NPR logo Profile: Progress Now Action

Profile: Progress Now Action

A Progress Now Action campaign tries to tie Colorado Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave to President George W. Bush's legacy. Progress Now Action hide caption

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Progress Now Action


Progress Now Action serves as a gateway for progressive politics in Colorado, offering grassroots networking tools on its site for more than 350,000 online members.

Using new media tools, the group informs members about local politics and events, mainly sponsored by other groups. Progress Now also offers rapid response commentary to the press and produces its own online video and e-mail campaigns.

While most of its activity is geared toward state politics, the group also addresses national issues by creating and promoting Web sites that link Republican politicians such as Senate candidate Bob Schaffer to the Bush administration and "big oil."

This year, Progress Now collaborated with the Democratic National Convention Committee and other blogs to host a workspace for journalists and bloggers during the party convention in Denver.

Progress Now Action is a 501(c)4 and Progress Now is the 501(c)3 arm.

Since 2006, Progress Now has also tried to expand its reach beyond Colorado to other states. The group helped start an affiliate in Ohio three years ago; called Progress Ohio, it is bankrolled by the Democracy Alliance. Since then, affiliates based on the same model have sprouted in seven other states: Courage Campaign (CA); Progress Florida; Progress Michigan; Alliance for a Better Minnesota; Clearly New Mexico; Fuse Washington and One Wisconsin Now. The network hopes to expand to 25 states by 2012.

Progress Now counts as advisers such Democratic heavyweights as Robert Borosage (Americans United for Change), David Brock (Progressive Media USA), Mike Lux (American Family Voices), Eli Pariser ( and Carl Pope (Sierra Club), as well as directors of the Fund for America (Anna Burger, John Podesta, John Stocks) and several members of the Democracy Alliance (Steve Phillips, Drummond Pike, John Podesta, Rob Stein and Michael Vachon). Borosage, Lux and Phillips are also on the board of Progressive Majority, which pays rent to Progress Now.

For a chart of money and influence behind the network, click here.

Funders: Progress Now Action received $90,000 from Fund for America in 2008. (See a list of contributors for the first quarter of 2008.) Progress Now was funded by the Bauman Family Foundation ($100,000), Energy Foundation ($20,000) and Boston Foundation ($10,000) in 2007, and the Bohemian Foundation ($75,000) and Denver Foundation ($30,000) in 2006.

Leadership: Michael Huttner, Bobby Clark, Ted Trimpa, Wes Boyd, Martin Collier, Rob McKay, Doug Phelps, Jared Polis, Deborah Rappaport, Bill Roberts, Jeff Rusnak, Anne Summers, Joe Zimlich, J.B. Holsten, Gail Schoettler, Bruce Oreck, Patricia Cooper, Noey Congdon. Read more about these leaders in The Secret Money Project's Who's Who Directory of Key Leaders of Independent Groups.

Will Evans is a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, NPR's partner in the Secret Money Project.