Small Business Majority




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $3,775,879
Expenses: $3,763,572
Assets: $2,296,631

Founder, CEO:

John Arensmeyer

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The Small Business Majority Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) business advocacy organization aligned with progressive interests. To date its primary project has been the promotion of Obamacare. Based in California, though operating throughout the country, its founder and CEO is John Arensmeyer.1


Small Business Majority was founded in 2004 by e-commerce businessman John Arensmeyer. In an interview with the New York Times, he described the motive behind the organization: “We really felt there needed to be a more sort of measured, pragmatic voice that was not ideological in the public policy discussions around small-business issues.”2

In practice, Arensmeyer’s vision of “not ideological” meant liberal and “public policy discussions” meant primarily government-run healthcare policy. Arensmeyer is a Democrat and is a board member of the Bay Area Democrats.3 He has given money to numerous Democratic Party candidates for federal elections, including former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Ami Bera (D-California).4 In addition to Arensmeyer, the Small Business Majority board includes Kip Howard, a retired entrepreneur; Kenneth Henderson, a partner at Bryan Cave LLP; Celia Canfield, founder and CEO of Green Energy Agents; and LaJuanna Russell of Business Management Associates, Inc.5


Small Business Majority is not member-based and thus not member-supported.  It is principally financed by external grants from liberal foundations, not small businesses. Foundations that support Small Business Majority include the Bauman Foundation, the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the New York State Health Foundation, and the California Endowment.67

Health care

The New York Times’ “Agenda” characterized the Small Business Majority as the only business advocacy organization whose research found support for the “pay-or-play” policies of the Affordable Care Act’s mandates in 2009.8 Small Business Majority released a number of state polls it claimed demonstrated that the majority of small businesses supported such mandates, which conflicted with the position of more mainstream business groups.

In the lead up to the passage of Obamacare, the organization also joined the labor union-led Health Care for America Now (HCAN) campaign. In addition to health care, Small Business Majority lists a number of other research and policy focuses, including tax policy, “Access to Capital,” infrastructure and economic development, workforce and retirement issues, “Entrepreneurship & Freelance Economy,” immigration, and a “Clean Energy Economy.” 9 In 2015, SBM launched two informational initiatives focused on small business access to capital, the “Access to Capital Resource Portal” and “Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights.”10

Financial Aid

Due to the economic impact caused by COVID, Small Business Majority issued a statement demanding California to, “explore a state bank that could invest in small business owners who are unable to receive a traditional bank loan, as well as increased technical assistance, microgrants, and startup funding for underserved communities, including for immigrants and Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals.”11


  1. “Small Business Majority Foundation Inc.” GuideStar. Accessed July 28, 2017.
  2. Robb Mandelbaum, “Who Is the Small Business Majority?” The New York Times. July 8, 2009.
  3. Robb Mandelbaum, “Who Is the Small Business Majority?” The New York Times. July 8, 2009.
  4. Center for Responsive Politics. “Donor Lookup.” OpenSecrets. Accessed September 14, 2017.
  5. “Small Business Majority Foundation Inc.” GuideStar. Accessed July 28, 2017.
  6. “Small Business Majority,” The Bauman Foundation. Accessed July 28, 2017.
  7. Robb Mandelbaum, “Who Is the Small Business Majority?” The New York Times. July 8, 2009.
  8. Robb Mandelbaum, “Who Is the Small Business Majority?” The New York Times. July 8, 2009.
  9. “Policy Agenda,” Small Business Majority. Accessed July 30, 2017.
  10. John Arensmeyer, “Why We Need To Make Sure Small Businesses Can Thrive,” Inc. Sep. 30, 2015.
  11. Tubbs, Michael. “A Tough Economy Has Revived the ‘Bootstrapping’ Myth. Here’s Why It Takes More than Just a Good Idea to Get out of Poverty.” Fortune. Fortune, January 18, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2010

  • 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
    2016 Dec Form 990 $3,775,879 $3,763,572 $2,296,631 $2,280,925 N $3,772,949 $0 $521 $369,866
    2015 Dec Form 990 $3,216,710 $4,049,293 $2,876,778 $2,873,379 N $3,211,662 $0 $419 $382,765 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $4,324,239 $3,758,194 $2,042,895 $1,206,913 N $4,320,578 $0 $1,003 $349,180 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $4,935,336 $2,719,572 $2,922,459 $76,868 N $4,694,622 $239,964 $750 $395,070 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $2,429,047 $2,306,222 $666,791 $36,964 N $2,398,620 $30,000 $427 $443,930 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,515,525 $1,507,813 $597,778 $90,776 N $1,514,115 $0 $37 $419,190 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Small Business Majority

    4000 BRIDGEWAY STE 305
    SAUSALITO, CA 94965-4800