The Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP) is a donors’ affinity group for left-wing voter engagement advocacy that steers millions of dollars from left-wing funding entities to left-of-center nonprofits that use the money to engage targeted new voters and convert those individuals into a power base to push for left-of-center priorities.    FCCP is a project of the left-wing pass-through NEO Philanthropy.
The FCCP’s membership is comprised of more than 90 “funders” that have a shared affinity for left-leaning social, economic, and race-based policy advocacy.  Members include the AFL-CIO, the Amalgamated Bank, the National Education Association, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Democracy Alliance, the Tides Foundation, the Proteus Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, Joyce Foundation, and the Rockefeller Family Fund. 
FCCP focuses its initiatives on a number of “civic engagement” items including increasing voter participation by left-leaning demographics, securing increased funding for and liberal policies within the decennial census, and winning the subsequent redistricting process for left-leaning parties. While these items are seemingly neutral on their surface, the FCCP readily acknowledges that they are parts of a larger “Integrate Voter Engagement” plan that seeks to help its funder members enact their left-leaning agenda either legislatively or through ballot initiatives. 
Additionally, the FCCP acknowledges that there is a link between census counts and the allocation of political representation/government money. The FCCP works with many left-of-center ethnic interest nonprofits, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), to ensure their communities are well represented in the decennial census count. The FCCP touts that during the 2010 Census it helped generate $34 million for this type of census work and claims “all of the major players in the 2010 Census [were] FCCP members.”
FCCP seeks to have an even more significant impact on the 2020 Census. In 2018, FCCP organized a conference call with a number of left-of-center nonprofits seeking to kill a census question asking respondents if they are United States citizens.
In tandem with this census work, the FCCP is also preparing for a legal and legislative redistricting battle in 2022, supporting Democratic Party-aligned efforts to reverse Republican-led redistricting efforts which followed the 2010 Census and midterm elections.
In 1981, left-of-center activist Richard “Dick” Boone, then-president of the Field Foundation, organized a group of left-of-center grant making entities into what was known as the “Ad Hoc Funders’ Committee for Voter Registration and Education” as part of the Council on Foundations.
Two years later, in 1983, the ad hoc committee officially became the Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP). FCCP has been described as the first notable group of liberal grant-makers that sought to increase voting among left-leaning demographic groups.
Over the following decades, the FCCP took on a number of left-leaning priorities. In the 1990s, the organization supported liberal campaign regulation efforts that curtailed freedom of speech.
According to FCCP advisory board member Scott Nielsen, in the 2000s the organization “turn[ed] towards elections” and infrastructure building. In this vein the organization pioneered year-round voter engagement “as a winning strategy for building power and achieving policy impact.”
FCCP’s main office is located in Austin, Texas with an additional office in Washington, D.C. 
Today FCCP operates as a network of more than 90 of the left’s most significant funders and advocacy groups that have a shared affinity for left-leaning social, economic, and race-based policy advocacy. Inside Philanthropy wrote that the group’s membership had a truly “liberal bent.”
FCCP brings left-of-center funders together in order to build connections among their advocacy and voter mobilization operations, to develop shared strategies among those groups, and to teach about new research and advocacy tools. 
FCCP members include a number of the left’s most prominent financial backers including such as George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Democracy Alliance liberal donor convening group, and the Aspen Institute. The membership also includes a large number of other billion-dollar left-of-center nonprofits including the donor-advised Tides Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Family Fund, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the JPB Foundation, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund, and the Bauman Family Foundation. 
FCCP member organizations also include left-wing organizations that conduct left-of-center advocacy operations such as the Media Democracy Fund, Movement Resource Project, WIN Minnesota, Women Donors Network, and Democracy Fund.
FCCP does not operate as its own independent nonprofit. Rather, it is financially sponsored and managed project of the left-leaning pass-through entity NEO Philanthropy (previously Public Interest Projects).
