International Action Center & ANSWER: An ADL Backgrounder
Posted: January 5, 2009
ANSWER and IAC are not tax-exempt organizations but receive much of their funding through a fiscal sponsor, the Progress Unity Fund (PUF). PUF is a San Francisco-based 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2000 with the mission of providing a "progressive alternative to mainstream charities."
Since its inception, PUF has allocated a majority of its resources to ANSWER and IAC. Its program description on the charity navigation site GuideStar reads, "Progress Unity Fund is proud to sponsor many of the activities of the International Action Center and International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition."
In 2008, PUF issued grants totaling almost $140,000 and distributed more than $80,000 to various ANSWER regional chapters. In 2007, PUF allocated approximately $270,000 in grants, of which ANSWER chapters received close to $230,000. PUF also claims to have "helped found" ANSWER in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks to "promote a peaceful alternative to racism and war."
At least one of PUF's four principal employees, Muna Coobtee, is affiliated with ANSWER and is a member of its Los Angeles chapter's steering committee. Coobtee is also affiliated with the Free Palestine Alliance (FPA), the Palestinian constituency within the ANSWER coalition.
In turn, PUF is at least loosely affiliated with the Workers World Party, a Marxist-Leninist organization. PUF's director, Keith Pavlik, whose San Francisco home is the listed address for PUF's offices, was a journalist for the Workers World newspaper, as were two of the three other employees listed on PUF's tax filings, Coobtee and Brenda Sandburg.
ANSWER and IAC used to rely on another little-known non-profit organization called the People's Rights Fund (PRF) as thier fiscal sponsor. PRF, which shared an address and a phone number with IAC's New York office, has since disbanded.