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Leading Philanthropies Launch Progressive Stimulus Project

Washington, DC – More than a dozen major U.S. foundations announced today the launch of the Progressive Stimulus Project, a 36-month, $5 million-dollar annual initiative that aims to strengthen the financial sustainability and agency of local, state and national nonprofits.  In this watershed moment, these nonprofits are being called to quickly advance civic engagement and social justice while they reframe their work against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession.

“Philanthropy should be giving more, not less, in this time of crisis. And even if donors do give more, creative new fundraising strategies are vital to a sustainable future for progressive organizations. Wallace Global Fund is spending 20% of our assets this year as part of our efforts to fund the vital work being done right now to protect vulnerable families, communities, and organizations as individual giving collapses. We are honored to help support this innovative new program and call on our peers in philanthropy to recognize that supporting our nonprofit partners is far more important than protecting our endowments,” said Ellen Dorsey, Executive Director of the Wallace Global Fund.

In addition to Wallace, the fund, managed by Progressive Multiplier (PM), is launching with the support of The JPB Foundation, Ford Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Four Freedoms Fund, Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund, The Resilience Initiative (a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors through a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation), the Overbrook Foundation, Amalgamated Foundation, The WhyNot Initiative, Resilient Democracy Fund and Rosenberg Foundation. To date, over $1.5 million have been contributed to the first year’s goal of $5 million. The Stimulus Project will support a new round of revenue generation projects with an initial cohort of local, state and national nonprofits, beginning in July of 2020.

The Progressive Multiplier provides financial and technical support for independent revenue generation projects to progressive nonprofits that are working towards systemic change. To date, for every dollar they have granted, their grantees are on track to raise an average of more than five dollars for their funded projects.

The idea of the Progressive Stimulus Project was first popularized when Gara LaMarche, the president of the Democracy Alliance, Philip Radford, executive director of the Progressive Multiplier, and Sonal Shah, the executive director of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University wrote a piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy calling on philanthropy “to do what Congress does: adopt a stimulus package.”

  • Expected projects supported by the new pooled fund this year include:
  • Rapid response fundraising to support racial justice work and those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Pivoting fundraising efforts to align with increased public awareness
  • Rapid diversification from fundraising streams lost to the pandemic, like face-to-face canvassing or galas
  • Expanded financing for existing successful fundraising at risk of getting defunded in upcoming budget cuts due to the recession

The JPB Foundation stated, “in economic downturns, we must work with others to strengthen the community-led organizations that fight for a strong social safety net, to alleviate poverty, and rebuild our society in a just and sustainable way. We are proud to support the Progressive Stimulus Project as one key element of investing in community organizations during this turbulent time.” For more information on the Progressive Stimulus Project, please write Mina Devadas at