Non-profit

Safety Net Defense Fund

Project of:

New Venture Fund

Safety Net Defense Fund (SNDF) is a project of the left-of-center New Venture Fund that supports continued and increased funding of federal welfare and poor-assistance programs, including food stamps (known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)), Obamacare, and Medicaid. [1] It has a related lobbying project run by the Sixteen Thirty Fund, [2] the lobbying arm of the Arabella Advisors network of which New Venture Fund is also a part. [3]

SNDF was launched in 2017 after the election of President Donald Trump with commitments to do away with Obamacare and reduce welfare. [4] It is operated in the “dark money” network associated with left-of-center philanthropic consultancy Arabella Advisors. Arabella partnered in its founding with the left-of-center groups Center for Community Change (CCC) and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). [5] It receives millions in funding from left-of-center institutional foundations, including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,[6] John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,[7] and the Rockefeller Foundation. [8]

The Safety Net Defense Fund advocates for Obamacare, combats reductions in federal spending on low-income programs like food stamps, and supports entitlements Social Security. [9]

A 2018 prospectus indicated that most of SNDF’s funding will be directed to spread national messaging through field assets that are either partners of SNDF or hired vendors. [10]

Strategy

Focus States

The Safety Net Defense Fund indicated it would target 17 states including New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. [11] The Center for Community Change (CCC) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) were listed as the coordinators for the state and national groups. [12]   

National

The national campaign will create and share testimonials from the people SNDF claims will be affected by program reductions. These stories will be shared in key markets and serve to draw negative attention to Republican leaders, bolster Democratic leaders, and come across as protecting those in need. [13]

Field Campaigns

The seventeen states will be the initial targets for field campaigns, which will be generated by state and local activist groups. The national partners, The Center for Community Change (CCC) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), will assist in supporting the feet on the street with tech and operational support. [14] State partners will energize a broad base of support through recruiting social service agencies, doctors, and small business, hospital, and faith leaders [15]

Messaging

The SNDF campaign will support the ground teams with awareness campaigns broadcasting comprehensively in local, state and national media outlets. The messaging partners include the Democratic establishment-aligned Center for American Progress that will gather and distribute stories. These testimonies to people’s reliance on anti-poverty programs are authored by grassroots activists and shared as op-eds through partners like liberal PR consultancy BerlinRosen. [16]

Another partner, Spitfire Strategies, distributed news flashes and drew attention to the arrest of a reporter. Berlin osen helped create 76 stories about topics like SNAP within five days of President Trump’s budget release. [17]

Constituency Organizing

SNDF organizes constituencies that are allegedly the most affected by Trump administration welfare policies. These include low-income opioid addicts, low-income senior citizens, and the disabled. [18]

Partner Groups

The Safety Net Defense Action Fund (SNDAF) is a separate group and partner founded by the Sixteen Thirty Fund, and the Center for Community Change Action (CCCA). Its charter is to drive lobbying directly and through grassroots efforts to connect affected people to their congressional representatives. [19]

Other partners include Food Research and Action Center, Feeding America, MomsRising, Planned Parenthood, the Coalition on Human Needs, the ARC, Families USA, HCAN, Protect Our Care, Community Catalyst, Georgetown Center for Children and Families, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Center for Popular Democracy, and Indivisible. [20]

The Safety Net Defense Campaign utilized 23 field partner groups and 72 grassroots leaders in its opposition to low-income program budget cuts. [21]

Funding

The vast majority of the $8 million budget was to be invested in the ground forces in key states. The remainder was mostly directed to the messaging tactics. The budget is managed by the New Venture Fund. [22]

The New  Venture Fund acts as the hub for the collection of revenues from a broad network of donors. It also serves as the pivot point for strategic resources from complementary partners that contribute the wide array of necessary skills to fulfill the goals of the Safety Net Campaign. [23] The New Venture Fund then funnels those revenues and resources to the campaign management firm Arabella Advisors. [24]

Leadership

Scott Nielsen is the managing director at Arabella Advisors and the point of contact for the campaign. [25] He aids Arabella clients’ political and social objectives by gathering essential resources. He previously ran a consulting firm that worked with a wide range of left-leaning organizations including George SorosOpen Society Foundations and the left-progressive Democracy Alliance. Nielsen was also once employed by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. [26]

References

  1. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  2. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  3. 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/. ^
  4. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  5. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  6. Hewlett Foundation Tax Return Form 990 [Brochure]. (2018). CA. Retrieved May 15, 2020, from https://hewlett.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2017-Form-990-PF-full-return-with-attachments.pdf ^
  7. A 990-PF: JOHN D & CATHERINE T MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, Return of a PrivateFoundation (Form 990-PF), 2017, Part XV https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/237093598/201813199349100836/IRS990PF ^
  8. Rockefeller Foundation. (2019). Rockefeller Foundation Tax Return [Brochure]. CA: Author. Retrieved May 15, 2020, from https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/grant/grant-new-venture-fund-2019-2/ ^
  9. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  10. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  11. The Sixteen Thirty Fund. (2017). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE ACTION FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved June, 2017, from https://democracyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SNDAF-C4-Overview.1630-Fund.June2017_DA2.pdf ^
  12. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  13. The Sixteen Thirty Fund. (2017). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE ACTION FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved June, 2017, from https://democracyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SNDAF-C4-Overview.1630-Fund.June2017_DA2.pdf ^
  14. The Sixteen Thirty Fund. (2017). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE ACTION FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved June, 2017, from https://democracyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SNDAF-C4-Overview.1630-Fund.June2017_DA2.pdf ^
  15. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  16. The Sixteen Thirty Fund. (2017). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE ACTION FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved June, 2017, from https://democracyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SNDAF-C4-Overview.1630-Fund.June2017_DA2.pdf ^
  17. The Sixteen Thirty Fund. (2017). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE ACTION FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved June, 2017, from https://democracyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SNDAF-C4-Overview.1630-Fund.June2017_DA2.pdf ^
  18. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  19. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  20. The New Venture Fund. (2018). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, D.C.: Author. Retrieved January, 2018, from https://ncg.org/sites/default/files/resources/Safety%20Net%20Defense%20Fund%20Concept%20Memo.pdf ^
  21. Community Change and Community Change Action. (2018). 2018 Annual Report Community Change and Community Change Action [Brochure]. Author. Retrieved May 15, 2020, from https://communitychange.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/CC-2018-Annual-Report-digital.pdf ^
  22. The Sixteen Thirty Fund. (2017). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE ACTION FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved June, 2017, from https://democracyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SNDAF-C4-Overview.1630-Fund.June2017_DA2.pdf ^
  23. Picower, B. (2019, Spring). Doing More With Big Bets (SSIR). Retrieved May 15, 2020, from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/doing_more_with_big_bets ^
  24. Capital Research Center. (2019). The Regressive Resistance [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved May 15, 2020, from https://capitalresearch.org/app/uploads/CRC_ISSUE_3_web.pdf ^
  25. The Sixteen Thirty Fund. (2017). THE SAFETY NET DEFENSE ACTION FUND PROJECT [Brochure]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved June, 2017, from https://democracyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SNDAF-C4-Overview.1630-Fund.June2017_DA2.pdf ^
  26. Nielsen, Scott. “Linkedin Profile Scott Nielsen.” Linkedin Profile Scott Nielsen. 2020. Accessed May 15, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-nielsen-22b50064/. ^
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