Other Group

Better Internet Initiative

Website:

www.betterinternetinitiative.org/

Project of:

Hopewell Fund

Formation:

2020

Location:

Washington DC

Type:

Left-center communications front group

Better Internet Initiative is a project of the left-of-center Hopewell Fund launched in 2020 to create a collaborative fellowship for left-leaning influencers and content creators on social media sites like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. According to the organization’s website, the initiative offered a 2020 Fellowship, which worked with creators to create and share educational materials and videos about COVID-19, and a Voting Content Fellowship which helped creators make “interstitial voting content.” [1]

Founding and History

The Better Internet Initiative was founded in the middle of 2020 as a way of channeling content and information about COVID-19 to social media creators on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Tik Tok via a fellowship program. The organization then expanded into funneling voting information to creators. [2]

Finances

On the organization’s website, the Better Internet Initiative claims that is it a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. [3] However, there are no IRS records available that indicate when the group was formed and applied for tax-exempt status, or its financial filings. It appears to be a sponsored project of the Hopewell Fund based on corporate registry filings. [4]

Better Internet Initiative was registered as a trade name with the Washington, D.C., corporate registry on June 23, 2020, by the Hopewell Fund, a left-of-center funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit that is managed, along with several other fiscal sponsorship organizations, by the philanthropic consulting firm Arabella Advisors. [5] Arabella Advisors oversees hundreds of millions of dollars in “dark money” contributions from major individual and institutional donors to left-leaning organizations every year. [6]

The Better Internet Initiative claims on its website that it is supported by the Fellow Americans Education Fund. [7] However, there are no records with the IRS or the Washington, D.C., corporate registry that indicate any organization named “Fellow Americans Education Fund” exists. It is possible that this supporting organization is the 501(c)(4) organization Fellow Americans that provided left-of-center graphics and video clips during the 2020 election and in the election aftermath until inauguration day. [8] [9]

Issue Areas

COVID-19

The Better Internet Initiative ran a fellowship program geared towards funneling pre-approved information regarding COVID-19 to fellows who were creators who already possessed significant social media followings on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. [10] [11]

Election 2020

The Better Internet Initiative also launched a track focused on voting content for the 2020 election. These participants were all YouTube creators, with one Instagram channel. [12]

Fellow Americans

It is unclear if the Fellow Americans Education Fund that the Better Internet Initiative states it receives support from is affiliated with 501(c)(4) organization Fellow Americans. [13] The “About” page of the Fellow American website presents the group as a non-partisan organization promoting a message of unity that avoids “whataboutism”. However, the content listed on the website under creative assets is favorable to Democrats and left-progressivism and includes references to the controversial critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi and left-wing politicians Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Vice President Kamala Harris. The organization stopped updating this shareable content on its website in March 2021. [14] [15]

Fellow Americans was formed in October 2019 and secured $480,000 in funding, of which less than $6,000 was spent. [16] The president of the organization is Josh Hendler, a Democratic consultant who has worked for the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, and the 2008 Obama campaign. [17] [18] One of the organization’s directors is Jess McIntosh, a left-of-center political communications consultant who was a communications advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign and the vice-president of communications for the pro-abortion organization EMILY’s List. [19] [20]

References

  1. “Participants.” Better Internet Initiative. Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.betterinternetinitiative.org/participants. ^
  2. Fellow Americans. “About: Fellow Americans.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.fellowamericans.us/about. ^
  3. Better Internet Initiative. “Better Internet Initiative.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.betterinternetinitiative.org. ^
  4. Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. “Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: Hopewell Fund.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://corponline.dcra.dc.gov/BizEntity.aspx/ViewEntityData?entityId=4152605. ^
  5. Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. “Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: Hopewell Fund.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://corponline.dcra.dc.gov/BizEntity.aspx/ViewEntityData?entityId=4152605. ^
  6. Ludwig, Hayden. “Arabella Advisors: Democrats’ Darkest ‘Dark Money.’” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, May 17, 2021. https://capitalresearch.org/article/arabella-advisors-democrats-darkest-dark-money/. ^
  7. Better Internet Initiative. “Better Internet Initiative.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.betterinternetinitiative.org. ^
  8. Fellow Americans. “About: Fellow Americans.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.fellowamericans.us/about. ^
  9. Fellow Americans. “Top Performing Videos.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.fellowamericans.us/top-performing-content. ^
  10. Better Internet Initiative. “Better Internet Initiative.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.betterinternetinitiative.org. ^
  11. “Participants.” Better Internet Initiative. Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.betterinternetinitiative.org/participants. ^
  12. Participants.” Better Internet Initiative. Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.betterinternetinitiative.org/participants. ^
  13. Fellow Americans. “About: Fellow Americans.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.fellowamericans.us/about. ^
  14. Fellow Americans. “Fellow Americans Graphics.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.fellowamericans.us/graphics. ^
  15. Fellow Americans. “Top Performing Videos.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.fellowamericans.us/top-performing-content. ^
  16. Fellow Americans, IRS (Form 990), 2019, Part I ^
  17. Purpose. “Josh Hendler.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.purpose.com/team/josh-hendler/. ^
  18. Fellow Americans, IRS (Form 990), 2019, Part VII ^
  19. Politicon. “Jess McIntosh.” Accessed November 1, 2021. https://politicon.com/speaker/jess-mcintosh/. ^
  20. Fellow Americans, IRS (Form 990), 2019, Part VII ^

Associated Organizations

  1. Fellow Americans (Non-profit)
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