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RELEASE: New Report Highlights Disparity in Funding Between Conservative and Progressive Youth Organizations

WASHINGTON—Today, Generation Progress and Young People For released a new report on the funding gap between conservative and progressive youth organizations. The report, titled “Building Tomorrow: The Need for Sustained Investment in America’s Progressive Youth,” analyzes financial data since 2008 to outline the economic disadvantages progressive youth-serving organizations face and to recommend a shift in funding strategy.

Toplines from the report include:

  • Between 2008 and 2014, conservative youth organizations received nearly $500 million more in contributions than progressive youth organizations.
  • The largest conservative youth organization’s total revenue is larger than the combined revenues of the wealthiest four progressive youth organizations.
  • The disparity is growing: in 2008, conservatives held a 2-to-1 financial advantage; by 2014, it had grown to nearly 3-to-1.
  • In total expenditures, the top 5 conservative youth organizations in 2014 spent approximately $40 million more than the top 5 progressive youth organizations.

Nearly 100 new progressive organizations have formed in the wake of the presidential election, many of them led by young people. But the inflow of these groups highlights not only a growing momentum but also the urgent need for progressive funders to broaden the scope of their contributions and spending. These disparate investment infrastructures, the report argues, has allowed the conservative youth movement to outpace its progressive counterparts across all major financial indicators.

“Conservatives are out-spending progressives at a rate of 3-to-1 to engage young people,” said Maggie Thompson, executive director of Generation Progress. “We cannot take the Millennial generation for granted and continue to allow organizations on the right to out-spend progressives by millions, especially on a generation with overwhelmingly progressive values. Now is the time to invest in programs that train and engage young people to capitalize on the wave of youth energy sparked by the election. Progressives have a tremendous opportunity to close this gap.”

“The bottom line is: we can’t win without young people,” said Cici Battle, director of the Young People For program at People For the American Way Foundation. “Millennials are an unabashedly progressive generation, and we need to continuously support and develop our young leaders in order to translate this progressive energy into long-term change across the country, so we can win.”

To read the report, click here.

Cici Battle and Maggie Thompson are available to speak with press. To arrange an interview, please reach out to kepstein@americanprogress.org or media@pfaw.org.

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