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Common Cause Education Fund

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Citizen Participation, Civil Rights, Public Finance, Taxation & Monetary Policy, Voter Education & Registration, Voting Rights


The Common Cause Education Fund (CCEF) is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political process.

 CCEF employs research, outreach, educational programming, and coalition building to increase public understanding of how our democracy works, empower citizens to hold their government accountable, and promote broad and effective citizen engagement at federal, state, and local levels. 

Programs: With 300,000 members and supporters and chapters in 35 states, CC and CCEF work for reform in three critical areas: Voting and Elections, Money and Politics, Media and Democracy, and Ethics and Transparency in Government.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

In the last few years Common Cause has been instrumental in two areas: voting integrity and anti-gerrymandering at the state level. They've successfully challenged PA, NC, MD, and WS with their engineered districts that are rigged to protect incumbents rather than allow voters to freely choose representation. The result has been a new awareness by voters on state and county redistricting and its role in election outcomes and fairness. Common Cause has been on the front line, along with strategic partners, in advocating for voting rights and open government through education and civic programs that inform voters and help hold local and state officials to account. I have personally been involved in my state for two years and have experienced what happens when voters are empowered with information and tools through this organization. Powerful advocacy work at both the grassroots level and the national level.

Review from Guidestar



Rating: 5

Susan Schreiber, a staff member of the Common Cause Education Fund, would like to respond to the comment below. -- In January, the organization sent a small group of staff members to the Mohonk Mountain House in New York State for two and a half days of planning meetings as part of a major grant-funded project. Rates were signficiantly discounted because there are very few visitors at that time of year (only other nonprofit groups holding similar gatherings). The location was chosen because of the price break and because it was centrally located for staff coming from Maine, Connecticut, New York and Washington, DC. Supporters’ contributions were not used to fund this meeting.

Review from Guidestar


General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Guess where the Common Cause staff is right now? At work? Nope: at Mohonk Mountain House -- a spa! -- for a retreat. Are you kidding me? This is what the organization spends it supporters' contributions on. Spa getaways for the staff.

Please call them and ask exactly how much this "retreat" to a very expensive resort cost. Keep in mind that when you donate, you are buying fancy vacations for a staff that has accomplished almost nothing in more than a decade.

Review from CharityNavigator



Rating: 2

The idea that Common Cause is a 4-star charity is a joke. This organization that claims to be working for more openness, honesty and transparency is hiding $4 million+ in direct mail, telemarketing and other fundraising expenses in their 501c4 arm (Common Cause) in order to boost the reputation of their 501c3 arm (Common Cause Education Fund). Not only that, but this organization has failed to achieve a single one of its national goals since the passage of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. So if you have given any money to Common Cause in the last 10 years, please rest assured that it's gone either to fundraising or to the bloated 6-figure salaries of president Bob Edgar ($209k annually), Bette Marchant ($170k annually), Sarah Dufendach ($164k annually, not to mention whatever her jewelry making business brings in -- oh yes, that's done on the organization's time), Karen Hobert Flynn ($141k annually), Mary Anderson Boyle ($117k annually), Arn Pearson ($117k annually) or one of the other vice presidents -- the organization has had 2 others (Eileen Toback, Kathryn Wittneben) who left before their compensation was disclosed on the 990s. Over a million dollars a year just to pay the leadership of an unsuccessful organization. Disgraceful.

Review from CharityNavigator