Other Group

Civic Responsibility Project

Website:

www.civicresponsibility.org

Location:

Washington, DC

Type:

Project

Founder:

Ashley Spillane

The Civic Responsibility Project (CRP) is a project of the New Venture Fund, one of the funds managed by  Arabella Advisors, a left-of-center consultancy that is considered one of the largest “dark money” networks in the United States. Its status as a project ensures that no separate public disclosures of activities, funding, and expenditures are required. [1]

CRP’s activities surround enlisting and assisting brands, corporations, and nonprofits in encouraging voter registration and activation. While its actions are made to appear non-partisan, its known funders and management are well known left-of center advocates. [2]

Background

The Civic Responsibility Project (CRP) promotes civic engagement in the form of voter registration and activation by helping business leaders and their companies assess, develop, and execute actions that promote voter registration and voting. It is also active as a “coordinating hub” for other nonprofits aligned with their objectives by providing financial support via grants or becoming fully financed as sub-projects of CRP. [3]

The organization was founded in 2019 after the publication of Harvard Ash Center case study Civic Responsibility: The Power of Companies to Increase Voter Turnout that examined the ways that companies could play a role in engaging their employees and consumers in elections. [4]

CRP touts a poll conducted by Edelman Earned Brands that suggests that voters were inclined to buy from companies that supported civic engagement and democracy as a way to recruit companies and brands to its program. [5]

The Civic Responsibility Project (CRP) is a project of the left-of-center New Venture Fund (NVF), which is one of the funds managed by left-of-center consultancy Arabella Advisors. CRP’s status as a project allows it to avoid making independent reports to the IRS with public disclosure of its funding and expenditures. [6]

Arabella Advisors operates three other left-of-center nonprofit organizations, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the Windward Fund, and the Hopewell Fund that in turn sponsor a range of left-of-center projects and nonprofits. [7]  The New York Times described AA’s activities as a “system of political financing, which often obscures the identities of donors,” and referred to the network as a “dark money” political organization. [8]

NVF has created other voting focused projects including the Black Civic Engagement Fund, created by the left-of-center movement advocate Democracy Alliance; the Civic Engagement Fund, which serves as an incubator for other left-of-center organizations; the left-of-center Effective Voter Project; the left-of-center voter mobilization group Voter Engagement Fund; and left-of-center Voter Rights Action to deepen their ability to influence voter turnout. [9] [10] [11] [12]

Initiatives

Civic Alliance

CRP has formed the “Civic Alliance” consisting of over 1,000 companies that employ over 5.5 million people that provide their employees with the services of the organization in promoting voter registration and participation within and outside their respective organizations. [13]

CRP claims 17 member organizations as part of the “Civic Alliance” including Arabella Advisors, Unilever, Amazon, Pepsico, Major League Baseball, McDonalds, and United Airlines. [14]

I Am a Voter

I am a Voter is an online program that allows potential voters to register on-line, check their voter registration status, and sign up for election reminders which is available for use by alliance members as well as grantee organizations. [15]

Democracy is Good for Business

Democracy is Good for Business is an advocacy for election administration changes that promote election integrity including upgrading election database technology for registration data and the creation of secure data transfers between state and local agencies for the verification of voter registration. [16]

National Voter Registration Day

National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) is a proposed day set aside nationally for encouraging employees and others to create a plan to vote which includes the provision of time off for employees. [17]  The holiday is endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and the National Association of Election Officials (NAEO). [18] Sponsors of NVRD include non-profit organizations such as the a left-of-center Democracy Fund, a voter mobilization project of the New Venture Fund (NVF), and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, a left-of-center Asian-American advocacy foundation. Corporate sponsors of NVRD include Google, Meta, Microsoft, Twitter, and Target. [19]

Pizza to the Polls

Pizza to the Polls is a program that provides pizza and other snacks to people waiting in reported long lines at polling places during early voting and on election day. Partnering with Uber Eats, Milk Bar, Shake Shack, and Pipcorn, food trucks were provided in 29 cities. [20]

Power to the Polls

Power to the Polls is a program that provides poll workers where needed. The program claims the provision of over 700,000 workers for polling places that experienced a shortage of workers. [21]

Vote Early Day

Vote Early Day, planned for October 28, 2022, is a movement of nonprofits, businesses, and election administrators executed to make sure voters know their options to vote early. [22]

Sports Stadiums as Polling Places

CRP sponsored and is promoting research that shows that sports stadiums make effective polling places. Major League Baseball is a member of CRP’s Civic Alliance. [23]

People

Ashley Spillane is the founder of CRP and founder and president of Impactual LLC, which supports CRP activities by creating innovative programs to engage people. She has worked in Democratic Party campaigns as a regional field director for Tom Vilsack for President and as regional political director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Other civic engagement groups that she has led include left-progressive Rock the Vote which advocates for abortion rights, reducing incarceration, and marijuana legalization; The Atlas Project, a left-of-center consulting organization with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as a key client; and Democratic Gain (now Gain Power), which advocates for the progressive movement. [24] [25] [26] [27] [28]

The executive director of CRP is Sarah Longwell, a Republican Party political strategist who is executive director of  Defending Democracy Together (DDT)  whose leadership includes pundit Bill Kristol and spent $15.4 million in “dark money” in support of President Joe Biden. [29] [30] [31]

