Sunrise Movement Education Fund

building an army of young people to stop the climate crisis and create millions of good jobs in the process

aka Sunrise   |   Washington, DC   |  www.sunrisemovement.org

Mission

Sunrise Movement Education Fund supports young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America and expose the corruption of fossil fuel executives on our politics.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Varshini Prakash

Main address

50 F Street NW Suite 700

Washington, DC 20001 USA

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Formerly known as

US Climate Plan

EIN

46-4773036

NTEE code info

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

Voter Education/Registration (R40)

Citizen Participation (W24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Change at the incremental levels we’ve seen in the past won’t be enough to prevent the worst of the climate crisis. The latest report from the United Nations gives us less than 12 years to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. To do so, we must transform every sector of our society and economy at an “unprecedented scale and speed.” Our leaders have known about climate change since the 1980’s -- longer than most young people have been alive -- yet they have met the crisis with measures that are wholly insufficient or actively harmful. In order to transition the nation off fossil fuels within the time frame that science dictates -- while centering justice and equity for the workers affected and the communities hit hardest by environmental disasters -- we need to build the public’s support for a massive, society-wide, government-led intervention of the economy.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Training Program

SMEF trains young leaders in the Sunrise Movement theory of change and gives them the tools to organize their communities.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of people trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Training Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

As our movement expands rapidly with the excitement for the Green New Deal, trainings play a key role in safeguarding our movement’s values, strategies, and culture.

number of local, volunteer-driven hubs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of volunteer led hubs across the country, now in all fifty states plus DC and Puerto Rico

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The goal of Sunrise Movement Education Fund’s work in 2020 is to strengthen our multiracial, cross-class movement by training and building the leadership of the local leaders in our 300 existing hubs across the country while seeding hundreds more so that we may mobilize hundreds of thousands of Americans for the Green New Deal.

Every person, young or old, has something to lose to the climate crisis and to win under the Green New Deal. Our mission is to harvest these stories and to share them with our communities in service of building a more unified and equitable movement. We will build networks of trainers, hub coordinators, action leads, climate strike captains, campaign strategists, artists, and more from the plains to the coasts, growing our skills in moral protest and expanding our capacity to take care of one another as we take action that builds sympathy and public support for the solutions in the Green New Deal.

Throughout the few short years of our existence, we have already popularized a story that resonates with millions of Americans: that the fossil fuel elite have rigged our democracy and our economy against our generation, and the best shot we have for good jobs and a livable future is through bold, equitable, federal climate action under the Green New Deal. In 2020, we are writing the next chapter of this story. We know that the Green New Deal will not be gifted to us by our leaders. It will be built by all of us, arm in arm as we work from the ground up towards the promise of a just society and a multi-racial democracy.

We tell this story through the strategic activities that we are pursuing this year. The main components of our work fall under two broad categories:
(1) training our ever expanding base of volunteers in our analysis of why we need the Green New Deal’s solutions, and in the tools of community organizing to win them; and
(2) taking high profile, urgent, moral action as a unified movement.
These two strategies are synergistic, enabling us to reach the scale of a truly mass movement. In 2020, this looks like building a mass training program to escalate the skills of our volunteers to carry out high level autonomous action, as well as mobilizing our army of young people to join in mass climate strike days. Last year, the climate strike emerged as the tactic with the most momentum among the youth climate movement. This year, we are shaping the strategic direction of the climate strikes to focus on young people’s need for the Green New Deal, and to demonstrate strong public support for those solutions.

Our movement has scaled from a dozen twenty-somethings in the summer of 2017 to over ten thousand volunteers today. We’ve sprouted hundreds of new local hubs in the process, realizing the potential of a truly distributed mass social movement. Much of our success has been the consequence of strong and strategic centralized programs inspiring replicable actions on the local level.

We see our work in 2020 as following three phases of acting in unison for the Green New Deal, recruiting new members into the movement, and training and escalating the commitment of these new members. The first phase, from January to the end of April, focuses on mobilizing our base for an enormous event on the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. Our goal is to dramatically expand the number of young people who feel a stake in the Green New Deal, giving our leaders clear roles in the movement and in their local hubs. By naming the enemy of the racist, corrupt fossil fuel elite, we will grow the base of active support for the Green New Deal. In the next phase, beginning in May, our goal is to escalate the media’s perception of the urgency of the crisis through local actions undertaken by our hubs. Volunteer leaders will use these actions to recruit and train massive numbers of new young people into our movement. In the final phase, we are leading a generational mobilization to cement the demand for the Green New Deal as a central public priority, leading the climate movement’s position in a progressive People’s Alignment.

