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: ^
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