from East Carolina University with degrees in Communications and International Studies. 11

Supported Initiatives

Project First Person is a series of short videos highlighting the lives of North Carolinians and their struggles to make ends meet, with an emphasis on healthcare costs. A recurring theme is the perceived necessity of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)  and opposition to Trump administration proposals to repeal and restructure it. The videos also repeatedly call for an expansion of Medicaid, a government-run health care program for the poor. 12

How Far We Have Fallen is a data correlation project that tracks a purported decline in funding of North Carolina’s school system from 2009-2018. For example, North Carolina saw a decrease in per-student funding for classroom materials from $65.98 to 30.55 per student over the course of eight years. Over the same time period, North Carolina’s pay rate for teachers has fallen from 25th to 35th in the nation. Although Progress NC acknowledges the 3.3% pay increase granted to teachers in 2017, it references a June 2017 article from the Raleigh News & Observer that refers to this as a “paltry sum” in comparison to what is needed. 13

NC Heath Care is a Right is an initiative dedicated to the crafting and passage of legislation that would expand the government-run Medicaid insurance program to cover 19-64 year-olds who make up to 133% of the federal poverty rate. The increased costs would be partially covered by assessing fees on local hospitals. In advocating for the expansion, the organization touts the supposed creation of 43,000 jobs and an infusion of $4 billion to North Carolina’s economy, but does not give any specific details, or explain how hospitals will absorb the new costs effectively without raising health care prices. 14


  1. Blueprint NC. “Partners.” Blueprint Website. Undated. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  2. WRAL. “Progress North Carolina.” Website. January 12, 2015. Accessed May 26, 2020.
  3. Mapping the Left. “Progress NC.” Website. Undated. Accessed May 26, 2020.
  4. Joyner, Alanna. “Trump’s Open License to Pollute Could Prove Fatal as Exposure to Air Pollution Increases the Risk of Covid-19.” Website. April 16, 2020. Accessed May 14, 2020.
  5. Farhi, Arden. “EPA Announces Repeal of Obama-Era Clean Water Regulation.” CBS Website. September 12, 2019. Accessed May 16, 2020.
  6. Joyner, Alanna. “NC Legislature Passes Covid-19 Relief Without Expanding Jobless Benefits or Medicaid.” Website. May 4, 2020. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  7. Joyner, Alanna. “North Carolina Lawsuit Claims Absentee Vote Changes Went Too Far and IS Unconstitutional.” Website. March 6, 2020. Accessed May 13, 2020.
  8. . Linkedin. “Gerrick Brenner.” Linkedin Website. Undated. Accessed May 26, 2020.
  9. Binker, Mark. “Turn About on Tax Returns: Who Pay Progress NC?” WRAL Website. September 13, 2012. Accessed May 26, 2020.
  10. Progress NC. “Who We Are.” Progress Website. Undated. Accessed May 13, 2020.
  11. Progress NC. “Who We Are.” Progress Website. Undated. Accessed May 13, 2020.
  12. Progress NC. “Project First Person.” Progress Website. Undated. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  13.   How Far We Have Fallen. “Eliminating Classroom Funding.” Website. Undated. Accessed May 20, 2020.
  14. NC Healthcare is a Right. “Benefits.” Website. Undated. Accessed May 21, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 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
    2017 Dec Form 990 $535,173 $447,679 $330,075 $82,493 N $535,173 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $699,722 $532,834 $165,631 $5,543 N $699,722 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $352,135 $311,159 $59,051 $65,851 N $337,540 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $155,161 $254,056 $11,911 $59,687 N $155,161 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $266,772 $257,854 $58,808 $7,689 N $266,772 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Progress North Carolina (Progress NC)

    PO BOX 865
    RALEIGH, NC 27602-0865