Blueprint NC still majorly funded by Z. Smith Reynolds
ZSR filing for FY ending 2020 shows $325,000 in "operating support"
The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is still the primary funding source for Blueprint NC, a 501(c)3 that serves as a hub for a coalition of around 50 left-leaning organizations in the state.
Notably in the list of partners is the Education Justice Alliance, an activist group operating in Wake County. I have previously reported this group’s recruiting of school-aged children in order to launch an activism group called the “Youth Power Institute.” Education Justice Alliance is run by Letha Muhammed, who has direct ties to Blueprint NC’s parent organization, the NC Justice Center.
Tax filings for the fiscal year ending 2020 show Z. Smith Reynolds gave Blueprint NC a total of $740,000:
Blueprint NC has not filed its required non-profit tax reporting documentation since 2018.
Founded in 2010, Blueprint NC (BPNC) raised around $1 million by 2021. The bulk of BPNC’s start-up money, as well as its continued operating funding, has come from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR).
Other major donors to BPNC have included George Soros’ Tides groups, Neo Philanthropy, New Venture Fund, Proteus Fund, Windward Fund, and a series of grants from “State Voices,” a left-leaning advocacy and activist organization similar to BPNC.
In all, tax filings show State Voices has given BPNC $679,585 spanning the years 2014 to 2019.
2019 - $50,000
2018 - $55,556
2017 - $50,000
2016 - $316,029
2015 - $90,000
2014 - $118,000
Notably, per Influence Watch, BPNC’s Erin Dale Byrd is a “member of the State Voices’ board of directors and the executive director of Partnership Funds, a collaborative of left-wing environmentalist fundraising groups, and its 501(c)(4) fundraising arm Partnership Action Fund.”
New Venture and Windward Fund are both essentially grant-making organizations for progressive causes. Both are managed by Arabella Advisors, an organization that describes itself as a philanthropic consulting company, but functions more as dark money pass-through to the subgroups it manages like New Venture and Windward.
Funds managed by Arabella Advisors dropped around $896 million into progressive campaigns and related activities during 2020 and the organization has its eyes on North Carolina, setting up its latest office location in Durham.
Some of the notable funding received by BPNC going back to 2018 includes:
"New Venture Fund" (Arabella Advisors)
$270,000 for “Environmental Programs”
"Greater Washington Community Foundation" (Washington D.C.)
$25,000 (no description)
$100,000 for "Healthy Individuals and Communities"
$906,000 listed as "Program grant"
"North Carolina Community Foundation"
$30,000 for "societal benefit"
"Windward Fund" (Arabella Advisors)
$150,000 labeled as “Environmental Programs”
"North Carolina Justice Center" (parent of BPNC)
$40,000 labeled as "subgrant"
"United State Energy Foundation"
$45,000 for "teaching about clean energy"
"National Resource Defense Council" (NY, NY)
$100,000 (no description)
"Voter registration project education fund"
$118,394 for "voter registration"
$10,000 for “Equality and Human Rights”
$5,000 for “Human Rights”
"Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Foundation"
$10,000 for supporting "polling and research"
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While BPNC was quietly founded in 2010, it made loud headlines in 2013 after an “attack memo” was leaked to the media and was reported on at the time by the Charlotte Observer.
The memo was sent out when Pat McCrory was in the governor’s mansion.
Key sections of the memo instructed BPNC partners to:
• “Crippl(e) their leaders (McCrory, Tillis, Berger etc.)”
• “Eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.”
• “Pressure McCrory at every public event.”
• “Slam him when he contradicts his promises.”
The memo was sent to BPNC partners in an email with a warning which read that the memo “is CONFIDENTIAL to Blueprint, so please be careful – share with your boards and appropriate staff but not the whole world.”
The NC Republican Party called for an investigation into BPNC following the leak of the memo.
BPNC’s then-Executive Director Sean Kosofsky attempted to deny the memo was theirs. Interestingly, Kosofsky’s denials were reported by WRAL, whose owner Jim Goodmon had direct ties to the funding of BPNC. WRAL finally did report on the connection, albeit buried in a lengthy article.