Democracy Alliance

SOURCE:  Wikipedia, captured 2020-07-02

  • Formation: 2005
  • Co-Founders: George Soros  |  Peter B. Lewis  |  Tim Gill
  • Headquarters: Washington D.C.
  • President: Gara LaMarche
  • Staff: 15
  • Website:

  • wealthy, pro-Democratic Party influencer

    The Democracy Alliance is a network of progressive donors who coordinate their political donations to groups that the Democracy Alliance has endorsed. The Democracy Alliance has been described by Politico as "the country's most powerful liberal donor club."

    Members of the Democracy Alliance are required to contribute at least $200,000 a year to groups the Democracy Alliance vets and recommends. As of 2014, the Democracy Alliance had helped distribute approximately $500 million to liberal organizations since its founding in 2005. Members of the Democracy Alliance include billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer. In 2017 and 2018 alone, Democracy Alliance Members spent $600 million on various liberal causes.

    The Democracy Alliance planned to spend $374 million during the 2014 midterm election cycle to boost liberal candidates and causes. According to the Democracy Alliance's website, the group "was created to build progressive infrastructure that could help counter the well-funded and sophisticated conservative apparatus in the areas of civic engagement, leadership, media, and ideas."


    A PowerPoint presentation, "The Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix," created by Rob Stein and shown to individuals and small groups of donors in 2003 and 2004, is often credited as being the impetus for the group's formation.

    The first meeting of the Democracy Alliance was held at The Boulders near Scottsdale, Arizona in April 2005. Rob Stein was appointed interim CEO, pending the group's selection of a permanent leader. George Soros, Peter B. Lewis and Tim Gill were all involved in the organization's founding.

    At the Democracy Alliance's second meeting, held at the Chateau Elan near Atlanta, Georgia in October 2005, management consultant Judy Wade was installed as the CEO of the organization. At the group's fourth meeting in Miami in November 2006, Wade was replaced with Kelly Craighead.

    In July 2006, Rob McKay was elected chairman of the board and Anna Burger of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was elected vice chair.

    In 2012, the Democracy Alliance ceased funding a number of prominent progressive organizations. According to the Huffington Post, "The groups dropped by the Democracy Alliance tend to be those that work outside the Democratic party's structure." This move cost the Democracy Alliance the support of Soros ally Peter B. Lewis, the billionaire founder of Progressive Auto Insurance.

    According to the Huffington Post, the Democracy Alliance "is largely divided into two camps: one that prefers to focus on electing Democrats to office, and another that argues for more attention to movement and progressive infrastructure building in order to create a power center independent of the Democratic Party apparatus."

    In 2015, the Democracy Alliance announced a new strategy called "2020 Vision."

    The strategy is centered on electing more Democrats to state level offices to build its political influence by 2020. The Democracy Alliance plans to raise more than $150 million over five years to assist more than 30 groups, including organizations focused on battles to

    Under its latest strategy, the Democracy Alliance will divide its funding streams into four categories. There are 35 groups funded in these categories. This is the old STRATEGY, and in 2017 the issue of Latino and marginalized communities was addressed in the Alliances New American Majority Fund, with specific investments in Latino engagement and African American electoral funding.

    As of 2015, the Democracy Alliance, which does not disclose its membership, is reported to have about 110 partners who are required to contribute at least $200,000 a year to groups it vets and recommends. Members include Tom Steyer and some of the U.S.'s biggest labor unions. It has recommended that its donors financially support the Black Lives Matter movement.

    In advance of the 2020 elections, the Democracy Alliance retooled its strategy and began to focus on "playing down longtime relationships with groups in Washington and instead preparing to pour $100 million into key states to help defeat President Donald Trump."


    Gara LaMarche is the president of the Democracy Alliance. LaMarche, a longtime progressive activist and close ally of George Soros, assumed the post in 2013. Prior to LaMarche's hiring, Hillary Clinton aide Kelly Craighead led the Democracy Alliance. Howard Dean has previously been considered as a potential president for the Democracy Alliance.

    The Board of Directors for the Democracy Alliance includes John Stocks, Patricia Bauman, Weston Milliken, Gara LaMarche, Mary Kay Henry, David desJardins, Nick Hanauer, Farhad Ebrahimi, Josh Fryday, Keith Mestrich, Fran Rodgers, Susan Sandler and ex-Clinton administration official Rob Stein. Other members include Drummond Pike; John R. Hunting; Paul Rudd (co-founder of Adaptive Analytics); Pat Stryker; Gail Furman; real estate developer Robert Bowditch; Pioneer Hybrid International-heir and congressional candidate Scott Wallace; Susie Tompkins Buell; real estate developer Albert Dwoskin; and Taco Bell-heir Rob McKay.

    Get out the vote efforts

    Inside Philanthropy described the Democracy Alliance as a "site of frequent coordination between left-leaning funders looking to get out the vote. Its secretive donor base appears to be mobilizing in response to COVID-19, and elections are on the agenda." The Democracy Alliance seeks to increase voter engagement among people of color, women, and young people.

    Organizations funded

    The Democracy Alliance recommends a portfolio of progressive organizations that collaborate with each other. In 2014, the Democracy Alliance's "Progressive Infrastructure Map" included 172 organizations, 21 of which were considered core groups. In 2015, the Democracy Alliance's funding plans included 35 core organizations.

    Entities funded by the Democracy Alliance include:


  • Democracy Alliance's  State Voices project has received $906,000 from the Bauman Foundation:

    Additional Reading

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