Wade Rathke


Co-Founder, ACORN

Founder, SEIU Local 100 (New Orleans)

Radio Station Manager

Former Labor Union Activist

Wade Rathke is a professional political organizer, labor union activist, and co-founder of the now-defunct left-of-center community organizing group Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), where he was chief organizer from 1970 to its closure in 2008. He co-founded Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 100 in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1980, where he worked as the group’s chief organizer. Rathke was secretary-treasurer for the AFL-CIO of Greater New Orleans, a member of the SEIU’s International Executive Board, and in 2013 became station manager of a radio station in New Orleans. [1]

He is the brother of the late Dale Rathke, a political activist who embezzled close to $1 million from ACORN in 1999 and 2000, a scandal that contributed to the controversial organization’s eventual bankruptcy and closure. [2] [3]


  1. “Biography.” Wade Rathke Blog. Accessed May 28, 2020. ^
  2. Dale Lawrence Rathke Obituary. NOLA. 2014. Accessed May 28, 2020. ^
  3. John Fund. “Acorn Runs Off the Rails.” Wall Street Journal. September 16, 2009. Accessed May 28, 2020. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. ACORN (Non-profit)
    Co-Founder, Chief Organizer
  2. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) (Labor Union)
    Former Member, International Executive Board
  3. Tides Foundation (Non-profit)
    Former Board Member
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