Quinn Delaney is the founder and, until recently, President of Akonadi Foundation, a family foundation named after a West African goddess of justice. The formation of the foundation grew out of Quinn’s years of experience as a progressive donor, campaign activist and civil rights lawyer. She and her husband, Wayne Jordan, began Akonadi as an outgrowth of their commitment to racial justice. In 2016, to make room for new leadership, Quinn transitioned to the role of board chair and Lateefah Simon became Akonadi’s new President.
In addition to her ongoing involvement with Akonadi, Quinn works to build progressive networks and leaders. On the national level, she is active in the Democracy Alliance, a national network of donors committed to building progressive organizations and supporting leaders who will be a potent force in advancing progressive policies and culture throughout the country. As a member of California’s Progressive Era Project (PEP), she is involved in building progressive statewide infrastructure. PEP combines a political strategy with nonprofit organizing and training to develop an ecosystem of progressive leaders, organizations, and elected officials to empower people of color in California
Much of Quinn’s political awareness came through the women’s movement, and the issues and challenges facing women continue to be important to her. Through the Race, Gender and Human Rights Circle at the Women’s Foundation of California, Quinn works with a group of committed donors to transform conditions for women caught in California’s criminal justice system. Quinn is also a long time member of the Women Donors Network, which capitalizes on the power of women to bring about social justice.
Politics is another arena in which Quinn spends her energies. After the last presidential election, Quinn became involved with Organizing for Action, which builds on the Obama campaign vision. Closer to home, she has worked on a number of California electoral initiatives, including fighting restrictions on women’s choice and the dismantling of affirmative action. She has also supported measures such as abolishing the death penalty in California and, in 2014, an effort at sentencing reform called the Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act.
As an attorney, Quinn worked for the National Center for Youth Law and the ACLU of Northern California. She went on to serve on the ACLU board for almost ten years and remains very involved. In addition to the ACLU, Quinn has serves on the boards of the Center for Community Change and the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, both in Washington, D.C.
Ear to the Ground Project
Ear to the Ground Project was financially supported by the Center for Third World Organizing, the Movement Strategy Center, the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, the Common Counsel Foundation, the Solidago Foundation, Steven Phillips and Susan Sandler, Quinn Delaney, and Connie Cagampang Heller & Jonathan Cagampang Heller.
While President Obama's fundraiser at Oakland's Fox Theater will be the marquee event during his East Bay fundraising swing July 2012, the big financial players will be at the Piedmont home of Wayne Jordan and Quinn Delaney, who have quietly become two of California's major campaign donors.
Jordan, an Oakland real estate developer, is one of Obama's top national fundraisers. In the past year, he has contributed $200,000 to Priorities USA, a super PAC supporting Obama, and the same amount to American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal super PAC.
In the past 10 years, Jordan, 58, has contributed more than $155,600 to the campaigns of House and Senate Democrats, according to an analysis of campaign finance data for The Chronicle by MapLight, a nonpartisan organization that analyzes money in politics. He has given $420,650 to Democratic candidates in state politics over that same period, MapLight found.
Delaney, 57, is a former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and San Francisco's liberal Tides Foundation. She just became the second-largest contributor to the campaign for Proposition 34, a measure on California's November ballot that would repeal the state's death penalty law and replace it with life without parole. She donated $250,000 in support of the measure, as much as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings gave.
April 2016 Democracy Alliance Santa Monica meeting
April 2016 Some of the biggest donors on the left huddled behind closed doors with liberal politicians including Nancy Pelosi to strategize about electing Democrats and confirming Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but they also discussed ways to use Hollywood to advance their causes.
The occasion was the annual spring investment conference of the Democracy Alliance, which officially kicks off at the tony Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, California.
The agenda also showed a particular focus on the California liberal donor community’s efforts to prepare for an impending upheaval in their state.
“As we approach the end of the Senator Boxer, Governor Brown, and Democratic Party Chair Burton era of California politics, a number of progressive policy, labor, and donor leaders have been strategizing together on how to win targeted candidate and initiative elections in 2016 and beyond, as well as policy battles in Sacramento,” read the description of a Saturday session called the California Donor Summit. It is sponsored by some of the biggest names in California progressive donor circles, including San Francisco real estate developer Wayne Jordan and his wife Quinn Delaney, Cookie Parker and Democracy Alliance board member Susan Sandler and her husband Steve Phillips.
