Our Commitment to Transparency and Democracy | Omidyar Network

By Beth Kanter, Chief Advocacy & Strategic Communications Officer

When Omidyar Network was first created more than 15 years ago we pioneered a hybrid organizational structure that combined a limited liability company (LCC) alongside a private philanthropic foundation. This means that we make grants to nonprofit organizations to fund everything from research to convenings, white papers to general operating support, and everything (501c3 compliant, of course) in between. Our LLC enables us to invest in innovative for-profit startups that are tackling social challenges with an entrepreneurial spirit, where we have tried to pioneer a range of impact investing tools.

This LLC also allows us to invest in not-for-profits beyond just public charities, such as 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. Recently, we’ve been doing more of this. Policy, politics, and direct advocacy are critical ways for ON to leverage our resources to support the change we want to see in the world. Research, white papers, and convenings are useful and necessary, and we have to do everything we can to support those on the frontlines of change, in the service of our stated social impact goals.

Because our investments in organizations such as 501(c)(4)s come from a private, for-profit company, we are not required to disclose them in the same way we disclose the grants given from our private foundation. But that goes against our commitment to transparency and true democracy, so we are voluntarily disclosing them here.

Below are the organizations that received LLC funding for advocacy purposes from ON in 2019.

Platform Accountability Public Interest Advocacy

These organizations work to advance a vision of a just, competitive, and sustainable tech ecosystem that contributes to a healthy society by educating and engaging with decisionmakers and media.

We support the advocacy and lobbying efforts of:

Economic Security Project Action

This support is for the Economic Security Project Action’s Anti-Monopoly Fund (AMF). The AMF is using a variety of tools—including advocacy, lobbying, research, narratives, and policymaker engagement—to counter the rise in concentrated corporate power in the United States.

Americans for Financial Reform (AFR)

This is a coalition of 200 labor, consumer, and special interest organizations that advocate for a more inclusive, fair financial system. AFR is building a broad-based movement for financial sector reform.

Maine People’s Alliance

In 2018, we supported Mainers for Home-care an effort to pass a ballot initiative that would have created a state-run program to provide free at- home services for anyone in need of long-term care, largely the elderly and disabled, and high quality jobs for care workers. The proposal would have been paid for by a small increase on the income tax rate for the wealthiest Mainers.

While that initiative failed, it set the stage for a partnership with Maine People’s Alliance (MPA), one of the organizations leading the ballot initiative. In 2019, we funded two MPA campaigns: 1. The Cost of Living Rebate campaign to expand and enhance the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and 2. The Universal Home Care campaign to expand the existing coalition in Maine (building on the mobilization from the ballot initiative), to advance the program design, and ultimately pass a bill that will provide universal care for Mainers.

Community Change Action and Demos Action (through Tides Advocacy)

ON supported Community Change Action and Demos Action (we also support both organization’s 501c3 entities) in their broader work to shape a new and more inclusive economic theory and paradigm.

Community Change Action’s mission is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and public policies for the better. The organization empowers the people most affected by injustice to lead movements to improve the policies that affect their lives.

Demos Action works to promote a multi-racial populist economic and pro-democracy agenda while building the long-term progressive governing power it will take to give an equal say and an equal chance to all Americans.

Going forward—and in an election year, no less—we’ll continue to share our advocacy activities with you on a periodic basis.

Transparency: Omidyar Network is committed to supporting a collaborative, open, and effective funding community. In addition to our investee profiles and our financial statements, we believe we can contribute to this by publishing our grant information in line with the IATI Standard, a global common open data standard developed by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). It links together financial and non-financial information about development assistance projects (or “activities”) and investments using international classifications to enable aggregation, comparison, and development of analytical and
visualization tools.

We detail our approach to publishing and governing data in the IATI format in our IATI Policy. Please consult this document when using our data.

Our IATI data is available in the XML format prescribed by the standard, which can be downloaded. We also list our data on the IATI Registry, alongside all other organizations publishing with the standard and have made the data available as a spreadsheet, in the CSV format.

For any queries, please contact [email protected].

All our data is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

International (CC BY 4.0) license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

If you would like to read more about Pam and Pierre Omidyar’s own 501c4 giving, please read his post.