NEO Philanthropy is a pass-through organization for left-wing funders. It operates as both a donor-advised fund and a “fiscal sponsor and program management” organization that “runs projects for major foundations” and helps “bridge” the gap between funder organizations and the left-leaning non-profits they support. In 2014, NEO Philanthropy “moved” almost $30 million from funders to hundreds of left-leaning grantees.
A review of the largest grants to NEO Philanthropy from 2006-2015 revealed that almost all of NEO’s major donor foundations are also members of the FCCP. In total NEO has received over $43 million combined from these FCCP members, including $14.1 million from the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York respectively, $5.1 million from George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society, $4.3 million from the JPB Foundation, $2 million from Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, $1.8 million from the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund, and $1.8 million from the Bauman Family Foundation.
FCCP operates as an affinity group within NEO Philanthropy for funding voter engagement, anti-voter identification law, and U.S. census activity organizations.
FCCP’s main civic engagement priority issues are: voter engagement, election administration, ballot measures, census, and election reform/redistricting. These initiatives on their face are tied together by the politically neutral “civic engagement” theme. FCCP funders support these initiatives because they see a “clear connection between” increasing these types of civic engagement and enacting liberal issue priorities.
Each of the FCCP’s main “civic engagement” priorities operate as parts of the FCCP’s “Integrated Voter Engagement” plan, a comprehensive FCCP strategy that its funders employ to successfully enact leftist policies.
Inside Philanthropy points out these “civic engagement” items underpin most other leftist issues, and FCCP’s executive director Eric Marshall acknowledged that his group’s democracy-related initiatives affect a wide array of left-wing causes.  For instance, FCCP touts that groups utilizing its Integrated Voter Engagement plans won minimum wage campaigns in 17 states, costing employers over $3 billion per year.
Integrated Voter Engagement
FCCP’s Integrated Voter Engagement plan focuses largely on voter registration and turnout initiatives not only to increase voter participation but also to help its funders enact leftist policy changes. 
The FCCP provides a number of case studies to demonstrate how the money it funneled from its funders to local Integrated Voter Engagement initiatives resulted in left-wing victories. For instance, FCCP coordinated funding for the Colorado Progressive Coalition (CPC), which used the FCCP’s Integrated Voter Engagement plan to register and turn out thousands of targeted voters in support of liberal ballot issue agenda items.
Using this strategy, in 2005 the CPC “was central to” a referendum suspending the state’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights, a law that fostered prudent state spending. In 2006, the CPC led a successful statewide union-supported ballot measure campaign to raise the minimum wage. Then in 2008, CPC, using FCCP’s Integrated Voter Engagement plan, defeated a ballot initiative that would have eliminated race and gender-based affirmative action.
Similarly, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, using FCCP’s resources and Integrated Voter Engagement plan, registered over 70,000 new Latino voters and has used those voters to defeat tough state immigration laws and to support government health care programs for illegal immigrant children, as well as a day labor protection act. 
In another case study example, FCCP touts that it coordinated the One Arizona civic engagement coalition. FCCP members and related organizations gave over $3 million to a variety of Arizona-based left-wing grassroots organizations, including Border Action Network (BAN), Central Arizonans for a Sustainable Economy (CASE), Democracia USA (DUSA), and Mi Familia Vota (MFV). Over the course of five years, those left-leaning entities conducted a variety of voter registration and engagement activities that increased turnout among targeted voters by 10%. Going forward the group planned to use this newfound voter base to push for left-leaning immigration and social policies.
Other Civic Engagement Initiatives
FCCP’s Money in Politics Working Group bemoans that private campaign donations make it “difficult to move the needle” on leftist environmental and health care priorities. FCCP capitalizes on the left’s shared opinion against private campaign funding to build alliances across the left’s ideological spectrum and to fund operations that seek to limit this particular form of free speech. 
FCCP also seeks to create these same types of leftist alliances to influence the makeup of the court system and the redistricting process.  FCCP has hosted strategy sessions on redistricting at its annual meetings in 2014 and 2016. FCCP has also hosted conference calls, sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, Joyce Foundation, and other left-leaning members, preparing to wage a redistricting battle in 2020-2021.  At the 2016 meeting, presenters detailed how the FCCP’s members hoped to use redistricting to increase left-wing representation and how they would use litigation and state policy advocacy to accomplish this goal. 
