People for the American Way
|Area served||United States|
|Method||Media attention, direct-appeal campaigns|
|Key people||Norman Lear|
People For the American Way (People For) is a modern liberal progressive advocacy group in the United States. Under U.S. tax code, People For the American Way is organized as a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.
The "Our Mission and Vision" page on their website states:
- People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way.
- Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. Our America respects diversity, nurtures creativity and combats hatred and bigotry.
- We believe a society that reflects these constitutional principles and progressive values is worth fighting for, and we take seriously our responsibility to cultivate new generations of leaders and activists who will sustain these values for the life of this nation.
- Our operational 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.
PFAW has been active in recent years in battles over judicial nominations and on issues including school class size, and actively support such proposals as the separation of church and state, civil rights, voting rights for Washington, DC in the U.S. Congress and equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people and promotion of civic participation.
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.
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 B. 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. 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
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
- John Hall Buchanan, Jr., Baptist preacher and former Alabama Republican U.S. representative
- Howie Klein, Board Member
- Norman Lear, Board Member and Founder
- Carole Shields, Board Member (and former Executive Director)
Board Members, People For the American Way Foundation
- Alec Baldwin, Board Member
- Dolores Huerta, Board Member
- Rabbi David Saperstein, Board Member
- Kathleen Turner, Board Member
- Rev. Tim McDonald, Board Member
- Alisha Thomas Morgan, YEO Network Membership Services Manager and Georgia State Representative
- Andrew Gillum, YEO Network Founder and City Commissioner in Tallahassee, Florida
- Elliot Mincberg, (former staff) Counsel to House Judiciary Committee
Coalitions, partnerships, and joint ventures
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:
- Election Protection
- Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
- Fair Taxes for All
- Partners for Public Education
- Emergency Campaign for America's Priorities
- The DC Vote Coalition
- National Coalition Against Censorship
Young People For
- OpenSecrets: People for the American Way.
- 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
- Our Mission and Vision | People For the American Way
- "Rehnquist's death, and what comes next". Salon. September 4, 2005.
- Glanz, James (March 11, 2000). "Survey Finds Support Is Strong For Teaching 2 Origin Theories". The New York Times.
- "About YP4". Young People For. Retrieved April 5, 2011.