Non-profit

Rural Utah Project

Website:

ruralutahproject.org/

Location:

Salt Lake City, UT

Tax ID:

82-1603888

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $335,605
Expenses: $430,966
Assets: $475,881

Formation:

2017

Type:

Left-of-center non-profit

Executive Director:

TJ Ellerbeck

The Rural Utah Project (RUP) started in 2017 with the goal of electing a Democratic and Navajo majority to Utah’s San Juan County Commission. [1] In 2018, after spending $203,241 on voter registration and county organizing efforts, RUP secured the election of Willie Grayeyes and Kenneth Maryboy to the county commission. [2] [3] Kenneth Maryboy is the brother of Mark Maryboy, a trustee of the Rural Utah Project.

Before the 2020 election, RUP, along with its sister program the Rural Arizona Project, registered over 6,000 mostly Navajo voters in Utah and Arizona. TIME magazine and the New York Times credited RUP’s efforts with helping swing the election in Arizona to the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. [4] [5]

In 2021, RUP began taking public positions about bills in the Utah state legislature. RUP opposes policies that support conventional energy. The Rural Utah Project has received at least $400,000 from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, a left-of-center environmentalist organization that supports the Green New Deal and opposes energy production. [6] [7] [8]

RUP also has a 501(c)(3), the Rural Utah Project Education Fund. [9] Both RUP and the Rural Utah Project Education Fund receive individual donations through Act Blue, the online fundraising platform for left-wing organizations and candidates. [10] [11]

Founding and History

The Rural Utah Project started in late 2017 after a federal judge declared that the districts in San Juan County disenfranchised Native American voters and ordered them redrawn. [12] After redistricting, the Rural Utah Project set out to elect an “Indigenous-majority” to the County Commission. [13]

In 2018, the Rural Utah Project spent $203,241 on voter registration and county organizing efforts. [14] The organization reportedly registered over 1,600 mostly Navajo voters in 2018. [15] RUP’s efforts helped elect a Democratic and Navajo majority to the San Juan County Commission. [16] One of the new commissioners that RUP helped elect was Kenneth Maryboy, the brother of Mark Maryboy, a member of the board of trustees of RUP. The Rural Utah Project failed to properly make voters aware of this conflict of interest. [17]

In 2019, RUP partnered with Google to provide Plus Codes to 2,600 inhabited homes in rural, southern Utah. Plus Codes are an alternative form of location mapping for areas without street signs or traditional addresses. RUP began this project to ensure that voters were registered in the correct precincts. [18] This initiative by RUP and Google was the first time Plus Codes were used in the United States for voter registration purposes. [19]

In 2020, RUP formed a sister program, the Rural Arizona Project. [20] Led by RUP field director Tara Benally, the Rural Arizona Project expanded RUP’s voter registration efforts to members of the Navajo Nation residing in Arizona. The programs registered almost 6,000 voters in Utah and Arizona before the 2020 election. TIME magazine and the New York Times credited RUP’s efforts with helping the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win the state of Arizona. [21] [22]

Political Activism

In both 2017 and 2018, the Rural Utah Project received grants of $200,000 from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, a left-of-center environmentalist organization that supports the Green New Deal and opposes conventional energy production. [23] [24] Many members of the board of trustees of the Southern Wilderness Alliance also have served on the board of RUP. These members include: Tom Kenworthy (Chair of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance), Anne Milliken (Chair of RUP), Mark Maryboy, Scott Gerome, Richard Ingebretsen, and Liz Thomas. [25] [26]

The Rural Utah Project also receives individual donations through ActBlue, the online fundraising platform for left-wing organizations and candidates. [27] [28] The Rural Utah Project also has received funding from a variety of center-left and left-of-center environmentalist and organizations, ethnic-interest groups, and labor unions. These organizations include: the Arizona Advocacy Foundation, the Denver Foundation, the Tides Foundation, the Movement Voter Project, the National Congress of American Indians, and the National Education Association. [29]

In 2018, the Rural Utah Project donated $2,700 to the Utah Democratic Party and $7,500 to the San Juan County Democratic Party. [30]

In 2020, the Rural Utah Project formed the Rural Utah Project Education Fund, a 501(c)(3). [31] In early 2021, the Rural Utah Project expanded into public activism regarding bills in the Utah state legislature. RUP opposes bills that would support conventional energy production. [32]

