Non-profit

Third Way Institute

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

26-0535276

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $12,100,620
Expenses: $11,599,533
Assets: $23,801,324

Formation:

2005

Type:

Non-Profit arm of Third Way think tank

Executive Director:

Jonathan Cowan

Third Way Institute is the charitable arm of Third Way, a lobbying and advocacy organization that advocates for “modern center-left ideas.” [1] Third Way Institute was founded in 2005 and helps fund the tax-exempt work of Third Way. [2] [3] [4] Third Way Institute receives all of Third Way’s online contributions [5] and then makes large grants back to Third Way to fund the advocacy group’s operations. [6] [7]

In 2020, Third Way Institute reported $12,008,109 in program expenses, including distribution of $11,600,000 of grants to Third Way. [8] In 2019, Third Way Institute distributed $11,329,192 of grants to Third Way. [9] Third Way Institute and Third Way share employees. [10] According to tax flings, all Third Way Institute employees’ wages are paid by Third Way, based on cost sharing. [11]

Third Way Institute has received at least $4,519,000 of grants from the left-of-center William and Flora Hewlett Foundation since 2016. [12] The Institute has also received a $1,949,150 grant from the left-of-center Gates Foundation; [13] a $1,505,400 grant from the commercial donor-advised fund (DAF) provider Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund; [14] and a $1,060,840 from Arnold Ventures. [15]

History and Leadership

Third Way Institute is the charitable arm of Third Way, a 501(c)(4) think tank that advocates for “modern center-left ideas.” [16] Third Way Institute was founded in 2005 and helps fund the tax-exempt work of Third Way. [17] [18] [19] Third Way Institute receives all of Third Way’s online contributions [20] and then makes large grants back to Third Way to fund its operations. [21] [22]

Jonathan Cowan has been the president of Third Way Institute since its founding in 2005. [23] [24] [25] He was the president of the gun control advocacy organization Americans for Gun Safety [26] from 2000 to 2004. [27] [28] Cowan had previously worked as Chief of Staff of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under then-Secretary Andrew Cuomo (D); [29] as a senior advisor to former U.S. Rep. Mel Levine (D-CA); [30] and as co-founder of Lead or Leave. [31] [32]

Activities and Funding

Third Way Institute helps fund the exempt work of the left-of-center Third Way. [33] The Institute primarily advocates for left-of-center policies including a policy of “net-zero carbon emissions” by 2050, with an emphasis on weather-dependent energy, nuclear power, and so-called carbon capture technologies. The Institute aims to influence national policy and the political debate in support of Third Way, which works to change how Democrats view the shape of their next electoral majority, to advocate for advanced nuclear technology, and to preserve the increased federal role in education through No Child Left Behind and its successor legislation. [34] The Institute’s economic policy priorities focus on the Covid-19 pandemic and the future of the U.S. workforce. [35]

Third Way Institute supports the development of Third Way’s educational materials and events, has funded reports on an immigration “common ground” and gun violence, [36] and has co-funded papers with the right-of-center American Enterprise Institute. [37]

Third Way Institute and Third Way share employees. [38] All Third Way Institute employees’ wages are paid by Third Way based on cost sharing, according to Third Way Institute’s tax filings. [39]

Grantmaking

All online contributions to the left-of-center think tank Third Way go to the Third Way Institute. [40] In turn, Third Way Institute then makes large grants to Third Way to fund its operations. In 2020, Third Way Institute reported $12,008,109 of program expenses, including grants of $11,600,000 to Third Way. [41] In 2019, Third Way Institute distributed $11,329,192 of grants to Third Way. [42] [43] Third Way Institute distributed a grant of $8,179,766 to Third Way in 2017. [44]

Funding

Third Way Institute receives its funding from individual contributions through Democratic Party-aligned passthrough ActBlue, [45] Third Way’s donation website, and foundation grants. [46]

In 2021, Third Way Institute received a $1,000,000 grant for Third Way’s energy and climate program and separate $386,000 [47] and $200,000 grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. [48] [49]

In 2020, Third Way Institute received $13,078,977 of grants and reported expenses of $12,133,756. [50] That same year, Third Way Institute received grants of $750,000 from the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston; [51] $500,000, [52] $500,000, [53] and $200,000 [54] from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation;  [55] $250,000 from the Jewish Communal Fund; [56] $100,000 from the Meg and Bennett Goodman Family Foundation; [57] $100,000 from the Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund; [58] and $35,000 from the Ayco Charitable Foundation. [59]

In 2019, Third Way Institute received $11,550,561 of grants and contributions and reported expenses of $11,599,533. [60] These grants included $1,949,150 from the Gates Foundation; [61] $1,505,400 from the Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund; [62] $1,060,840 from Arnold Ventures; [63] $275,000 from the National Philanthropic Trust; [64] $127,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; [65] [66] $74,765 from The Energy Foundation; [67] and $15,000 from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. [68]

