People for the American Way

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
People For the American Way
People For the American Way logo 2007.png
Founded 1981
Founder Norman Lear
Type Advocacy group
Focus Progressive advocacy
Area served
United States
Method Media attention, direct-appeal campaigns
Key people
Norman Lear

People For the American Way (People For) is a progressive advocacy group in the United States.[1][2] Under U.S. tax code, People For the American Way is organized as a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.


The group's stated mission is to "promote the American Way and defend it from attack, to build and nurture communities of support for our values, and to equip those communities to promote progressive policies, elect progressive candidates, and hold public officials accountable."[3]

PFAW has been active in battles over judicial nominations and on issues including school class size, separation of church and state, civil rights, voting rights for Washington, D.C. in the U.S. Congress, equal rights for LGBT people and promotion of civic participation.[4]


PFAW was founded by television producer Norman Lear (All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, etc.) in 1981 specifically in response to what he felt was the divisive rhetoric of such increasingly influential televangelists as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Co-founders included Barbara Jordan, Andrew Heiskell, and other leaders from the political, religious, business, and entertainment communities.

Figures such as actress Kathleen Turner and the Rabbi David Saperstein sit on the board of People For the American Way's affiliate foundation, People For the American Way Foundation.

The former presidents of PFAW are Anthony Podesta (1981–1987), Arthur Kropp (1987–1995), Carole Shields (1996–2000), Ralph Neas (2000–2007), and Kathryn Kolbert (2008–2009). Michael Keegan is the organization's current president.

Soon after its founding, People For the American Way launched an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization, People for the American Way Foundation, for the purpose of conducting more extensive educational, research activities for left-wing causes.[5] Later, the People For the American Way Voter Alliance was launched as a political action committee, which, as opposed to its sister organizations, has the legal capacity to endorse candidates.

Scope of activity[edit]

Located in Washington, D.C., People For the American Way monitors what it characterizes as "right-wing" activities, conducting rapid response, political lobbying, and volunteer mobilization. In addition, the organization's affiliated foundation (People For the American Way Foundation) runs programs designed for voter education and politically progressive infrastructure building. PFAW Foundation programs include Young People For, which identifies, trains, and supports future progressive leaders; the Young Elected Officials Network, which identifies and supports progressive elected officials from around the country who are under the age of 35; and African American Religious Affairs, which mobilizes and supports progressive activism in African American congregations and communities.


  • Michael Keegan, President
  • Nick Ucci, Chief Operating Officer
  • David J. Perlman, Chief Financial Officer
  • Marge Baker, Executive Vice President for Policy and Program Planning

Board Members, People For the American Way[edit]

Board Members, People For the American Way Foundation[edit]

Notable staff[edit]

Coalitions, partnerships, and joint ventures[edit]

PFAW is a member of a number of progressive coalitions surrounding various issues, and it sometimes conducts joint campaigns with other organizations. Some of these partners and projects include:

Young People For[edit]

Young People For (YP4) is a leadership development program for young progressives and provides organizational and financial support for social justice work.[6]


  1. ^ OpenSecrets: People for the American Way.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent, Thomas C. Hunt & James C. Carper & Thomas J. Lasley II & C. Daniel Raisch.(link) 2010, Sage Publications. ISBN 9781412956642
  3. ^ "Our Mission and Vision". People for the American Way. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Rehnquist's death, and what comes next". Salon. September 4, 2005. 
  5. ^ Glanz, James (March 11, 2000). "Survey Finds Support Is Strong For Teaching 2 Origin Theories". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "About YP4". Young People For. Retrieved April 5, 2011. 

External links[edit]