Non-profit

Tesseract Research Center

Location:

WASHINGTON DC, DC

Tax ID:

27-4552853

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2020):

Revenue: $1,957,922
Expenses: $13,443,580
Assets: $10,053,886

Formation:

2011

Formerly:

The Agenda Project

President:

Erica Payne

Tesseract Research Center (formerly “the Agenda Project”) is a left-of-center research group. It is the charitable arm of Tesseract, a political and lobbying communications organization that runs advertising campaigns against Republican candidates. Its president and founder, Erica Payne, was a co-founder of the Democracy Alliance donor collective.

Background

Tesseract Research Center was originally named the Agenda Project when it was formally incorporated by the leaders of Tesseract in 2011. [1] Prior to that, it was known as the Agenda Project Education Fund. [2] Tesseract, the 501(c)(4) sister group, had originally been named Agenda Project. In light of the creation of the charitable arm, the electoral advocacy arm was renamed Agenda Project Action Fund. [3]

Agenda Project was renamed Tesseract Research Center in 2016. [4] That same year, Agenda Project Action Fund had its name changed to Tesseract. [5]

Activities

In 2016, Tesseract (then-named Agenda Project) had a lengthy write-up on its website describing its mission. Titled “What We Do,” the webpage first described the history of the modern conservative movement in America frequently lambasting it as “far-right” and as a largely nefarious takeover from above by lobbyists and special interest groups. [6]

It then launched into a call for “progressive infrastructure” to compete with the alleged conservative hegemony. “Regular Americans,” the page read, “don’t fully appreciate the fact that the Right is actually to blame for almost everything that is wrong in America,” and called for “wresting control of the government away from the Right.” It endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) call for a “political revolution” and called for “fearless leaders to guide that revolution.” [7]

Funding

In 2012, American Bridge 21st Century Foundation gave $25,000 to Tesseract Research Center. [8] In 2015, Tesseract Research Center received an unrestricted $125,000 grant from the David Berger Foundation. [9] Tesseract Research Center has also received contributions from the Beirne Foundation, Bernard Bergreen Foundation, Ettinger Foundation, the Fullerton Family Foundation, and the Lebowitz-Aberly Family Foundation. [10]

Leadership

Erica Payne is the founder and leader of Tesseract Research Center. [11] As of 2019, Payne was still the president of the group, unlike Tesseract of which she remained only the principal officer. [12] [13] [14] Erica Payne was a co-founder of the left-of-center donor collective Democracy Alliance. [15]

As of 2022, Rene Felt was the art director of Tesseract Research Center and had been since November 2018. Prior to joining Tesseract Research Center, Felt was the art director of left-of-center economic advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires. [16]

References

  1. The Agenda Project. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2011. Box C. ^
  2. Agenda Project Education Fund. Determination Letter from the Internal Revenue Service. 2011. ^
  3. Agenda Project Action Fund. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2011. Box C. ^
  4. Tesseract Research Center. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016. Box C. ^
  5. Tesseract. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016. Box C. ^
  6. “What We Do.” The Agenda Project, March 3, 2016. Accessed October 23, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20160303214552/http://www.agendaproject.org/what_we_do.html. ^
  7. “What We Do.” The Agenda Project, March 3, 2016. Accessed October 23, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20160303214552/http://www.agendaproject.org/what_we_do.html. ^
  8. Tesseract. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2012. Schedule I, Part II. ^
  9. [1] David Berger Foundation. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2015. Part XV. ^
  10. “The Agenda Project.” ProPublica. Accessed October 23, 2022. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/full_text_search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=the+agenda+project. ^
  11. Tesseract Research Center. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2011. Part VII, Section A. ^
  12. Tesseract Research Center. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2019. Part VII, Section A. ^
  13. Payne, Erica. “Agenda Project Announces New President.” DailyKos. December 11, 2015. Accessed August 14, 2022. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/12/11/1459370/-Agenda-Project-Announces-New-President. ^
  14. Tesseract. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2019. ^
  15. “Erica Payne, Founder.” December 25, 2007. Accessed October 12, 2022. http://web.archive.org/20071225181528/www.tesseractllc.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=9&Itemid=14. ^
  16. “René Felt.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 23, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/renefelt. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2011

  • 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
    2020 Dec Form 990 $1,957,922 $13,443,580 $10,053,886 $289,515 N $1,945,563 $0 $8,264 $278,518
    2019 Dec Form 990 $1,430,667 $5,140,426 $21,618,893 $368,864 N $1,430,667 $0 $0 $223,349 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $26,649,889 $2,223,066 $25,037,366 $77,578 Y $26,641,690 $5,053 $1,851 $187,088 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $5,038,658 $4,782,341 $551,212 $18,247 N $4,996,360 $42,298 $0 $148,077 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $848,418 $791,376 $111,247 $6,633 N $848,417 $0 $1 $170,819
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,018,827 $933,043 $94,635 $47,162 N $1,018,825 $0 $2 $191,251 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $673,110 $722,352 $11,743 $50,051 N $661,769 $0 $6 $227,800 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $567,275 $499,898 $59,238 $48,304 N $567,275 $0 $0 $179,808 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $907,113 $1,072,722 $28,667 $85,110 N $907,113 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $345,953 $236,787 $149,678 $40,512 N $345,953 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Tesseract Research Center

    1010 WISCONSIN AVE NW 705B
    WASHINGTON DC, DC 20007-3603