This Start-Up Wants To Put 100 Progressive Women In Congress By 2020

Project 100’s founders have decided to bridge the gap between “talk” and “action” in a fascinating way.

Cries for diversity alone, no matter how numerous, can’t be equated with actual empowerment. But Project 100 aims to ensure that progressive women who decide to run for office can raise funds, recruit volunteers, and market themselves to create a successful campaign for office.

The new start-up platform is being run by former leader of the Tony Blair Foundation Danielle Gram, writer Isabel Kaplan, and former U.S. Digital Service creative director Eduardo Ortiz. Former Google politics head Eric Hysen serves as a senior adviser to the company.

The founders’ experience in politics taught them that while good intentions are a noble first step, the ability to manage and run a campaign, especially with limited resources, is what so often keeps qualified candidates from election.

Their mission statement, per the Project 100 website:

“Our digital platform gives everyday activists the tools they need to find and support the strongest candidates running so that women who deserve to lead can gain the backing they need to win.”

From their experiences in the public sector, the founders knew better than to develop a naively idealistic “cure” for the current lack of diversity in politics. Instead of platitudes, Hysen uses more straightforward means of harness public attention to level the playing field for the project’s candidates.

“A lot of start-ups tried to make the one shiny app that everyone will get on their phones and suddenly will make the entire world politically engaged. That's an idealistic view of how politics works that doesn't line up with the real world,” Hysen said. “I don't think there will ever be the Uber or Google of politics that takes off in the same way you see in Silicon Valley. Every part of this design is designed around how people actually engage in politics, not how we hope they would.”

Designed to serve voters as much as candidates, Project 100 comes online at a time when political issues seem to permeate every facet of life but the action actually taken to effect change remains disproportionately small.

“The time is right for this,” said Danielle Gram. “2.5 million men and women marched in the Women's March. Between the #MeToo movement and activism for equal pay and reproductive rights, everyone is talking about these issues, but they haven't yet found a home for action. We want to be where they can go.”

Image via Project 100.

Project 100’s current goal is to “achieve 100 progressive women serving in Congress by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote” — and that effort is already underway as they promote candidates in congressional districts throughout the nation.

The project seeks progressive candidates with aligning views on these three issues:

  • Equal treatment under the law. We believe all people, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, or physical ability deserve equal protection and opportunity. This means supporting LGBTQ equality, criminal justice reform, defense of voting rights, and immigration reform.

  • Economic opportunity. Americans deserve job opportunities that afford a living wage, and people deserve equal payment for equal work. We support candidates who will expand access to quality public education, address rising inequality, create jobs and raise incomes.

  • Healthy people and communities. All people deserve access to affordable health care, communities free of violence, bigotry and hatred. We support candidates in favor of gun violence prevention, contraceptive access and reproductive choice, domestic and sexual assault prevention and response, environmental preservation, and health care access for all.

Project 100 pledges an inclusive approach to the candidates it supports and the voters it serves.

Those interested in donating, volunteering, or campaigning themselves can find the resources they require here.

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Scott are getting company. Statues of the famous men are scattered across Central Park in New York City, along with 19 others. But they'll finally be joined by a few women.

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth are the subjects of a new statue that will be on display along The Mall, a walkway that runs through the park from 66th to 72nd street. It will be dedicated in August of next year, which is fittingly the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Currently, just 3% of statues in New York City are dedicated to women. Out of 150 statues of historical figures across the city, only five statues are of historical women, including Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman.

Keep Reading Show less

It's easy to become calloused to everyday headlines with messages like, "the world is ending" and "everything is going extinct." They're so prevalent, in fact, that the severity of these statements has completely diminished to the point that no one pays them any attention. This environmental negativity (coined "eco-phobia") has led us to believe that all hope is lost for wildlife. But luckily, that isn't the case.

Historically, we have waited until something is near the complete point of collapse, then fought and clawed to bring the species numbers back up. But oftentimes we wait so long that it's too late. Creatures vanish from the Earth altogether. They go extinct. And even though I don't think for a single second that we should downplay the severity of extinction, if we can flip this on its head and show that every once in a while a species we have given up on is actually still out there, hanging on by a thread against all odds, that is a story that deserves to be told. A tragic story of loss becomes one about an animal that deserves a shot at preservation and a message of hope the world deserves to hear.

As a wildlife biologist and tracker who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of animals I believe have been wrongfully deemed extinct, I spend most of my time in super remote corners of the Earth, hoping to find some shred of evidence that these incredible creatures are still out there. And to be frank, I'm pretty damn good at it!

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less