Center-left Donors Collaborative

Project of:

New Venture Fund

Founding Director:

Daria Caliguire

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The Strengthening Accountability in the Global Economy (SAGE) Fund is a collaborative group for left-of-center foundations. The SAGE Fund is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit created and managed by the for-profit consultancy Arabella Advisors. 1 SAGE Fund was created by New Venture Fund to “direct funds to national level groups” focused on human rights improvement in less economically developed nations. 2

Several members of the SAGE Fund’s Advisory Board belong to a number of left-of-center grant-making foundations, including the Oak Foundation and the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. 3


The SAGE Fund was created in January 2015 based on guidelines formulated through a mapping study written by SAGE Fund director Daria Caliguire entitled Advancing Human Rights Accountability for Economic Actors: An Introductory Field Guide for Funders. 4 The study outlines how left-of-center donors and activists can address these problems, involving “greater investment in regulatory and legal strategies” such as establishing extra-territorial obligations (ETOs) which “define human rights obligations for states […] and intergovernmental organizations.” 5 In addition, the study discussed establishing a “consensus and an agenda for the field” to identify where donors and activist groups could make the biggest impact. 6

In 2017, the SAGE Fund supported a grant towards a project focused on determining regional community consent for mining operations in Central American countries, such as El Salvador and Guatemala. Among the several groups involved in the project included the Association for the Development of El Salvador (CRIPDES) and the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington D.C.-based think tank that advocates for left-of-center policies. 7

In 2019, the SAGE Fund partnered with Beyond Trafficking and Slavery (BTS), a project of the U.K.-based advocacy group openDemocracy, with support from the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundations, to publish a report, entitled The Future of Work, which outlined ways to improve the conditions for workers and the changing standards of employment within the global economy. 8 OpenDemocracy has connections to NEO Philanthropy, a U.S.-based pass-through liberal money conduit, despite the group’s complaints about supposed American Christian groups’ spending on politics in Europe. 9


Due to its status as a project of the New Venture Fund, the SAGE Fund is not required to file a separate tax return. However, critics have accused New Venture Fund of being a “dark money outfit” and using projects like the SAGE Fund to anonymously funnel money from donors to left-of-center initiatives and organizations. 10


Daria Caliguire is the founding director of the SAGE Fund. She had previously worked as a project manager for the Ford Foundation’s Peace and Social Justice Program. She had also served as the first director of the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net). 11

Tricia Feeney is the current senior advisor for the SAGE Fund. In 1998, she founded the human rights advocacy group Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) which promotes “increased corporate accountability for human rights.” 12 She worked as RAID’s executive director until 2017. 13

Lesley Carson is on SAGE Fund’s board of Advisors. Since 2007, Lesley Carson has worked as the program director of the International Human Rights Program for the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. Prior to this, she had served as co-chair of the Human Rights Funders Network, a left-of-center donors collaborative consisting of “95 dues-paying institutions,” including the Oak Foundation and Ford Foundation. 14

Greg Mayne is on SAGE Fund’s board of advisors. Since 2011, Grey Mayne has worked as the program officer for left-leaning environmentalist grantmaking group the Oak Foundation. Previously, he worked for the International Commission of Jurists as well as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 15

Conniel Malek is on SAGE Fund’s board of advisors. She is currently the executive director of True Costs Initiative, a Boston-based non-profit organization focused on corporate accountability and the strengthening of legal systems in developing nations. 16 She is also a board member for Engaged Funders for Global Equity (EDGE), a network of philanthropic institutions focused on domestic and international grantmaking. 17


  1. “Who We Are.” Sage Fund. Accessed August 27, 2019. Original URL: Archived here:
  2. “Our Approach.” SAGE Fund. Accessed September 6, 2019.
  3. Who We Are.” Sage Fund. Accessed September 12, 2019:
  4. “Our Approach.” SAGE Fund. Accessed September 6, 2019.
  5. Caligurie, Daria. Advancing Human Rights Accountability for Economic Actors: An Introductory Field Guide for Funders (2015).
  6. “Our Approach.” Sage Fund. Accessed September 11, 2019:
  7. “Community Driven Strategies.” SAGEfund. Accessed September 11, 2019.
  8. Thebos, Cameron, and Joel Quirk. “The Future of Work.” The Future of Work. London: Beyond Trafficking and Slavery/openDemocracy, 2019.
  9. “OpenDemocracy’s Supporters.” openDemocracy. Accessed September 10, 2019.
  10. Markay, Lachlan. “Over 100 Left-Wing Groups Sourced to DC Dark Money Outfit.” Washington Free Beacon. October 22, 2015. Accessed September 10, 2019.
  11. Who We Are.” Sage Fund. Accessed September 9, 2019:
  12. “Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID).” ESCR-NET. Accessed September 9, 2019.
  13. Who We Are.” Sage Fund. Accessed August 27, 2019:
  14. “Steering Committee.” Human Rights Funders Network. Accessed July 1, 2019.
  15. Who We Are.” Sage Fund. Accessed August 27, 2019:
  16. “About True Costs Initiative: Corporate Accountability in Action.” True Costs Initiative. Accessed September 9, 2019.
  17. Who We Are.” Sage Fund. Accessed August 27, 2019:

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Lesley Carson
    Advisory Board Member
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