Sixteen Thirty Fund



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2015):

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




Eric Kessler

Sixteen Thirty Fund is a 501(c)(4) advocacy group that was 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. 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.[2]

Eric Kessler presides over the Sixteen Thirty Fund. He is also 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.”[3]

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.[4] Giron lost the effort after only 44 percent voted to retain her.[5] 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.[6] Morse also lost the recall vote when 51 percent voted to oust him.[7]

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).[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]


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.[11] He additionally serves as the board chair for the New Venture Fund.[12] More than 100 progressive organizations boast connections to Kessler and the New Venture Fund.[13]


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.[14]

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.[15] Other known funders of Sixteen Thirty include the Tides Foundation.[16]

2015 Grantees

Consulting Services

In 2016, the Sixteen Thirty Fund paid $400,000 in consulting fees to the left-wing Democracy Alliance.[17] 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.[18]


  1. “Sixteen Thirty Fund.” Sixteen Thirty Fund. Accessed April 18, 2017.
  2. Sixteen Thirty Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2015, Schedule I Part II
  3. “Philanthropy and Impact Investing / Arabella Advisors.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  4. Roper, Peter. “Outside money helps Giron.” Pueblo Chieftain. June 10, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2017.
  5. Bunch, Joey. “Angela Giron ousted in Colorado recall election, thanks supporters in Pueblo.” The Denver Post. April 28, 2016. Accessed April 18, 2017.
  6. 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.
  7. Lee, Kurtis . “Sen. John Morse ousted in historic vote, vows to “continue to fight”.” The Denver Post. April 28, 2016. Accessed April 19, 2017.
  8. Markay, Lachlan . “Left-Wing Front Groups Make Anti-Trump Money Untraceable.” Washington Free Beacon. February 22, 2017. Accessed April 20, 2017. .
  9. Gattoni-Celli, Luca. “National Tax March Planners Lean Left as April 15 Events Near.” Tax Analysts. April 11, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2017.
  10. Hancock, Jason. “Dark Money Group Drops $3 Million into Missouri Minimum Wage Campaign.” Kansascity. September 4, 2018. Accessed September 06, 2018.
  11. “Our People.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  12. “Board of Directors.” New Venture Fund. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  13. Markay, Lachlan. “Over 100 Left-Wing Groups Sourced to DC Dark Money Outfit.” Washington Free Beacon. October 22, 2015. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  14. Markay, Lachlan. “Left-Wing Front Groups Make Anti-Trump Money Untraceable.” Washington Free Beacon. February 22, 2017. Accessed April 20, 2017.
  15. 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.
  16. Tides Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2014, Schedule I
  17. Sixteen Thirty Fund, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, 2016, Schedule B, Part VII, Section B.
  18. Sixteen Thirty Fund, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, 2016, Schedule B, Part VII, Section B.
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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

    Filings Without Data

    Sixteen Thirty Fund

    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-2656