2016 Money in Politics Working Group accomplishments

Connecting the Issues You Care About to Money in Politics

The FCCP Money in Politics Working Group serves as a resource hub for funders who want to understand the impact of big, secret money in elections and explore the response strategies that are being advanced by advocates on the ground. The group has grown dramatically since its inception in 2011, continuing to draw high attendance in its programming to become the premier philanthropic space to explore opportunities and challenges across a range of money-in-politics strategies.

Building Alliances with Sister Affinity Groups

The MIP Working Group has broadened the conversation within philanthropy around the intersection of money in politics and other social-justice issues, and continued to serve as an “on-ramp” for issue-based funders looking to understand the money-in-politics space.

In 2016, the MIP Working Group produced the following programming in concert with other networks:

  • In-person Meeting: Women + Money in Politics Funders (May, 10 participants) Moderated by Alexandra Russell (FCCP MIP Working Group) This funder-only in-person meeting focused on the unique role that women funders can play in money-in-politics philanthropy
  • In-person Meeting: Collaborating Around Budget Issues (February, 20 participants) Co-sponsored by Peace and Security Funders Group and Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce, Moderated by Alexandra Russell (FCCP MIP WG) and Alexandra Tomas (PSFG) and featuring Anna Lefer-Kuhn (Arca Foundation) and Dini Merz (Proteus Fund)
  • Supported the development of a new working group at Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce (GIST) that connects Pentagon budget discussions to the influence of money in politics.
  • Briefing: Government Spending Priorities: Shaping the Conversations (July, 22 participants) Hosted by FCCP Money in Politics Working Group, Peace and Security Funders Group, Grantmakers Income and Security Taskforce and featuring Ginna Green (ReThink Media), Peter Ferenbach (ReThink Media), Meg Bostrom (Topos Partnership)


  • Money in Politics 101: A Brief Overview of Money in Politics Reform and What it all Means  (September, 45 registrants) Co-sponsored with Environmental Grantmakers Association, Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce, Health and Environmental Funders Network and the Women Donors Network
  • Money in Politics and the Election: A Look Inside (November, 74 registrants + nearly 60 Forum California attendees livestreaming). Co-sponsored by Democracy Alliance, Piper Fund, and Victory 2021. Moderated by Julie Kohler, Democracy Alliance and featured Josh Silver (Represent.Us), Kathay Fang (Common Cause CA), Joanne Schwartz (Victory 2021), Jodeen Olguin-Tayler (Demos Inclusive Democracy Project)
  • Democracy Breakfast (September, 30 participants) Co-sponsored with Arkay Foundation, Compton Foundation, Solidago Foundation and the Wallace Global Fund, moderated by George Cheung (Joyce Foundation), and featured Annie Leonard (GreenPeace) and Farhad Ebrahimi (Chorus Foundation)

Additional Programming


The Money in Politics Working Group is exploring smaller, more intimate gatherings with regional members where we can talk off the record about our work and grantmaking, evolving strategies and changes in the field. We held two in-person meetings in 2016:

  • Washington, DC (February, 7 participants) 
  • Annual Working Group Meeting, FCCP 2016 Convening (May, 50 participants) 



McCain Feingold’s Soft Money Ban in Jeopardy in Courts (February 2016, 25 participants) Moderated by Sarah Knight (Open Society Foundations) and featured Tata Malloy (Campaign Legal Center) and Marge Baker (People for the American Way)

Corporate Political Spending (May, 20 participants) Hosted by Women Donors Network and featuring Alexandra Russell (FCCP MIP WG), Lisa Gilbert (Public Campaign) and Andy Behar (As You Sow)

Money in Politics and the Presidential Election (July, 25 participants) Moderated by Alexandra Russell (FCCP MIP WG) and featured Karen Hobart-Flynn (Common Cause), Adam Smith (Every Voice Center) and Trevor Potter (Campaign Legal Center)

Released the "Money in Politics Field Scan" Report

At the local, state, and national levels, a field of traditional and new—or new to money in politics issues—organizations are rising to the challenge of money in our political system. In 2015, we embarked on this field scan as one way to answer some of the most common questions funders have as they consider investing in the money in politics field: Who are the actors? What are the principal strategies and possible solutions? Where are the gaps, and what might funders do to fill them?

In this report published in August, Erik Peterson from Bending the Arc Strategies identifies:

– Seven core capacities for winning systemic change, with preliminary recommendations about what the field needs in order to achieve them

– The approaches and geographic concentrations of these organizations nationwide

– Key challenges and opportunities facing the movement for money-in-politics reform

This report was co-sponsored by the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and Piper Fund.


Visit Our Money in Politics Working Group Page + Resources

Money in Politics Working Group Leadership Team

Sarah Knight

Open Society Foundations

Melissa Spatz

Piper Fund