References

  1. “Our Work.” Rural Utah Project. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://ruralutahproject.org/work/. ^
  2. RUP, Inc Form 990. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/821603888/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F821603888_201812_990O_2020020617120830. ^
  3. Stevens, Taylor. “I’m sure it’s a culture shock for most of you’: Navajos take the majority on the San Juan County Commission.” The Salt Lake Tribune. January 7, 2019. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2019/01/07/san-juan-county/. ^
  4. Villa, Lissandra and Vera Bergengruen. “Meet Some of the Supporters Who Helped Deliver the Election to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.” Time. December 13, 2020. December 12, 2020. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://time.com/5920880/voters-joe-biden-kamala-harris/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+time%2Ftopstories+%28TIME%3A+Top+Stories%29. ^
  5. “NYTimes: Native Americans Helped Flip Arizona. Can They Mobilize In Georgia?” Rural Utah Project. December 7, 2020. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://ruralutahproject.org/2020/12/nytimes-native-americans-helped-flip-arizona-can-they-mobilize-in-georgia/. ^
  6. “About SUWA.” Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Accessed March 21, 2021. https://suwa.org/about-suwa/ ^
  7. RUP, Inc Form 990. 2017. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/821603888/03_2019_prefixes_81-84%2F821603888_201712_990O_2019030816161334. ^
  8. RUP, Inc Form 990. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/821603888/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F821603888_201812_990O_2020020617120830. ^
  9. “Rural Utah Project Education Fund.” ProPublica. Accessed March 20, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/842842840. ^
  10. “Donate to RUP, Inc.” ActBlue. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/rup–inc–1. ^
  11. “Contribute to the Rural Utah Project Education Fund.” ActBlue. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/rupef. ^
  12. Betancout. Mark. “Native Americans just made history in this Utah country.” Vice. November 7, 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://www.vice.com/en/article/59vzjz/native-americans-just-made-history-in-this-utah-country. ^
  13. “Our Work.” Rural Utah Project. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://ruralutahproject.org/work/. ^
  14. RUP, Inc Form 990. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/821603888/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F821603888_201812_990O_2020020617120830. ^
  15. Podmore, Zak. “The Navajo Nation Is Getting Addresses, Thanks To An Open-Source Mapping Program Used IN Urban India.” Rural Utah Project. October 24, 2019. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://ruralutahproject.org/2019/10/the-navajo-nation-is-getting-addresses-thanks-to-an-open-source-mapping-program-used-in-urban-india/. ^
  16. Betancout. Mark. “Native Americans just made history in this Utah country.” Vice. November 7, 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://www.vice.com/en/article/59vzjz/native-americans-just-made-history-in-this-utah-country. ^
  17. Stevens, Taylor. “I’m sure it’s a culture shock for most of you’: Navajos take the majority on the San Juan County Commission.” The Salt Lake Tribune. January 7, 2019. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2019/01/07/san-juan-county/. ^
  18. “For some Native Americans, no home address might mean no voting.” The Salt Lake Tribune. October 6, 2019. Accessed March 20, 2021. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2019/10/06/some-native-americans-no/ ^
  19. Podmore, Zak. “The Navajo Nation Is Getting Addresses, Thanks To An Open-Source Mapping Program Used IN Urban India.” Rural Utah Project. October 24, 2019. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://ruralutahproject.org/2019/10/the-navajo-nation-is-getting-addresses-thanks-to-an-open-source-mapping-program-used-in-urban-india/. ^
  20. “The Rural Arizona Project.” Facebook.com. Accessed March 20, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/The-Rural-Arizona-Project-107305041003990/?ref=page_internal. ^
  21. Villa, Lissandra and Vera Bergengruen. “Meet Some of the Supporters Who Helped Deliver the Election to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.” Time. December 13, 2020. December 12, 2020. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://time.com/5920880/voters-joe-biden-kamala-harris/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+time%2Ftopstories+%28TIME%3A+Top+Stories%29. ^
  22. “NYTimes: Native Americans Helped Flip Arizona. Can They Mobilize In Georgia?” Rural Utah Project. December 7, 2020. Accessed March 17, 2021. https://ruralutahproject.org/2020/12/nytimes-native-americans-helped-flip-arizona-can-they-mobilize-in-georgia/. ^
  23. RUP, Inc Form 990. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/821603888/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F821603888_201812_990O_2020020617120830. ^
  24. “About SUWA.” Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Accessed March 21, 2021. https://suwa.org/about-suwa/. ^
  25. RUP, Inc Form 990. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/821603888/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F821603888_201812_990O_2020020617120830. ^
  26. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance Form 990. 2018. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/942936961/09_2019_prefixes_91-95%2F942936961_201812_990_2019091216638733. ^
  27. “Donate to RUP, Inc.” ActBlue. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/rup–inc–1. ^
  28. “Contribute to the Rural Utah Project Education Fund.” ActBlue. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/rupef. ^
  29. “Digital Organizing & Impact: 2020 Election.” Rural Utah Project. Accessed March 20, 2021. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uTuSyu6qxBZY7L3-DXSwgvAeuxDBGWM-/view. ^
  30. RUP, Inc Form 990. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/821603888/02_2020_prefixes_81-82%2F821603888_201812_990O_2020020617120830. ^
  31. “Rural Utah Project Education Fund.” ProPublica. Accessed March 20, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/842842840. ^
  32. “Our Rural Roundup: The Utah Legislative Session.” Rural Utah Project. February 17, 2021. Accessed March 20, 2021. https://ruralutahproject.org/2021/02/our-rural-roundup-the-utah-legislative-session/. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2017

  • 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
    2018 Dec Form 990 $335,605 $430,966 $475,881 $5,305 N $335,088 $0 $517 $59,210 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $588,115 $22,178 $566,012 $75 N $588,000 $0 $115 $2,484 PDF

    Rural Utah Project

    PO BOX 2665
    Salt Lake City, UT 84110-2665