You don’t have to look far to find the left’s multimillion-dollar activist machine in action. Now they’re setting their sights on Kansas, a red state they hope to turn blue, and there’s no shortage of money to vote for jobs.
At the heart of the program is the Kansas Health Foundation, a “social justice” advocacy group masquerading as a local charity. In fact, it is one of the left’s conduits for the flow of voter registration money into the Sunflower State.
In 2017, one year after the state won 57.2 percent for President Donald Trump, the foundation launched its Integrated Voter Engagement (IVE) initiative with funding for voting groups “to increase civic engagement among populations that … do not currently participate in the democratic process”.
Crucially, the foundation incorporated a voter registration and turnout model borrowed from another leftist organization: the Funders Committee on Civic Participation, a front for NEO Philanthropy, and a coalition of nearly 100 foundations. liberals and grantors, including the Kansas Health Foundation.
As we’ve documented, the Funders’ Committee boasts that its integrated voter engagement model is one of the “most effective ways to increase voter turnout” and has helped turn Colorado from a red state to a purple state in the early 2000s.
It works by moving money from committee members, such as the Kansas Health Foundation, to “Democratic groups” who push for “structural reforms” that “hold elected officials accountable [sic]” and gain “long-term power” for the left-favorite “communities.” An older version of the theory was even more stark: “register voters”, “eliminate voting”, “defend + expand voting rights”, and finally “make a political impact”.
A Kansas Health Foundation report praises the model because it’s not limited to election cycles, but rather is an ongoing, ongoing effort that grows voter numbers and ultimately leads to policy change. Organizations that use [the model] successfully integrate voter engagement with their ongoing work on non-partisan issues and organizing and advocacy efforts [emphasis added].
In Kansas, that means targeting “health equity problem areas” — a loose term defined as access to “quality schools and housing,” “good jobs and healthy food,” and “the safety of our neighborhoods” — but in reality refers to targeting likely Democratic voters, many of whom are not on the electoral roll.
The left believes that mass voter registration campaigns increase voter turnout and that high voter turnout leads to Democratic victories. The trick is to get millions of eligible voters disengaged from the electoral roll in key states, a feat that requires an army of activists and an ocean of cash. The left has both. The top 24 left-wing voter registration nonprofits spent an estimated $434 million in 2020 alone, much of which came from “progressive” mega-donor foundations that share the “foundation” last name.
Between July and August 2021, the Kansas Health Foundation invested $2.9 million in its voter engagement campaign. Recipients were required to report which ‘populations’ with ‘health disparities’ they intended to target and how they would incorporate ‘grassroots advocacy and/or organizing to influence [sic] health equity change.
The foundation’s list of grant requirements smacks of partisanship: It includes “Describe the geographic scope of the organization’s IVE efforts, including data components such as number of eligible voters, registered voters, voting-age population, and demographics of the census of the relevant area”. As well as “Describe the populations that will be affected by the applicant organization, the current level of civic engagement, and the voting disparities experienced by these populations.”
So who received these funds?
Topping the list is the Kansas Appleseed Center, which uses nutrition and public health as a front to push voter turnout campaigns and election “reform.” The group calls for expanded use of mail-in ballots and mailboxes to collect them, and rails against allegations of voter fraud. Notably, it also lists built-in voter engagement on its homepage.
Similarly, the Kansas Rural Center lists Integrated Voter Engagement among its agricultural priorities, an area the group has been active in since 2018. In September 2021, the center announced its four-year Integrated Voter Engagement initiative across the country. state to “mobilize the Kansans to encourage greater participation”, ostensibly on agricultural issues.
Specifically, the center is founded on the belief that American farms are built “on slavery and the forced migration of people,” an “enduring legacy of systemic racism,” “globalization,” “colonialism,” and “destructive . . . capitalism. “
Another grant recipient from the foundation is the Climate and Energy Project, a group of global warming activists promoting a switch from the Kansas power grid to solar power. The project is closely allied with a number of anti-oil and anti-natural gas groups, including the far-left Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice (a spin-off of the Sierra Club), Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and the “pop -up” Arabella ” group Rewiring America, which wants to declare total war on the American energy sector.
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Also among the recipients of the Kansas Health Foundation is the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, a Kansas City group that boasts of registering and winning the vote among “hundreds of voters on low-income census tracks” and “engag[ing] voters on health issues, public education, and voter suppression.” The Metro Organization also supports higher minimum wage laws, opposes right-to-work legislation and aims to turn Kansas into a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants.
Further up the cash flow, we tracked Kansas Health Foundation grants from the Tides Foundation, the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, and two Kansas-based community foundations. All of these organizations pass grants from donors to other nonprofits, clearing the donors’ names in the process, a practice some have termed “charity money laundering.”
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The left excels at operating in the shadows, employing sophisticated talking points and mobilization strategies to fool voters into believing these causes are grassroots. The truth is, it’s the same jaded, cynical politics that Americans are sick as hell of.