Person

Benjamin Rahn

Organization:

ActBlue

Benjamin Rahn is a technology entrepreneur and the co-founder and former president of ActBlue, a pass-through outlet for Democratic politicians and organizations which, as of March 2021, has facilitated $8.4 billion in donations to left-of-center candidates and causes since its creation. [1]

Education

Benjamin Rahn was born in McLean, Virginia. [2] He attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, an elite state-chartered magnet school in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1994, during the summer before Rahn’s senior year of high school, he attended a science camp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he met his future co-founder of ActBlue. [3]

In 1995, Rahn attended Harvard University, where he earned degrees in physics and mathematics. He was not politically active on campus. In 2000, Rahn began a Ph.D. in physics at the California Institute of Technology. [4][5]

ActBlue

In 2004, Benjamin Rahn stopped his Ph.D. work at the California Institute of Technology to co-found ActBlue with Matthew DeBergalis. Rahn and DeBergalis envisioned ActBlue as a means of increasing democratic participation in elections by digitally facilitating small and large-scale donations. [6] Rahn initially served as president of the organization but eventually moved to the more passive roles of executive director and board member. He has worked for numerous other companies and started other business ventures while maintaining a presence at ActBlue. [7]

ActBlue started as a website to facilitate fundraising. In 2009, Rahn and DeBergalis founded the ActBlue PAC. In 2013, they founded ActBlue Civics, a 501(c)4 pass-through group. [8] In 2015, they founded ActBlue Charities, a philanthropic 501(c)3. [9]

Other Work

In 2000, Benjamin Rahn worked as an assistant director of the Research Science Institute, which runs science and engineering summer programs. [10]

From 2003-2012, Rahn worked as a resident tutor at his alma mater, Harvard University. [11]

In 2008, four years after founding ActBlue, Rahn founded MixApp, a music-based social media website. Rahn raised funds through angel investors but failed to make the product viable. He abandoned the project in 2010. [12]

In 2010, Rahn founded Mashup Breakdown, a website which visualized music. [13]

From 2011-2012, Rahn worked as a product manager at Blueleaf, a company that develops software for wealth management firms. [14]

From 2012-2020, Rahn worked in a variety of roles at Stripe, an Irish-American financial services company which competes with Jack Dorsey’s Square. [15]

Personal Views

Benjamin Rahn is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. [16] ActBlue has facilitated donations to Black Lives Matter groups, including the Action Network Fund. [17]

In the wake of the January 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol, Rahn compared the event to Adolph Hitler’s failed 1923 coup,[18] called for the removal of President Donald Trump from office,[19] and referred to the Republican Party as a “threat to democracy.” [20]

Rahn has been a strong critic of President Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, accusing the Trump administration of “murder,”[21] and calling the Republicans “corrupt, science-hating, senior-endangering, racist fools.” [22] He has also criticized attempts to reopen schools, referring to efforts to reopen as “death-cult behavior.” [23] Rahn further advocated for criminalizing the refusal to wear a mask indoors, comparing such behavior to drunk driving. [24]

Rahn has donated to the Transgender Law Center, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Innocence Project, CASA of San Mateo County, the Southern Poverty Law Center, OCA Greater Houston, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, Project Include, and Planned Parenthood. [25]

References

  1. “ActBlue.” ActBlue. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://secure.actblue.com/. ^
  2. “Benjamin Rahn.” Facebook. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/benjamin.rahn. ^
  3. Li, Jun. “Where’s the Money?” The Crimson. April 30, 2008. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2008/4/30/wheres-the-money-p-alignleftthe-office/. ^
  4. “Benjamin Rahn.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benrahn/. ^
  5. Li, Jun. “Where’s the Money?” The Crimson. April 30, 2008. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2008/4/30/wheres-the-money-p-alignleftthe-office/. ^
  6. Atkins, Kimberly. “Democrats’ Billion-Dollar Fundraising Juggernaut Is Tucked Away In Sommerville.” Wbur. April 17, 2019. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.wbur.org/news/2019/04/17/actblue-democrats-somerville. ^
  7. “Benjamin Rahn.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benrahn/. ^
  8. “ActBlue Civics Inc.” Charity Navigator. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.charitynavigator.org/ein/455097038. ^
  9. “ActBlue Charities Inc.” Charity Navigator. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.charitynavigator.org/ein/473739141. ^
  10. “Benjamin Rahn.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benrahn/. ^
  11. “Benjamin Rahn.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benrahn/. ^
  12. “Benjamin Rahn.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benrahn/. ^
  13. “Benjamin Rahn.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benrahn/. ^
  14. “Benjamin Rahn.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benrahn/. ^
  15. “Benjamin Rahn.” LinkedIn. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benrahn/. ^
  16. “Black Lives Matter – Benjamin Rahn.” Twitter. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://twitter.com/brahn?lang=en. ^
  17. “Black Lives Matter Fundraiser Being Facilitated By Democrat Run Act Blue Corporation.” Shore News. July 23, 2020. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.shorenewsnetwork.com/2020/07/23/black-lives-matter-fundraising-being-facilitated-by-democrat-run-act-blue-corporation/. ^
  18. “Never Again Action.” Twitter. January 7, 2021. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://twitter.com/NeverAgainActn/status/1347274142521970689. ^
  19. “Black Lives Matter – Benjamin Rahn.” Twitter. January 7, 2021. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://twitter.com/brahn/status/1347271906999734278. ^
  20. “Black Lives Matter – Benjamin Rahn.” Twitter. January 9, 2021. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://twitter.com/brahn/status/1347784497098420226. ^
  21. “Black Lives Matter – Benjamin Rahn.” Twitter. August 26, 2020. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://twitter.com/brahn/status/1298704456003928064. ^
  22. “Black Lives Matter – Benjamin Rahn.” Twitter. July 14, 2020. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://twitter.com/brahn/status/1283047005116338183. ^
  23. “Black Lives Matter – Benjamin Rahn.” Twitter. August 5, 2020. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://twitter.com/brahn/status/1291215893112827904. ^
  24. “Black Lives Matter – Benjamin Rahn.” Twitter. January 12, 2021. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://twitter.com/brahn/status/1348873458298494976. ^
  25. “Benjamin Rahn.” Facebook. Accessed March 9, 2021. https://www.facebook.com/benjamin.rahn. ^
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