CRP’s election program director is Adam Ambrogi who also is program director, elections and voting programs at the left-of-center Democracy Fund and senior director for voting and elections at the left-leaning League of Women Voters (LWV).  Ambrogi is also a director at Democracy Fund Voice, a left-leaning advocacy organization founded by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and former chief counsel of the Senate Rules Committee during a period of Democratic Party control. [32]

Katrina Gamble is a team member and senior advisor to left-of-center Democracy is Good for Business, a left-of-center New Venture Fund project which advocates for changes to the voting system that reduce voter confidence in outcomes, and founder of Sojourn Strategies LLC, a consulting firm that assists customers produce equal outcomes in social and criminal justice. [33] [34] [35]

References

  1. “Resources.” CRP. Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.civicresponsibility.org/resources ^
  2. “About.” CRP. Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.civicresponsibility.org/home-1. ^
  3. “About.” CRP. Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.civicresponsibility.org/home-1. ^
  4. Square Space. Civic Responsibility Project. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/608b30db845e223dfb477bf5/t/614d12ad1f3faf7efe021de2/1632441091633/2021+CRP+Toolkit.pdf. ^
  5. CRP. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://www.civicresponsibility.org/. ^
  6. “About.” CRP. Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.civicresponsibility.org/home-1. ^
  7. “Fiscal Sponsorship.” Arabella Advisors, December 15, 2020. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/expertise/fiscal-sponsorship/. ^
  8. [1] Vogel, Kenneth P., and Katie Robertson. “Top Bidder for Tribune Newspapers Is an Influential Liberal Donor.” The New York Times. The New York Times, April 13, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/13/business/media/wyss-tribune-company-buyer.html. ^
  9. “Voter Engagement Fund.” Voter Engagement Fund. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://www.voterengagementfund.org/. ^
  10. “About Us.” Voter Rights Action. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://www.voterrightsaction.org/. ^
  11. “About CEF.” CIVIC ENGAGEMENT FUND. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://civicengagementfund.org/read-me. ^
  12. “About the Da.” Democracy Alliance, September 22, 2021. https://democracyalliance.org/about/. ^
  13. Civic Alliance. Civic Alliance. Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.civicalliance.com/. ^
  14. Alliance, Civic. “Members: Civic Alliance.” Members | Civic Alliance. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://www.civicalliance.com/members. ^
  15. “I Am a Voter. Our Democracy Works Best When We All Participate.” I am a voter. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://iamavoter.com/. ^
  16. Twitter was founded on the principle of free and open expression – the bedrock of democracy. As a technology company, and Lyft is proud to join this effort. With 1.4 million drivers nationwide. DIGFB (7.1). Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.democracyisgoodforbusiness.com/. ^
  17. “National Voter Registration Day.” National Voter Registration Day, August 19, 2022. https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/. ^
  18. “2022 Partners.” National Voter Registration Day, August 10, 2022. https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/2022-partners/. ^
  19. “2022 Partners.” National Voter Registration Day, August 10, 2022. https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/2022-partners/. ^
  20. “Pizza to the Polls 🍕🇺🇸.” Pizza to the Polls. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://polls.pizza/trucks. ^
  21. “Power the Polls.” Power the Polls. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://www.powerthepolls.org/. ^
  22. “Vote Early Day Is October 28th, 2022.” Vote Early Day, July 25, 2022. https://voteearlyday.org/. ^
  23. “Resources.” CRP. Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.civicresponsibility.org/resources. ^
  24. “Ashley Spillane – President – Impactual | Linkedin.” Accessed August 16, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashley-spillane. ^
  25. Contrera, Jessica. “Lil Jon and Lena Dunham Team up to Take on What Madonna and Chuck D Pioneered.” The Washington Post. WP Company, December 3, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2014/10/07/lil-jon-and-lena-dunham-team-up-to-take-on-what-madonna-and-chuck-d-pioneered/. ^
  26. “Register to Vote, Find Election Info, and More!” Rock the Vote, July 21, 2022. https://www.rockthevote.org/. ^
  27. “Browse Disbursements.” FEC.gov. Accessed August 16, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/disbursements/. ^
  28. Murphy, Vince. “Welcome to Gain Power.” GAIN Power, July 23, 2022. https://www.gainpower.org/. ^
  29. “Biden Nominee’s Confirmation Fight Fueled by Dueling ‘Dark Money’ Groups.” OpenSecrets News, March 9, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/03/gupta-confirmation-fight-fueled-by-darkmoney/. ^
  30. “About Us.” Defending Democracy Together, March 7, 2022. https://www.defendingdemocracytogether.org/about-us/. ^
  31. “Sarah Longwell – Washington, District of Columbia, United … – Linkedin.” Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-longwell-4155783. ^
  32. “Adam Ambrogi – Senior Director for Voting and Elections – Linkedin.” Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamambrogi. ^
  33. Twitter was founded on the principle of free and open expression – the bedrock of democracy. As a technology company, and Lyft is proud to join this effort. With 1.4 million drivers nationwide. DIGFB (7.1). Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.democracyisgoodforbusiness.com/. ^
  34. “(No Title).” newventurefund.org. Accessed August 19, 2022. https://newventurefund.org/. ^
  35. “Social Impact: Sojourn Strategies.” sojournstrategies.co. Accessed August 19, 2022. https://www.sojournstrategies.com/. ^
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Civic Responsibility Project


Washington, DC