State Engagement Initiative (Democracy Alliance)


Voter Mobilization Group

Project of:

Sixteen Thirty Fund

Democracy Alliance

The State Engagement Initiative is a center-left voter mobilization group created by the Democracy Alliance, a network of highly influential funders within the Democratic Party and the political Left. The Democracy Alliance itself generally coordinates funding strategies rather than engaging in grantmaking; consequently, the State Engagement Initiative itself is a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit funding and fiscal sponsorship provider. [1]

Political Activities

According to a 2016 report by the Democracy Alliance, the State Engagement Initiative works to challenge the alleged dominance that conservative legislators and politicians have at the state-level in a number of key states by encouraging progressives voters to increase their turnout rate. The funds used a number of state-based allies to target the following states:


  • Arizona Donor Collaborative



  • Florida Alliance


  • Georgia Donor Alliance


  • The Ohio Alliance


  • Oregon Progressive Group


  • PA Alliance



  • Nevada Student Action

New Mexico

  • Project New Mexico

North Carolina

  • Put NC First


  • Virginia Plus


  • The Wisconsin Progressive Investment Network


The funds share an advisory board consisting of Kim Anderson, executive vice president of the Democracy Alliance; Anne Bartley, co-founder of the Democracy Alliance-aligned Committee on States; Daaiyah Bilal-Threats, special assistant to the executive director of the National Education Association; Jeff Blodgett, co-founder of the advocacy group RePower (formerly Wellstone Action); Linda Honold, Brico Fund; Julie Kohler, senior adviser to the Democracy Alliance; Gara LaMarche, president of the Democracy Alliance; John Ost, director of political mobilization for the American Federation of Teachers; Michael PodhorzerAmerican Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); Michelle Ringuette, assistant to the president of the American Federation of Teachers; Susan Sandler of the Sandler Foundation; Adrianne Shropshire, Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Bill Vandenberg, Open Society Foundations; and Joe Zimlich, Bohemian Foundation.

Scott Anderson, executive director of Committee on States, and Frank Smith, the funds’ political director, are listed as the group’s contacts.


According to a 2016 Democracy Alliance report, the State Engagement Initiative raised approximately $6,670,000 and had expenditures of $6,670,000. [2]


  1. “Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed May 1, 2019. Available: ^
  2. “Democracy Alliance 2020 Investment Portfolio.” Democracy Alliance. Published Fall 2016. Accessed May 3, 2019. Available: ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Daaiyah Bilal-Threats
    Advisory Board Member
  2. Jeff Blodgett
    Advisory Board Member
  3. Julie Kohler
    Advisory Board Member
  4. Joe Zimlich
    Advisory Board Member
  5. Kim Anderson
    Advisory Board Member
  6. Michael Podhorzer
    Advisory Board Member
  7. Michelle Ringuette
    Advisory Board Member
  8. Anne Bartley
    Advisory Board Member
  9. Gara LaMarche
    Advisory Board Member
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