Our structure follows our strategy. We act with autonomy in our communities and we strive for national unity so that the public, the media, and our politicians see us as one powerful movement. Our movement structure is decentralized, designed to put power into the hands of people in their own communities, and also centrally coordinated and supported to maximize our collective power and achieve strategic unity. Our success depends on everyone playing their strongest role to increase participation and grow public demand -- person by person, town by town -- for the change we need. The ability to make decisions, take initiative, and drive the movement forward is held in the hands of leaders at the local level. Sunrise hubs anchor the movement, build community, and carry out the movement strategy. Anyone can be a part of Sunrise, participating online in your own home or in person at a mobilization or part of a local hub.

To win a Green New Deal, we must build a multiracial, cross-class movement that mobilizes millions of Americans -- everyone who lives here, regardless of status. We must build networks of strike captains and hubs in every town and region across the country, grow our skills in moral protest and our capacity to take care of one another across the movement. Our task is to build an equitable, unified movement that resonates with the many stories and communities across our country. To participate in Sunrise is to choose to be part of such a project: to be willing to learn, grow, take initiative, and take on new work that we’ve never done before. Our structure guides how people can join the movement, how we will grow, and the cultures and practice we use to build a just, equitable, and powerful mass movement.

Sunrise Movement Education Fund is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports our movement of young people fighting for the Green New Deal. At the organizational level, decisions at Sunrise are made by the leaders of our divisions -- Organizing, Communications, Organizational Development, and Political & Partnerships -- who convene weekly to set direction from the movement and gauge the health of our organization. The Organizing Division oversees the execution of our strategy, from centralized mobilizations to decentralized campaign plans. The Communications Division handles both earned press and digital media, making sure our message reaches the public with clarity. The Organizational Development Division provides the funds and operational architecture to allow our movement to grow. The Political & Partnerships Division maintains relationships with key stakeholders including lawmakers, local leaders, and national organizations.
Our team of core organizers -- collectively, the Movement Support Team (MST) -- includes about 100 people, from salaried staff to interns, who oversee the day-to-day tasks of the organization and play key support roles for the national movement to go to scale.

Since our launch in summer 2017, Sunrise has emerged as one of the most powerful and strategic entities of the Trump era. Our movement began as the vision of a dozen young people, disappointed by the grip that fossil fuel executives held over our democracy and subsequent lack of urgency our government showed in combating the climate crisis. We now boast 10,000 volunteers across 300 hubs in all fifty states plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

In 2017, we held 31 in-person leadership trainings for 537 people and conducted 2 national speaking tours to educate high schoolers, college students, and other youth about the climate crisis and our strategy to stop it. We established chapters in 15 states, and shut down one of the nation’s largest oil and gas lobby meetings at the Trump Hotel.

In 2018, we debuted Sunrise Semester, a first-of-its-kind effort to channel the organizing power of the youth climate movement into voter education, civic engagement, and leadership development. This fellowship was powered by 75 full-time fellows, many of whom took a semester off from school in order to participate. Our fellows concentrated their efforts in 8 regions across 5 states -- Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, and Minnesota -- reaching over 254,000 people to educate them about the climate crisis and building trusting partnerships with local power-building organizations for economic and racial justice. By the end of 2018, we had injected solutions like the Green New Deal into the national discourse, making climate change an unavoidable topic in the news.

Our momentum carried us into 2019, where we absorbed the significant growth we experienced into a durable, flexible, and powerful organization. Here are some highlights from last year:

-Investing in intensive leadership development for 60 movement fellows, 40% of whom come from low-income families and 60% of whom -identify as people of color
-Training 3,000 leaders in the core values, principles, and practices of our movement.
-Leveling up the skills of 555 experienced volunteers in advanced organizing
-Mobilizing an estimated half million people to climate strikes in coordination with our allies

Financials

Sunrise Movement Education Fund
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Sunrise Movement Education Fund

Board of directors
as of 5/22/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms Keya Chatterjee

US Climate Action Network

Guido Girgenti

Momentum

Michael Dorsey

National Academy of Science

Betamia Coronel

350.org

Evan Weber

Sunrise Movement Education Fund

Erin Rogers

Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No