Supporting Stacey Abrams
From the San Francisco Chronicle;
- There’s a major Bay Area connection behind the success of Stacey Abrams, who won the Democratic primary for governor in Georgia this week and would be the first African American woman to lead a state in the nation’s history if she prevails in November.
- Long before liberal pundits and MSNBC jumped on Abrams’ bandwagon, she was getting strategic help and money from a small crew of Bay Area political operatives and wealthy donors. She’s about to get $10 million more for the general election from that group, headed by San Franciscans Steve Phillips and his wife, Susan Sandler.
- To them, Abrams represents what the Democratic Party should be doing to win back red states like Georgia as a way to take control of Congress and the presidency.
- The plan: Forget chasing working-class white voters who backed Donald Trump in 2016. Instead, appeal to a coalition that includes people of color, young voters and progressive whites.
- “This is a seminal moment,” said Phillips, a former San Francisco school board member and author of “Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority.” “That’s why we’re so heavily involved. We see winning 2020 in winning 2018. This is the down payment.”
- Abrams’ strategy won’t change in the general election, Phillips said. The key is turning out the potential voters they know — not convincing the ones they don’t.
- To win in November, Phillips says Abrams must increase turnout among nonwhites by 230,000 — about the margin by which Georgia Democrats have lost statewide races to Republicans in recent years. There are 1.2 million eligible nonwhites who aren’t registered to vote in the state, Phillips said. His organization, PowerPAC Georgia, plans to spend $10 million in the general election to move them.
- It won’t be easy. Georgia hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1998. While its demographics are changing — the state is poised to become majority-minority in 2025 — it is still a red state, where President Trump beat Hillary Clinton by five points in 2016.
- To aid Abrams in the primary, Phillips raised $1.5 million from Bay Area donors including his wife, daughter of billionaire Golden West savings and loan founders Herb Sandler and Marion Sandler; Atherton’s Liz Simons (daughter of hedge fund billionaire James Simons); and Oakland attorney Quinn Delaney and her real estate developer husband, Wayne Jordan.
- That money helped Abrams match her wealthier opponent’s TV ad spending. Much of it was used in areas outside Atlanta where Democrats have run especially poorly because they’ve been unable to turn out African American and other nonwhite voters in large numbers. PowerPAC’s strategy will be the same in November.
The largest single donor, with contributions totaling $250,000, was Susan Sandler. She and her husband, Steve Phillips, founded the Sandler Phillips Center, which advises donors to progressive politicians on how to maximize the impact of their contributions.
A PAC disclosure initially reporting that a $100,000 contribution came from Phillips was later amended to say that it came from Sandler.
Sandler contributed to the pro-Jealous PAC because Jealous “has been a national social justice leader and anti-poverty crusader for decades,” said Emi Gusukuma, the center’s executive vice president.
Gusukuma said Sandler also liked Jealous’s work advocating in Maryland and elsewhere on behalf of “the Dream Act, marriage equality and ending the death penalty,” as well as increasing voter participation among racial minorities.
Kapor, founder of the Lotus computer software company, said it’s rare for him to give money to a PAC because, in general, “Politics is broken and the funding is broken.” He made an exception in this case, donating $50,000 to the pro-Jealous PAC, because of his personal familiarity with Jealous and because Phillips, a friend, asked him to do so.
The other two big donors to Maryland Together We Rise are Quinn Delaney, founder of the Akonadi Foundation, which she and her husband launched “as an outgrowth of their commitment to racial justice”; and Mark Heising, who has given more than $500,000 since 2008 to mostly Democratic candidates and PACs.
- Ear to the Ground, About, accessed Nov. 12, 2015
- SF gate, Obama's Piedmont backers an emerging force campaign 2012 By Joe Garofoli Updated 11:19 pm PDT, Sunday, July 22, 2012
- Politico, Donors seek to harness Hollywood to boost liberal causes By KENNETH P. VOGEL 04/09/2016
- [https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/These-Bay-Area-activists-helped-Stacey-Abrams-win-12938715.phpThese Bay Area activists helped Stacey Abrams win Georgia’s Democratic primary Photo of Joe Garofoli Joe Garofoli May 23, 2018 Updated: May 23, 2018 5:48 p.m.]
- [https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/whos-giving-big-bucks-to-boost-ben-jealous-rich-california-liberals-and-unions-mostly/2018/06/23/a1dfcab2-75c9-11e8-805c-4b67019fcfe4_story.html?utm_term=.e7558c00d511 WaPOWho’s giving big bucks to boost Ben Jealous? Rich California liberals and unions, mostly.By Robert McCartney June 23 2018]