Sixteen Thirty Fund




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $5,617,209
Expenses: $8,660,897
Assets: $6,667,545




Funding and Fiscal Sponsorship Nonprofit


Eric Kessler

Managed By:

Arabella Advisors

The Sixteen Thirty Fund (sometimes styled “1630 Fund”) is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization founded in 2008. The group says it “promotes social welfare by conducting public education, advocacy, and other campaigns to support progressive policies.”[1]

The group operates quietly, using its funds to provide grants to progressive organizations—a practice criticized as “dark money.”[2] In 2015, the fund provided millions in grants to 29 different organizations. That year, Sixteen Thirty Fund’s largest grant—exceeding $1.9 million—went to the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the “educational” arm of the League of Conservation Voters, an organization activating and rallying environmentalists to political activism.[3]

Sixteen Thirty Fund often operates alongside its 501(c)(3) “sister” nonprofit New Venture Fund, which provides similar funding and fiscal sponsorship services to center-left organizations. Both groups are administered by Arabella Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropy consulting firm that caters to left-leaning clients. Sixteen Thirty Fund’s board of directors is primarily composed of officers from Arabella Advisors, including the firm’s principal Eric KesslerEric Kessler is a founder and principal of Arabella Advisors, an investment firm which aims to “help families, corporations and foundations improve the world through philanthropy and impact investing.”[4] The Hopewell Fund and Windward Fund are also 501(c)(3) nonprofits managed by Arabella Advisors that work closely with NVF and Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Both Sixteen Thirty Fund and New Venture Fund have been criticized as “dark money” organizations, serving as a way for left-leaning groups to anonymously funnel money toward various advocacy issues, such as attacking vulnerable Republicans or pushing state-level environmental restrictions.[5]

Low-Profile Funding Activities

The Sixteen Thirty Fund keeps a low profile compared with comparable nonprofit organizations. The organization boasts a one-page website, no Facebook page and no Twitter account. The fund has received little news coverage in the past few years. What little press coverage to be found centered on the 2013 effort to recall Democratic sate legislators in Colorado over their votes on a controversial gun-control measure.

That year, Sixteen Thirty Fund donated $35,000 to a Colorado group founded to defended Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) from a recall effort over her votes for more gun control in the state.[6] Giron lost the effort after only 44 percent voted to retain her.[7] During the same recall effort, Sixteen Thirty Fund donated another $35,000 to a group supporting Colorado state Sen. John Morse (D-Colorado Springs), who also supported stricter gun control.[8] Morse also lost the recall vote when 51 percent voted to oust him.[9]

In 2017, the Washington Free Beacon tied the Sixteen Thirty Fund to progressive efforts to hide big money fueling criticism of President Donald Trump’s nominees to several Cabinet-level posts. Targeted nominees included businessman Andy Puzder (who would later withdraw as nominee for Secretary of Labor) and Steven Mnuchin (later confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury).[10]

Another publication, Tax Analysts, noticed Sixteen Thirty Fund’s financial support for “Tax March” rallies planned to protest President Trump’s unwillingness to release his tax returns. It is unclear how much Sixteen Thirty Fund contributed to the march.[11]

Ballot Initiatives

On September 4, 2018, the Missouri-based Kansas City Star reported a $3 million donation from Sixteen Thirty Fund to Raise Up Missouri, a left-wing PAC seeking to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour through a 2018 ballot initiative. Sixteen Thirty Fund also reportedly gave $500,000 to the PAC in 2017, and an additional $500,000 to it in May 2018.[12]


Eric Kessler, a former Clinton administration environmental policy staffer who also serves as principal of liberal philanthropic and investment strategy firm Arabella Advisors, is president of Sixteen Thirty Fund.[13] He additionally serves as the board chair for the New Venture Fund.[14] More than 100 progressive organizations boast connections to Kessler and the New Venture Fund.[15]

Board of Directors

According to its 2016 tax filing, the Sixteen Thirty Fund board of directors consists of Arabella Advisors principal Eric Kessler, Albright Stonebridge Group senior advisor Michael Madnik, Democratic Party consultant and former Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign spokesman Douglas Hattaway, Arabella Advisors chief financial officer Wilbur Priester, and Arabella Advisors general counsel Andrew Schulz.[16]


The Washington Free Beacon reported that the Sixteen Thirty Fund received $860,000 from four labor unions in 2015 and 2016, including the AFL-CIO and the National Education Association.[17]

Sixteen Thirty Fund also received over $4.5 million from the Atlantic Philanthropies, a now-defunct Bermuda-based philanthropic enterprise that funded left-of-center organizations.[18] Other known funders of Sixteen Thirty include the Tides Foundation.[19]

