What's Color of Change hiding about itself?
Coca Cola executives who recently decided to stop supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) did so in response to demands from an obscure left-wing activist group, Color of Change (COC). So were executives of giant candy-maker Mars, Inc. when they announced a similar decision.
That is why Color of Change may be the most powerful group in America you've never heard about.
But for all of its successes in generating public pressure against conservative advocacy groups and media figures, COC remains something of a mysterious organization.
The organization was not forthcoming about details of its operation when approached earlier this week by The Washington Examiner. No response was received to two emails sent to one of the individuals indentified in a news release as spokesmen for COC.
Though it claims to have more than 81,000 "members," the group, which is registered with the IRS as a 501(C)(4) advocacy organization, has a small paid staff of four people and revenues of $515,219, according to its 2010 Form 990 tax return. Only $21,000 was listed for employee salary and benefits costs.
James Rucker is named by the 990 as executive director, but no compensation figures are included for him, even though he is listed as devoting 40 hours per week to the organization. Only one other officer is listed, Heidi Hess, who is named "director," but spends only two hours per week on COC business and receives no compensation, according to the 990.
Rucker is described by Huffington Post as "co-founder of ColorOfChange.org. Founded in the wake of Katrina, ColorOfChange.org is the leading online citizen lobby for African-Americans and their allies. Formerly, Rucker was director of grassroots mobilization at MoveOn.org."
Rucker and Hess are jointly listed on Key Wiki as having contributed $10,000-$14,999 to Dream Reborn, a project of Green for All, which is described as "a national organization that aims to build a green economy 'strong enough to lift people out of poverty.' Its goal is to secure $1 billion in funding for green-collar job training." Former Obama White House green jobs czar Van Jones was a founder of Green for All.
The group's largest single expense - for $197,486 - is listed as "Other," with no further details provided.
The group does have significant liabilities, including a debt of $110,084 owed to "GetEqual," and repayment of a loan by Rucker to the organization in the amount of $72,040 "to temp. fund operations." Other accounts payable and accrued expenses totalling $269,795, for total liabilities of $451,949.
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