Other Group

Powerful Parent Movement (PPM)

Website:

www.instagram.com/powerfulparentmvmnt/?hl=en

Type:

Left-Wing Education Advocacy Group

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The Powerful Parent Movement (PPM) is a coalition of left-of-center education advocacy groups located across the United States that support increasing funding for public schools and “racial justice” policies. 1

PPM is a project of the Arabella Advisors-managed New Venture Fund (NVF), which has also funded numerous PPM member groups. 2

Background

The Powerful Parent Movement has no formal website but operates a Twitter/X account, a YouTube account, and an Instagram account. 3 4 5

According to tax records, PPM is fiscally sponsored by the Arabella Advisors-managed New Venture Fund. 6 This relationship likely began in 2015 when NVF began funding numerous left-of-center education-oriented groups, including The Memphis Lift, Atlanta Thrive, Nashville PROPEL, and MindshiftED (through Organizer Zero). Some, if not all, of these groups are members of PPM. 7 8

PPM members, both individually and jointly, engage in local activism to support left-of-center policy goals. For instance, in August 2022, numerous PPM groups converged in Fort Worth, Texas, to advocate for more funding for underperforming schools in racial-minority neighborhoods. 9

Leadership

Sarah Carpenter is a founding member and board member of the Powerful Parent Movement. She has also been the executive director of The Memphis Lift since June 2015. 10 11 In 2020, Carpenter met then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to advocate for fighting racism in the education system. In a video made in November, Carpenter described her activism saying [all text sic]: 12

“Black and brown families are trapped in failing schools all over the country, they not teaching them how to write, they not teaching them how to do math, this is America’s modern-day slavery. For generation after generation, Black and brown parents were forced to send their kids to failing schools. No one was teaching us to be doctors or lawyers, they were preparing us to clean houses and take care of other people’s children and are meant to go to jail… Black and brown families deserve an education to liberate them. President-elect Joe Biden, you cannot surround yourself with the same people that got us in this mess, people who love the system more than they love our liberation. Things must change. We’re depending on you.”

Carpenter also said to then-President-elect Biden: “I know and the world knows that Black and brown parents got you elected.” 13

John Little III appears in a PPM video on its YouTube channel and is the director of organizing and outreach for Nashville PROPEL, a PPM member group. He is also a former organizing director of The Memphis Lift, a former director of school partnerships for the Tennessee Charter School Center, and a former lead recruiter for former Governor Phil Bredesen (D-TN). 14 15

Little also met with Biden in February 2020. In a November 2020 YouTube video directed toward then-President-elect Biden, Little demanded “an end to the racist and broken public education system.” 16

Krystal Barnett appears in an August 2020 YouTube video on PPM’s channel. Barnett has been CEO of Bridge 2 Hope St. Louis, a “RADICAL” education advocacy group for low-income families in St. Louis, since October 2019. 17 18

Mehul Patel is a PPM member and movement building lead at Organizer Zero. For nearly ten years Patel was a leader of Parent Revolution, another left-of-center education advocacy organization. Earlier, Patel worked for SEIU Local 2015, Congressional candidate Russel Edwards (D-GA), the Democratic Party of Georgia, and the Young Democrats of Georgia. 19

Sonya Thomas is a member of PPM and the executive director of Nashville Propel. 20

Funding

In 2021, the Powerful Parent Movement received $500,000 from 50 Can Inc., a national education advocacy group, through the New Venture Fund. 21

In 2020, PPM received $1 million from the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) through NVF. 22 WFF also donated to PPM member groups The Oakland REACH, PAVE, and the Massachusetts Parents Union (formerly the National Parents Union). 23

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has donated to numerous member groups of PPM, including Organizer Zero, the Oakland REACH, and The Memphis Lift. 24

References

  1. Carpenter, Sarah. “An Open Letter to Education Writers.” Kappan. May 11, 2021. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://kappanonline.org/russo-an-open-letter-to-education-writers-carpenter-powerful-parent-movement/.
  2. “50 Can Inc Form 990.” ProPublica. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/273069592/202223199349319577/IRS990ScheduleI.
  3. “Powerful Parent Movement.” X. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://twitter.com/WeArePPM.
  4. “Powerful Parent Movement.” Instagram. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.instagram.com/powerfulparentmvmnt/?hl=en.
  5. “Powerful Parent Community.” YouTube. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/@powerfulparentmovement7215.
  6. “50 Can Inc Form 990.” ProPublica. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/273069592/202223199349319577/IRS990ScheduleI.
  7. “Beyond Bake Sales.” Education Next. Fall 2022. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.educationnext.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/ednext_XXII_4_toch_et_al.pdf.
  8. Carpenter, Sarah. “An Open Letter to Education Writers.” Kappan. May 11, 2021. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://kappanonline.org/russo-an-open-letter-to-education-writers-carpenter-powerful-parent-movement/.
  9. Allen, Silas. “‘We know what’s best for our children.’ These Fort Worth parents are demanding better schools.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram. August 19, 2022. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/crossroads-lab/article264448626.html.
  10. Carpenter, Sarah. “An Open Letter to Education Writers.” Kappan. May 11, 2021. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://kappanonline.org/russo-an-open-letter-to-education-writers-carpenter-powerful-parent-movement/.
  11. “Sarah Carpenter.” LinkedIn. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-carpenter-66a06120b/.
  12. “Sarah Carpenter’s Message to President-elect Joe Biden.” YouTube. November 23, 2020. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZudbXBKqBaI.
  13. “Sarah Carpenter’s Message to President-elect Joe Biden.” YouTube. November 23, 2020. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZudbXBKqBaI.
  14. “PPM Educational Equity Demands from Parents.” YouTube. November 24, 2020. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45oEu_MWoeQ.
  15. “John Little, III.” LinkedIn. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-little-iii-7424685/.
  16. “PPM Educational Equity Demands from Parents.” YouTube. November 24, 2020. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45oEu_MWoeQ.
  17. “Krystal (Kae) Barnett.” LinkedIn. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/in/krystalbarnett/.
  18. “Krystal Barnett, Bridge 2 Hope.” YouTube. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjZRxghChbk.
  19. “Mehul Patel.” LinkedIn. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mpat1130/.
  20. Jacobson, Linda. “Ed Dept. Launches ‘Unprecedented’ Parent Council.” The 74 Million. June 14, 2022. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://www.the74million.org/article/ed-dept-launches-unprecedented-parent-council/.
  21. “50 Can Inc Form 990.” ProPublica. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/273069592/202223199349319577/IRS990ScheduleI.
  22. “Walton Family Foundation Inc.” ProPublica. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/133441466/202113199349104386/IRS990PF.
  23. Carpenter, Sarah. “An Open Letter to Education Writers.” Kappan. May 11, 2021. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://kappanonline.org/russo-an-open-letter-to-education-writers-carpenter-powerful-parent-movement/.
  24. Carpenter, Sarah. “An Open Letter to Education Writers.” Kappan. May 11, 2021. Accessed April 23, 2024. https://kappanonline.org/russo-an-open-letter-to-education-writers-carpenter-powerful-parent-movement/.
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