Civitas – Acorn in North Carolina

Single Seed Grows Many Branches: ACORN’s Web of Connections in North Carolina

Francis De Luca |  January 7, 2010

acorn web of connections

A Single Seed Grows Many Branches: ACORN’s Web of Connections in North Carolina

The Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) has woven itself into the fabric of the left in North Carolina. Listed below are short explanations of the ties between the groups illustrated on the above chart. For more detailed information on ACORN NC see

Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN)
ACORN NC – ACORN’s North Carolina arm – has offices in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte. ACORN NC is a member of Blueprint NCand partners with NC Housing Coalition, NC Policy Watch and the NC Justice Center, among others.

Blueprint North Carolina
Blueprint NC was organized and funded by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. It is a partnership of over 40 progressive (liberal) state-level nonprofits housed at the  NC Justice Center. Blueprint NC’s partner organizations are:

  • Phillip Randolph Institute
  • Action for Children
  • American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU)
  • Carolina Justice Policy Center
  • Center for Community Self-Help/Center for Responsible Lending
  • Center for Death Penalty Litigation
  • Common Cause
  • Community Reinvestment Association of NC- CRANC
  • Conservation Council of NC Foundation
  • Conservation Trust of NC
  • Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, Inc.
  • Democracy NC
  • Disability Rights NC
  • El Pueblo
  • Environment NC
  • Equality NC
  • Fair Trial Initiative
  • Institute for Southern Studies
  • Ipas
  • League of Women Voters – Charlotte
  • Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation
  • NARAL Pro-Choice NC
  • NC Against Gun Violence
  • NC Alliance of Black Elected Officials
  • NC Association of CDCs
  • NC Center for Voter Education
  • NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • NC Coalition to End Homelessness
  • NC Community Development Initiative
  • NC Conservation Network
  • NC Environmental Defense
  • NC Fair Share
  • NC Housing Coalition, Inc.
  • NC Institute of Minority Economic Development
  • NC John Muir Foundation (Sierra Club)
  • NC Justice Center
  • NC Latino Coalition, Inc.
  • NC Minority Support Center
  • NC Policy Watch
  • People of Faith Against the Death Penalty
  • Planned Parenthood Health Systems
  • Planned Parenthood of Central NC
  • Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
  • Southern Coalition of Social Justice
  • Traction
  • Working Families Win

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation funds progressive groups. Among them are El Pueblo Inc., North Carolina Housing Coalition, NC Justice Center and Project Vote.

NC Housing Coalition
The Campaign for Housing Carolina is a collaborative effort led by the NC Housing Coalition joined by NC Justice Center, A.J. Fletcher Foundation and ACORN NC.

Project Vote
Project Vote is ACORN’s voter mobilization arm and has provided legal support, including supporting litigation, for ACORN in a number of states. Project Vote registered more than 1.3 million individuals to vote; many of who were deceased, under the voting age or were fabricated registrants.

A.J. Fletcher Foundation
The A.J. Fletcher Foundation, whose mission is to support progressive nonprofits, gave $205,000 to the NC Justice Center and over $66,000 to the NC Housing Coalition in 2007.

Tides Foundation
Tides Foundation received a $25,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, part of which was used to create The Tides Foundation has given grants to the Center for Community Change as well as over $1 million to Project Vote.

Center for Community Change
The Center for Community Change received money from the Tides Foundation and is partners with the NC Justice Center.

Traction and their blog,, define themselves as the “future of the progressive movement.” Traction was created through the Tides Foundation from a Z. Smith Reynolds grant.

NC Policy Watch
NC Policy Watch is a project of the Justice Center and located there. NC Policy Watch affiliates with El Pueblo Inc, works with ACORN NC on projects and is a member of Blueprint NC.

El Pueblo Inc.
El Pueblo, an advocacy organization for the Latino community, is a member of Blueprint NC and affiliates with NC Policy Watch. They also received a $107,500 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations is a federation of 57 international labor unions. In North Carolina, AFL-CIO shares a building with ACORN NC and is on the North Carolina chapter of Health Care for America Now.

Bank of America
Bank of America has donated millions of dollars to ACORN for “neighborhood preservation.” They also financially support the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA).

North Carolina Coalition of Health Care for America Now
NC HCAN is the North Carolina arm of a grassroots organization that pushed for passage of the national health-care bill. NC HCAN has a 16-member steering committee, whose organizations include ACORN NC, AFL-CIO and SEIU. SEANC is one of NC HCAN’s coalition partners.

State Employees Association – North Carolina
SEANC is the largest state employees’ association in the South with over 55,000 members. SEANC became legally affiliated with SEIU in 2008 and is now SEIU Local 2008

Service Employees International Union
SEIU has donated over $3.6 million to ACORN over the last six years. SEIU Local 100 was co-founded by ACORN founder Wade Rathke. In 2008, SEIU gave $1.1 million to the NC Democratic Party.

Wade Rathke
Wade Rathke is co-founder of ACORN as well as SEIU Local 100. He served as ACORN’s chief organizer until stepping down in 2008 after his brother Dale Rathke’s embezzled over $1 million dollars from ACORN and it became public. Wade Rathke is also the former director of the Tides Foundation.

State of North Carolina
Over $640,000 of North Carolina taxpayer money wasawarded to the NC Justice Center in 2006. Continuing payments have likely exceeded $1 million. The state also granted $1 million to NACA.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this document
Click here to download the ACORN N.C. Map


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