Non-profit

State Infrastructure Fund (SIF)

Website:

neophilanthropy.org/collaborative-funds/state-infrastructure-fund

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Formation:

2010

Type:

Left-Wing Donor Collaborative

Project of:

NEO Philanthropy

The State Infrastructure Fund (SIF) is a donor collaborative and project of the left-of-center fiscal clearinghouse NEO Philanthropy launched in 2010. The SIF is one of several “funder collaboratives,” which NEO describes as tools for “connecting donors with aligned values to support work they could not fund as effectively on their own.” NEO reports that it has at least 12 of these collaborative funds, including SIF and the Four Freedoms Fund. [1]Since the program has started, SIF has raised over $56 million to coordinate state-based “voting rights” groups and assist in legal initiatives. [2]

“Voting Rights” Initiative

Created in response to Republican election victories in 2010, the State Infrastructure Fund (SIF) was created to mobilize voter turnout of demographics expected to vote in line with the left-wing. [3]According to its own website, SIF’s strategy for 2019/20 will focus more heavily on “the South, Southwest and Rust Belt.” SIF intends to assist state-based “voting rights” groups in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. [4]

Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder

For more information, see Shelby Response Fund

Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder was a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case that reversed parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act requiring some states (mostly in the South) to seek federal review of changes to their voting laws. The decision was strongly opposed by many on the Left.

The SIF funds a collaborative consisting of 12 law organizations focused on increasing voter turnout and undoing voter-fraud prevention laws. The group ultimate coalesced into another NEO Philanthropy “collaborative,” the Shelby Response Fund[5] This litigation collaborative consists largely of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Latino Justice PRLDEF, Advancement Project, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), Native American Rights Fund, Brennan Center for Justice, Demos, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. [6]

Election Protection Coalition

The SIF contributes to the Election Protection coalition through grants as well as funder coordination. The coalition consists of organizations that register and mobilize voters and works with the left-wing Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP) to coordinate the program. [7]

People

Lisa Versaci

Lisa Versaci serves as the director of the State Infrastructure Fund. She also works as a consultant for Democracy Alliance, a collective of left-of-center donors active in orchestrating “the activities of a permanent ‘left infrastructure’” since 2004. [8]

Scott Nielsen

Scott Nielsen is a former employee of the State Infrastructure Fund. He now works as the director of advocacy at the left-of-center investment firm Arabella Advisors.

Tanya Clay House

Tanya Clay House serves as the senior program officer for the State Infrastructure Fund.

Funding

The SIF has raised nearly $60 million through contributions made by large left-wing foundations such as the Ford Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, JPB Foundation, and Open Society Foundations. Along with the larger donors, the SIF also receives grants from the Bauman Family Foundation, the Grove Foundation, the Irving Harris Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, and the left-wing immigration advocacy organization Unbound Philanthropy. [9]

References

  1. “Collaborative Funds.” NEO Philanthropy. Accessed February 06, 2019. https://neophilanthropy.org/collaborative-funds/.
  2. “State Infrastructure Fund.” NEO Philanthropy. Accessed February 11, 2019. https://neophilanthropy.org/collaborative-funds/state-infrastructure-fund/.
  3. Rojc, Philip. “Enfranchised: How a Collaborative Fund Advances Voting Rights and Protections.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed January 30, 2019. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2019/1/10/enfranchised-how-a-collaborative-fund-advances-voting-rights-and-protections.
  4. “State Infrastructure Fund.” NEO Philanthropy. Accessed February 11, 2019. https://neophilanthropy.org/collaborative-funds/state-infrastructure-fund/.
  5. Rojc, Philip. “Enfranchised: How a Collaborative Fund Advances Voting Rights and Protections.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed January 30, 2019. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2019/1/10/enfranchised-how-a-collaborative-fund-advances-voting-rights-and-protections.
  6. Rojc, Philip. “Enfranchised: How a Collaborative Fund Advances Voting Rights and Protections.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed January 30, 2019. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2019/1/10/enfranchised-how-a-collaborative-fund-advances-voting-rights-and-protections.
  7. “About.” Election Protection. Accessed January 31, 2019. https://866ourvote.org/about/.
  8. Edsall, Thomas B. “Opinion: Are Liberals Fundraising Hypocrites?” The New York Times. September 30, 2015. Accessed June 21, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/opinion/are-liberals-fundraising-hypocrites.html?_r=0
  9. Rojc, Philip. “Enfranchised: How a Collaborative Fund Advances Voting Rights and Protections.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed January 30, 2019. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2019/1/10/enfranchised-how-a-collaborative-fund-advances-voting-rights-and-protections.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Scott Nielsen
    Former Employee
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State Infrastructure Fund (SIF)

45 W 36TH ST FL 6
NEW YORK, NY 10018-7635