A prominent liberal activist group that is closely involved with anti-Trump campaigns has been awarded more than $20 million in taxpayer-funded government grants since 2002, according to a review of the organization’s Form 990s.
Make the Road New York (MRNY), a New York City-based Latino immigrant group with 19,000 dues-paying members, has been actively involved with anti-Trump campaigns and is closely linked to an organization that is spearheading a new $80 million anti-Trump network that will span across 32 states.
In addition to generous funding from liberal billionaire George Soros, MRNY has hauled in millions in government grants.
From 2002 to 2007, MRNY recorded $1,372,440 in government grants on their Form 990s, an amount that averages $274,488 per year, with no grants in 2005. Government funding to the group sharply increased between 2008 and 2014, the last year a Form 990 is publicly available from the group.
In 2008, MRNY’s taxpayer-funded grants rose above $1 million for the first time when the group pulled in $1,052,195 in grants. In 2009, the amount increased to $1,928,863. In 2010, MRNY was given $2,693,885. In 2011, the group pulled in $2,490,540. From 2012 to 2014, MRNY took in $10,996,247 in government grants.
While the Form 990s do not shed light on why the grants were awarded or what government agency’s they came from—only a total amount is marked on the 990s—MRNY’s 2014 annual report shows that the group has received funding from the New York State Department of State, New York City Department of Education, and the New York State Education Department, among others.
Additionally, USASpending.com, a government website that posts grants online, shows MRNY has received federal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Labor. The website shows that the group received at least $725,459 in federal grants in 2015 and more than $4 million in 2016, years for which the group’s 990 are not publicly available.
Make the Road New York was behind the “spontaneous” protests at New York’s JFK Airport following Trump’s travel ban. Despite the protests being billed as “spontaneous,” the Daily Beast reported that they had actually been planned since one day after the presidential election.
MRNY was involved with the #DeleteUber pressure campaign after Uber allowed pick ups from the airport during the protests. Tens of thousands of people deleted the Uber app, and the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, stepped down from Trump’s advisory council.
The group was also a part of the #GrabYourWallet campaign, which targeting retailers for selling Trump family products. During the height of the campaign, Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump products, citing a decline in sales as the reason.
Make the Road additionally “partnered” with the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD)—a New York-based nonprofit that consists of old chapters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a controversial community organizing group that closed its doors after being stripped of federal funds in 2010—on the “Corporate Backers of Hate” campaign that targeted nine companies said to profit from Trump policies.
Make the Road New York’s ties to the Center for Popular Democracy go beyond mere partnerships on campaigns. The groups have many overlapping staffers and have passed money to each other.
The Center for Popular Democracy, which is led by a number of former members of ACORN, announced last week that they will be leading a new $80 million anti-Trump network that will span 32 states and have 48 local partners. The network will focus on mobilizing new voters and fighting voter identification laws. It will also be involved with gerrymandering and automatic voter registration efforts.
Andrew Friedman, the co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, founded Make the Road New York in 1997. Friedman spent 15 years building up MRNY before moving over to the Center for Popular Democracy. Friendman currently sits on the board of directors for MRNY and MRNY Action Fund.
Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of CPD, served as co-executive director of Make the Road before joining Center for Popular Democracy.
Javier Valdes, the co-executive director of Make the Road, is the board chair of the Center for Popular Democracy.
Make the Road additionally passed $122,112 to the Center for Popular Democracy in 2013. MRNY gave $25,000 to CPD in 2014.
The Center for Popular Democracy gave Make the Road New York $253,900 in 2014 and another $100,000 was given to the Make the Road New York Action Fund. CPD gave MRNY $286,042 in 2015.
Make the Road did not respond to inquiries on their government funding and involvement in anti-Trump campaigns.