Funders Census Initiative
In 2008, leading up to the 2010 Census, FCCP created the Funders Census Initiative (FCI), to be housed within FCCP.  During the 2010 Census, the FCI coordinated support from FCCP’s funders to ensure that the count focused on left-leaning demographics.
FCI hosted bi-weekly conference calls and became the information-sharing nexus between left-wing funding organizations and organizations conducting 2010 Census outreach programs. In this effort, FCI helped its funders coordinate their activities with a number of left-leaning ethnic-interest nonprofits including the NAACP, NALEO, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
FCI also coordinated the legislative advocacy responses among its members to ensure that the census reflected their left-leaning goals. For instance, FCI coordinated a campaign to ensure that the census did not ask a question about citizenship status in order to make sure that illegal immigrants would reply to census questionnaires.
In total FCCP touts that it helped generate over $34 million in 2010 Census related grants and proclaimed that “most, if not all, of the major players in the 2010 Census [were] FCCP members”
The first priority in FCCP’s 2020 Census action plan is to ensure that the federal government implement census-related policies that align with the FCCP’s liberal prerogatives. The FCCP plan calls for its funders to support an “aggressive campaign” aimed at census-based policy improvements and to increase census funding. The FCCP plan calls for increased funding from its members to a number of left-leaning non-profits engaged in this area, including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NALEO, and AAJC.
In 2018, the FCCP coordinated an “emergency briefing” to devise strategies to respond to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s support for a census citizenship question. The briefing was hosted or co-sponsored by numerous left-wing organizations including the Bauman Foundation, the Environmental Grantmakers Association, Funders Concerned About AIDS, Funders for LGBTQ Issues, Funders Together to End Homelessness, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees.
The second priority on the FCCP 2020 Census action plan is to use the committee’s high-profile funders’ resources to promote the importance of the census and to fund the Funders Census Initiative.  The third and final priority of the FCCP 2020 Census action plan is to use public outreach to improve census response rates “particularly among undercounted populations.” 
At FCCP’s 2016 annual convening, future Democratic National Committee vice-chair U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minnestota) gave the conference’s keynote speech where he “stressed the importance of funder involvement in the 2020 Census” Similarly, then-U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minnestota) made a video for the FCCP 2016 annual convening in which he stressed that the census is very important and was critical for “us” to get ready now.
Power Impact Team (2018)
From January to May 2018, FCCP operated a twelve-member “Power Impact Team”—a research collaborative created to research the best ways for funders to organize “people and resources for direct political involvement,” develop “political infrastructure,” and use ideological narrative-building to “shape people’s conscious and unconscious understandings of the world.”
The project was managed by Renee Fazzari, a program officer at the General Service Foundation and an FCCP steering committee member. As a self-described “experiment for FCCP,” the Power Impact Team was intended to build left-wing activist infrastructure ahead of the 2020 census through a series of grant recommendations to FCCP’s member groups. The project was funded primarily through a grant from the Ford Foundation.  Members of the Power Impact Team included:
May Boeve, executive director of 350.org;
Maurice BP-Weeks, co-executive director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy;
Angela Cheng, program officer at JPB Foundation;
Sara El-Amine, head of advocacy for the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative;
Keesha Gaskins-Nathan, program director at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund;
Arisha Hatch, campaign director for Color of Change;
Pia Infante, co-executive director of the Whitman Institute;
Burt Lauderdale, executive director of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth;
Scott Nielsen, managing director of Arabella Advisors;
Art Reyes, executive director of We The People (Michigan);
Doran Schrantz, executive director of ISAIAH Minnesota.
Eric Marshall is FCCP’s executive director. Marshall previously directed election and voting efforts at State Voices and is currently a board member for the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Foundation.
FCCP’s advisory board members represent a wide cross-section of left-of-center funding organizations. The board includes representatives from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Bauman Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, WIN Minnesota, and Arabella Advisors.