In 2018, Third Way Institute received grants of $400,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; [69] $270,000 from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; [70] $150,000 from the Dyson Foundation; [71] $100,000 from the Ptsrk Foundation in 2018; [72] and $75,000 from the Energy Foundation. [73]

Third Way Institute has also received grants of $600,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; [74] $270,000 from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; [75] $250,000 from the Lumina Foundation for Education; [76] $200,000 from the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco; [77] $100,000 from the Ptsrk Foundation; [78] [79] [80] and $85,000 from the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. [81]

References

  1. “About.” Third Way. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/about. ^
  2. “Donate.” Third Way. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/donate. ^
  3. “Third Way.” Cause IQ. Accessed February 5, 2022. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/third-way-institute,260535276/. ^
  4. “Third Way Institute.” Devex. Accessed February 5, 2022. https://www.devex.com/organizations/third-way-institute-78647. ^
  5. “Donate.” Third Way. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/donate. ^
  6. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  7. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (From 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202021839349302062/full. ^
  8. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  9. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (From 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202021839349302062/full. ^
  10. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202021839349302062/full. ^
  11.  “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule O. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  12. “Grants.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/?keyword=third%20way%20institute&sort=relevance&current_page=1. ^
  13. “Third Way Institute.” Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. November 2019. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/about/committed-grants/2019/11/inv001704. ^
  14. “Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/content/dam/fc-public/docs/fc/fc-990-fy-2019-schedule-i.pdf. ^
  15. “Grants.” Arnold Ventures. 2019. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.arnoldventures.org/grants/third-way-institute-2. ^
  16. “About.” Third Way. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/about. ^
  17. “Donate.” Third Way. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/donate. ^
  18. “Third Way.” Cause IQ. Accessed February 5, 2022. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/third-way-institute,260535276/. ^
  19. “Third Way Institute.” Devex. Accessed February 5, 2022. https://www.devex.com/organizations/third-way-institute-78647. ^
  20. “Donate.” Third Way. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/donate. ^
  21. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  22. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (From 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202021839349302062/full. ^
  23. “Third Way.” Cause IQ. Accessed February 5, 2022. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/third-way-institute,260535276/. ^
  24. “Third Way Institute.” Devex. Accessed February 5, 2022. https://www.devex.com/organizations/third-way-institute-78647. ^
  25. “Jonathan Cowan.” Third Way. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/about/staff/jonathan-cowan. ^
  26. Foster, Dick. “Billionaire backs gun-curb measure.” Rocky Mountain News. October 2, 2000. Accessed via Web Archive. December 8, 2008, February 6, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20081208034822/http:/denver.rockymountainnews.com/election/1002mons5.shtml. ^
  27. “Jonathan Cowan.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathan-cowan-9115657/. ^
  28. “Kelli Williams of ‘The Practice’ interviews Senator McCain about Gun Safety.” Getty Images Photo. February 24, 2002. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/jon-cowan-president-of-americans-for-gun-safety-kelli-news-photo/115375157. ^
  29. “:Americans for Gun Safety Is a True Anti-Gun Group.” NRA-ILA. Posted February 16, 2001. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.nraila.org/articles/20010216/americans-for-gun-safety-is-a-true-anti. ^
  30. “Institute of Politics Announces Fellows for Spring 2000.” The Harvard Gazette. February 3, 2000. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2000/02/institute-of-politics-announces-fellows-for-spring-2000/. ^
  31. “Jonathan Cowan.” Third Way. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/about/staff/jonathan-cowan. ^
  32. Laursen, Eric. “Third Way’s Jon Cowan: Once Again, Ginning Up Faux Youth Outrage.” Huffpost. September 4, 2012. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-can-kicks-back_b_1848474. ^
  33. “Donate.” Third Way Institute. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/donate. ^
  34. “About.” Third Way Institute. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/about. ^
  35. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2022. Part V. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  36. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2022. Part V. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  37.  Turner, Sarah. “The Policy Imperative: Policy Tools Should Create Incentives for College Completion.” Third Way Institute and American Enterprise Institute. Published May 25, 2018. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/report/the-policy-imperative-policy-tools-should-create-incentives-for-college-completion. ^
  38. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202021839349302062/full. ^
  39. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule O. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  40. “Donate.” Third Way. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/donate. ^
  41. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  42. Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (From 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202021839349302062/full. ^
  43. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  44. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2017. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/201801359349312335/full. ^
  45. “Donate to Third Way.” ActBlue. Accessed February 5, 2022. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/third-way-1?refcode=directory. ^
  46. “Donate.” Third Way. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.thirdway.org/donate. ^
  47. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. April 26, 2021. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-support-of-a-fundraising-strategy/. ^
