The Moms for Liberty “parental rights” nonprofit reported $2.1 million in total revenue in 2022, a big leap from the previous year that was made possible primarily through contributions from two anonymous megadonors, according to a tax filing provided to The Associated Press on Friday.
The dramatic increase was up from $370,000 in revenue the previous year, when it was founded, and reveals the financial footprint of the polarizing group’s massive nationwide growth. That includes high-profile events over the past year with prominent conservative groups and Republican political candidates.
Since its founding in 2021, Moms for Liberty has amassed vigorous support from some conservatives who support its efforts to target references to race and LGBTQ+ identity in schools across the country. At the same time, the group has generated forceful backlash from grassroots groups and anti-hate organizations who argue its activism stirs extremist ideas and harms minority and LGBTQ+ students.
Moms for Liberty spokesperson Marleigh Kerr said the group’s leap in revenue “is proof of the generosity” of those involved in the fight to protect parental rights.
The tax filing shows that most of the group’s 2022 revenue — nearly $2 million of it — came from contributions and grants. It earned smaller sums from educational activities (about $68,000) and merchandise sales (about $96,000).
While Moms for Liberty is a 501(c)4 nonprofit and therefore is not required to disclose its donors, documents and disclosures from other organizations reveal some of its 2022 funders were well-known right-wing groups and donors.
The conservative Heritage Foundation’s 2022 tax filing shows it gave Moms for Liberty $25,000 when it awarded the group its annual Salvatori Prize for Citizenship. And the Leadership Institute, which has trained conservative politicians from former Vice President Mike Pence to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said on its website that it was the top sponsor for Moms for Liberty’s 2022 national summit.
While the group’s filing doesn’t name donors, it does show Moms for Liberty received some large contributions in 2022, including one donation of $1 million and another donation of $500,000.
Maurice Cunningham, a former political science professor at the University of Massachusetts-Boston who has tracked Moms for Liberty’s growth and relationships, told the AP he views that as further evidence that the group is part of a “top-down” attack on public education.
Kerr responded by pointing to the 130,000 unpaid Moms for Liberty members across the country.
“Unions wish this was top down because then maybe we could be stopped,” she said. “But more and more parents are joining the mission because there is such a coordinated push to keep parents out of the decisions surrounding their kids at school.”
She added that the group had 7,301 small donors in 2022.
The tax filing lists three officers at the nonprofit, including Tina Descovich, Marie Rogerson and Tiffany Justice. Descovich and Justice were two of three former school board representatives who co-founded the group; the other, Bridget Ziegler, later stepped down. Reportable compensation for each of the officers in 2022 ranged from about $44,000 to just over $50,000, the filing shows.
A tax filing for Moms for Liberty’s Florida-based foundation shows that the organization reported additional revenues of $220,000 in 2022. That included a $100,000 donation from a nonprofit run by Julie Fancelli, her organization’s 2022 filings show. Fancelli is a Republican donor whose family owns Publix grocery stores and who helped fund Trump’s Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally, according to the House Jan. 6 committee’s findings.
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