2015 Grantees

Sixteen Thirty Fund: 2015 Grantees Action $75,000
Americans for Tax Fairness $100,000
Bread for the World $12,500
Center for Community Change (CCC) Action $610,000
Center for Rights in Action $50,000
Church World Service $12,500
Citizen Action of Wisconsin $14,000
Color of Change $40,000
Color of Change Education Fund $75,000
Demand Progress Action (fiscally sponsored by Sixteen Thirty Fund) $55,000
Earth Day Network $50,000
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) $675,000
Fair Share $550,000
Free Press Action Fund $125,000
Freedom for All Americans $75,000
League of Conservation Voters (LCV) $1,925,000
Louisiana Federation for Children PAC $70,000
New Progressive Network $13,000
Northwest Health Foundation $10,000
One Nation Forward $5,000
Pineros Campesinos Unidos Del $20,000
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin $14,000
Presente Action $20,000
Stand for Children $80,000
Sumofus $25,000
Partnership Project Action Fund $1,450,000
The Public Investigator $28,578
United Working Families $75,000
US Global Leadership Campaign $25,000

Consulting Services

In 2016, the Sixteen Thirty Fund paid $400,000 in consulting fees to the left-wing Democracy Alliance.[20] It also hired Arabella Advisors, which was paid $789,891 in consulting fees; SKDKnickerbocker for $268,944; Block By Block, Inc. for $527,950; and Precision Strategies for $435,141.[21]


  1. “Sixteen Thirty Fund.” Sixteen Thirty Fund. Accessed April 18, 2017.
  2.  Bland, Scott. “Liberal Secret-money Network Hammers House GOP.” POLITICO. July 29, 2018. Accessed January 08, 2019.
  3. Sixteen Thirty Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2015, Schedule I Part II
  4. “Philanthropy and Impact Investing / Arabella Advisors.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  5. Markay, Lachan. “Over 100 Left-Wing Groups Sourced to DC Dark Money Outfit.” Washington Free Beacon. October 22, 2015. Accessed February 18, 2017.
  6. Roper, Peter. “Outside money helps Giron.” Pueblo Chieftain. June 10, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2017.
  7. Bunch, Joey. “Angela Giron ousted in Colorado recall election, thanks supporters in Pueblo.” The Denver Post. April 28, 2016. Accessed April 18, 2017.
  8. Gardner, Aaron . “Sen. Morse Claims to Fight Outside Interest Groups While Outside Interest Groups Fund Pro Morse Campaign.” Media Trackers. June 17, 2013. Accessed April 19, 2017.
  9. Lee, Kurtis . “Sen. John Morse ousted in historic vote, vows to “continue to fight”.” The Denver Post. April 28, 2016. Accessed April 19, 2017.
  10. Markay, Lachlan . “Left-Wing Front Groups Make Anti-Trump Money Untraceable.” Washington Free Beacon. February 22, 2017. Accessed April 20, 2017. .
  11. Gattoni-Celli, Luca. “National Tax March Planners Lean Left as April 15 Events Near.” Tax Analysts. April 11, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2017.
  12. Hancock, Jason. “Dark Money Group Drops $3 Million into Missouri Minimum Wage Campaign.” Kansascity. September 4, 2018. Accessed September 06, 2018.
  13. “Our People.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  14. “Board of Directors.” New Venture Fund. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  15. Markay, Lachlan. “Over 100 Left-Wing Groups Sourced to DC Dark Money Outfit.” Washington Free Beacon. October 22, 2015. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  16. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Sixteen Thirty Fund (2016). Part VII, Section A.
  17. Markay, Lachlan. “Left-Wing Front Groups Make Anti-Trump Money Untraceable.” Washington Free Beacon. February 22, 2017. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  18. Maghami, Neil. “A Donor Can Stand Up: Battling over donor intent at the Atlantic Philanthropies.” Capital Research Center. April 13, 2015. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  19. Tides Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2014, Schedule I
  20. Sixteen Thirty Fund, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, 2016, Schedule B, Part VII, Section B.
  21. Sixteen Thirty Fund, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, 2016, Schedule B, Part VII, Section B.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Wilbur Priester
    Chief Financial Officer and Board Member
  2. Andrew Schulz
    General Counsel and Board Member
  3. Michael Madnik
    Board Member
  4. Eric Kessler
    Board President

Child Organizations

  1. All Above All Action Fund (AAAAF) (Non-profit)
  2. Allied Progress Action (Non-profit)
  3. Americans for Affordable Birth Control Action Fund (Non-profit)
  4. Arizonans United for Health Care (Non-profit)
  5. Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform (Non-profit)
  6. Civic Engagement Action Fund (Non-profit)
  7. Colorado United for Families (Non-profit)
  8. Constitutional Responsibility Project (Non-profit)
  9. Demand Justice (Non-profit)
  10. Demand Progress Action (Non-profit)
  11. Equity Forward Action (Non-profit)
  12. Floridians for a Fair Shake (Non-profit)
  13. For Our Families (Non-profit)
  14. Health Care FAQs (Non-profit)
  15. Health Care Voter (Non-profit)
  16. Health Care Voters of Nevada (Non-profit)
  17. Health Care for America Now (HCAN) (Non-profit)
  18. Kansans for Secure Elections (Non-profit)
  19. Keep Iowa Healthy (Non-profit)
  20. Lady Parts Justice (Non-profit)
  21. Mainers Against Health Care Cuts (Non-profit)
  22. Make It Work Action (Non-profit)
  23. Media Democracy Action Fund (Non-profit)
  24. Michigan Families for Economic Prosperity (Non-profit)
  25. Navigator Research (Non-profit)
  26. New Jersey for a Better Future (Non-profit)
  27. North Carolinians for a Fair Economy (Non-profit)
  28. Not One Penny (Non-profit)
  29. Ohio Committee for Safe and Secure Elections (Non-profit)
  30. Ohioans for Economic Opportunity (Non-profit)
  31. Our Lives on the Line (Non-profit)
  32. PA Progress (Non-profit)
  33. Protect Our Care (Non-profit)
  34. Protect PA Voters (Non-profit)
  35. Protect The Investigation (Non-profit)
  36. Respect Workers, Respect Voters (Non-profit)
  37. Secure Michigan Elections (Non-profit)
  38. SoCal Healthcare Coalition (Non-profit)
  39. Speak Out Central New York (Non-profit)
  40. Speak Out CNY (Non-profit)
  41. Stop Payday Predators (Non-profit)
  42. Tax March (Non-profit)
  43. Tax Plan Answers (Non-profit)
  44. The Love Vote (Non-profit)
  45. Western Values Project Action (Non-profit)