  48. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. April 26, 2021. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-the-energy-and-climate-program/. ^
  49. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. February 1, 2021. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-the-cyber-enforcement-initiative/. ^
  50. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  51. “Combined Jewish Philanthropes of Greater Boston Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/42103559/202141249349301979/full. ^
  52. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. November 29, 2020. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-the-climate-and-energy-programs-work-on-economic-rescue-and-recovery/. ^
  53. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. June 1, 2020. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-the-climate-and-energy-programs-work-on-economic-rescue-and-recovery-2/. ^
  54. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. January 31, 2020. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-the-cyber-enforcement-initiative-2/. ^
  55. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. November 29, 2020. Accessed February 2, 12022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-corporate-engagement-on-climate-policy/. ^
  56. “Giving Report.” Jewish Communal Fund. 2020. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://jcfny.org/app/uploads/2020/12/2020-Giving-Report-final.pdf. ^
  57. [1] “The Meg and Bennett Goodman Family Foundation.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/311702105/202121379349302207/full. ^
  58. “The Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/113813663/202120839349300137/full. ^
  59.  “Ayco Charitable Foundation.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/141782466/202100749349301125/full. ^
  60. “Third Way Institute.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/260535276/202101319349300845/full. ^
  61. “Third Way Institute.” Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. November 2019. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/about/committed-grants/2019/11/inv001704. ^
  62. “Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/content/dam/fc-public/docs/fc/fc-990-fy-2019-schedule-i.pdf. ^
  63. “Grants.” Arnold Ventures. 2019. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.arnoldventures.org/grants/third-way-institute-2. ^
  64. “National Philanthropic Trust.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/237825575/202121459349300307/full. ^
  65. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. March 28, 2019. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-the-2019-cyber-enforcement-symposium/. ^
  66. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. September 4, 2019. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-increasing-union-engagement-in-federal-clean-energy-standard-ces-discussions/. ^
  67. “The Energy Foundation.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/943126848/202033179349304113/full. ^
  68. “Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2019. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/133615533/202023189349308117/full. ^
  69. “Third Way Institute.” MacArthur Foundation. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/about/committed-grants/2019/11/inv001704. ^
  70. “The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990-PF). 2018. Part XV. https://www.packard.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Part-XV-Line-3a-Grants-and-Contributions-Paid-During-the-Year.pdf. ^
  71. “Third Way Institute.” Dyson Foundation. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://dysonfoundation.org/grantmaking/search-grants?view=details&acctid=001G000001esmd6IAA&oppid=0061L00000wG4YFQA0. ^
  72. “Ptsrk Foundation.” Return of Private Foundation. (Form 990-PF). 2018. Part XV. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/203960774/201942889349100729/full. ^
  73. “The Energy Foundation.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2018. Schedule I. https://www.ef.org/wp-content/uploads/2018-990-Energy-Foundation.pdf. ^
  74. “Third Way Institute.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. March 22, 2016. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://hewlett.org/grants/third-way-institute-for-general-operating-support-2/. ^
  75.  “Third Way Institute.” David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.packard.org/grants-and-investments/grants-database/third-way-institute/. ^
  76. “Lumina Foundation for Education, Inc.” Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF). 2017. Part XV. https://www.luminafoundation.org/files/advantage/document/financial/2017-990-PF.pdf. ^
  77. “Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco the Peninsula Marin & Sonoma.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2017. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/941156533/201941349349308759/full. ^
  78. “Ptsrk Foundation.” Return of Private Foundation. (Form 990-PF). 2017. Part XV. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/203960774/201842859349100414/full. ^
  79. “Ptsrk Foundation.” Return of Private Foundation. (Form 990-PF). 2016. Part XV. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/203960774/201732869349100223/full. ^
  80. “Ptsrk Foundation.” Return of Private Foundation. (Form 990-PF). 2015. Part XV. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/203960774/201611329349102286/full. ^
  81. “Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2016. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/952504044/201731329349304943/IRS990ScheduleI. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Ted Trimpa
    Board Member (Third Way)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 2009

  • 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
    2019 Dec Form 990 $12,100,620 $11,599,533 $23,801,324 $5,645,843 N $11,550,561 $0 $278,145 $83,173 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $8,457,099 $211,169 $18,826,482 $2,604,523 N $8,082,250 $0 $111,971 $103,275 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $10,630,450 $8,379,387 $8,834,746 $90,544 N $10,483,644 $0 $54,232 $66,816 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $8,930,483 $7,184,416 $10,749,354 $4,927,622 N $8,576,390 $0 $65,123 $64,094
    2015 Dec Form 990 $8,298,096 $7,712,417 $4,413,674 $338,553 N $8,240,771 $0 $57,325 $67,106 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $8,352,728 $5,912,835 $3,879,480 $75,133 N $8,334,750 $0 $16,261 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $6,840,767 $5,871,024 $1,325,801 $78,441 N $6,845,064 $0 $1,445 $52,383 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $5,470,935 $5,675,152 $359,125 $81,508 N $5,468,852 $0 $2,083 $37,373 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $5,496,994 $5,562,295 $632,911 $150,728 N $5,495,017 $0 $1,977 $47,890 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Third Way Institute

    1025 CONNECTICUT AVE NW STE 400
    WASHINGTON, DC