Donation Recipients

  1. 350 Action (Non-profit)
  2. A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) (Non-profit)
  3. Advancement Project (Non-profit)
  4. America Votes (Non-profit)
  5. American Wind Energy Association (Non-profit)
  6. Americans for Tax Fairness (Non-profit)
  7. Americans United for Change (AUFC) (Non-profit)
  8. Blueprint NC (Non-profit)
  9. Bread for the World (Non-profit)
  10. Bus Federation Civic Fund (Non-profit)
  11. Bus Project (Non-profit)
  12. California Calls (Non-profit)
  13. Center for American Progress (CAP) (Non-profit)
  14. Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAP Action) (Non-profit)
  15. Center for Community Change (CCC) (Non-profit)
  16. Center for Community Change (CCC) Action (Non-profit)
  17. Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) (Non-profit)
  18. Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) Action Fund (Non-profit)
  19. Center for Rights in Action (Other Group)
  20. Church World Service (Non-profit)
  21. Citizen Action of Wisconsin (Non-profit)
  22. Civic Participation Action Fund (Non-profit)
  23. Color of Change (Non-profit)
  24. Education Fund (Non-profit)
  25. Demand Progress Action (Non-profit)
  26. Democratic Governors Association (DGA) (Political Party/527)
  27. Earth Day Network (Non-profit)
  28. Environment America (Non-profit)
  29. Environmental Defense Action Fund (Non-profit)
  30. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) (Non-profit)
  31. Every Voice (Non-profit)
  32. Fair Share (Non-profit)
  33. Fight for the Future (Non-profit)
  34. Fight for the Future Education Fund (Non-profit)
  35. For Our Future Action Fund (Non-profit)
  36. Free Press Action Fund (Non-profit)
  37. Freedom for All Americans (Non-profit)
  38. Higher Heights (Non-profit)
  39. House Majority PAC (Political Party/527)
  40. Iowa Citizen Action Network (Non-profit)
  41. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Non-profit)
  42. Latino Victory Project (Political Party/527)
  43. Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Non-profit)
  44. League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund (Political Party/527)
  45. Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR) (Non-profit)
  46. League of Conservation Voters (LCV) (Non-profit)
  47. Majority Forward (Non-profit)
  48. Media Matters Action Network (Non-profit)
  49. Mi Familia Vota (Non-profit)
  50. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (Non-profit)
  51. National Action Network (Non-profit)
  52. New Florida Majority (Non-profit)
  53. New Futures Fund (Non-profit)
  54. New Venture Fund (NVF) (Non-profit)
  55. New Virginia Majority (Non-profit)
  56. Ohio Organizing Collaborative (Non-profit)
  57. Organize Now Inc (Non-profit)
  58. Partnership Project Action Fund (Non-profit)
  59. Patriot Majority USA (Non-profit)
  60. People for the American Way (PFAW) (Non-profit)
  61. PowerPAC (Non-profit)
  62. (Presente ACTION) (Non-profit)
  63. ProgressNow (Non-profit)
  64. Represent.Us (Non-profit)
  65. Sierra Club (Non-profit)
  66. State Engagement Fund (Non-profit)
  67. State Voices (Non-profit)
  68. SumofUs (Non-profit)
  69. TakeAction Minnesota (Non-profit)
  70. U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG) (Non-profit)
  71. UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) Action Fund (Non-profit)
  72. Wisconsin Voices (Non-profit)
  73. Working Families Organization (WFO) (Non-profit)
  74. Working Families Party (WFP) (Political Party/527)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2009

  • 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
    2015 Dec Form 990 $5,617,209 $8,660,897 $6,667,545 $1,059,908 N $5,577,209 $40,000 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $16,523,735 $10,880,643 $9,157,873 $506,548 N $16,523,735 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $5,269,965 $2,721,133 $3,158,689 $150,456 N $5,269,965 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $812,500 $353,098 $485,907 $26,506 N $812,500 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $93,600 $93,600 $0 $0 N $93,600 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Sixteen Thirty Fund

    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-2656