The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Citizenship Education Fund, PUSH for Excellence, People United to Serve Humanity, the Keep Hope Alive PAC and the Jackson Foundation are currently active nonprofits. Jacksonís family also has two for-profit companies related to Jacksonís nonprofit activities.
Other nonprofits tied to Jackson but no longer active include Operation PUSH, the Rainbow Coalition, the PUSH Foundation, PUSH Charities and the PUSH International Trade Bureau.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, an Illinois nonprofit that is not tax-exempt, was formed from the 1997 merger of the National Rainbow Coalition and Operation PUSH. The organizationís founding charter promised to maintain the Rainbow Coalitionís emphasis on bringing together various "progressive" organizations. It also preserved Operation PUSHís focus on racial and cultural harmony, educating voters and assisting minority enterprise.
In a February letter mailed to Rainbow PUSH donors, chief financial officer Billy Owens said the groupís programs include "constituent services" for discrimination complaints, Kid Care helping families secure health insurance for their children, an HIV/AIDS advocacy program, 1,000 Churches Connected which promotes "economic literacy" and a ministry program for prisoners. But Rainbow PUSH is best known for protests reflecting Jacksonís efforts to root out racism wherever he perceives it to be. In recent years, its focus has been on big corporations.
Jackson is president of Rainbow PUSH, and the board is co-chaired by Rev. Willie Barrow and Dennis Rivera, who also runs the Keep Hope Alive PAC and is a New York labor leader. Other notable board members and long-time leaders in the PUSH organizations include Lucille Loman, who helped write the first PUSH Ministersí Division Manual; Rev. Otis Moss, labeled the "silver tongue orator" by Martin Luther King, Jr.; Rev. Addie Wyatt, a Chicago labor leader; and Rev. Claude Wyatt, co-pastor of the Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago. Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization for Women and a close ally of Jackson, also sits on the board.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalitionís revenues were almost $5 million in 1999 and almost $5.3 million last year. Corporate donors accounted for about 45 percent of last yearís income, and other private donors accounted for another 28 percent, according to Owens.
Rainbow PUSH is headquartered at 930 East 50th Street in Chicago, but People United to Serve Humanity owns the building. Rainbow PUSH also has nine "bureaus," each with an assigned emphasis, on Chicagoís LaSalle Street (advertising, commodities, financial services) and in Atlanta (home building), Cleveland (insurance), Detroit (automotive), Houston (energy), Los Angeles (entertainment), New York (financial services), Silicon Valley (technology) and Washington, D.C. (public policy). Several of these bureaus were established or expanded in recent years, accounting for the dramatic increase in the organizationís occupancy expenses from about $77,000 in 1997 to more than $325,000 the following year.
The Citizenship Education Fund (CEF) is the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt arm of Jesse Jacksonís political advocacy network. It was incorporated in Ohio by attorney John Bustamante in 1983. (President Clinton pardoned him for unrelated criminal offenses in January.) But CEF is headquartered at the Rainbow PUSH offices in Chicago and operates out of several Rainbow PUSH satellite offices.
Jesse Jackson does not serve on CEFís board, but the president is his son Jonathan. Jacksonís wife Jacqueline and another son Yusef also serve on the board. Of its nine board members, four are also on the Rainbow PUSH board: Jacqueline Jackson, Jerry Bell, Lucille Dobbins and Valerie Johnson, CEFís executive director. Johnson and Jonathan Jackson also serve on the PUSH Excel board.
CEF is the home of some of Jacksonís most successful and controversial activities: the Wall Street Project and its spinoffs, including the LaSalle Street Project in Chicago, the Ninth Street Project in Cleveland, the Silicon Valley Project and Wall Street West in Los Angeles. Each of these projects has the goal of increasing minority recruitment, hiring and advancement in major corporations. They also try to direct corporate contracts and investment to minority-owned companies. The Wall Street Project includes Rainbow Sports, which seeks greater minority hiring in professional sports.
According to its website, CEFís "primary programmatic thrust" involves issues related to youth development. The site lists projects to mentor young minorities, reform public school financing, teach teenagers about investing, educate and register voters and research public policy issues. But in recent years, CEFís focus has been its work with corporations.
CEFís income was more than $9.9 million in 1999 and almost $10.1 million last year, including more than $9.75 million from corporate grants and sponsors. Last yearís annual conference raised $1.3 million, and CEF received $2.5 million in grants from telecommunications companies. But CEFís satellite offices, where its corporate projects are based, were the source of most of its income: $2.4 million collected by the New York bureau and $1 million each raised by the LaSalle Street, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley bureaus.
PUSH for Excellence, often called PUSH Excel, urges family, school and community involvement in public education. It offers scholarships ó they totaled $123,000 last year ó and drug prevention education to students.
A grant from the Los Angeles public school district gave the group its start in 1977. That year, attorney John Bustamante incorporated PUSH Excel in Ohio, and the IRS later recognized it as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Its headquarters are located in Chicago at the Rainbow PUSH offices.
Jacksonís son Jonathan is president of PUSH Excel, and Valerie Johnson is its executive director. Both have the same positions with CEF. They serve on a 10-member board of directors with Jesse Jackson and two other members of the Rainbow PUSH board: Lucille Loman and Rev. Henry Williamson.
Among Jacksonís nonprofits, PUSH Excel is least oriented to public policy and voter issues. Perhaps thatís why the group appears to benefit least from Jacksonís fundraising prowess.
In 1999, PUSH Excel reported income of more than $145,000 and another $8,000 due from Rainbow PUSH for an undisclosed purpose. PUSH Excel has struggled with a small budget since the mid-1990s, when it suffered a steep decline in contributions and other income from almost $380,000 in 1993 to $114,000 in 1995. Despite PUSH Excelís tax-exempt status, Organization Trends could identify only two recent foundation grants to the group: $30,000 in 1997 from the Daimler-Chrysler Corporation Fund in Michigan and $25,000 in 1998 from the Al J. Schneider Foundation in Kentucky.
People United to Serve Humanity is Jesse Jacksonís "church" in Chicago. Worshippers meet weekly at the Rainbow PUSH headquarters building to study the Bible and discuss current events.
Little is known about People Unitedís activities because as a religious organization it is not required to file reports or pay taxes to Illinois or the federal government. Sometime since its founding in the 1970s, the group changed its name from People United to Save Humanity to the current variation.
The groupís income was more than $1.5 million last year and about $1.15 million in 1999, according to Owens. He said those amounts include income from weekly collections and "building fund" donations, a reference to the churchís ownership of the Rainbow PUSH headquarters in Chicago.
The Keep Hope Alive Political Action Committee (PAC) gets its name from a slogan used by Jackson during his presidential campaigns. It is managed by Rainbow PUSH co-chairman Dennis Rivera, who is president of the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 in New York, and Katharine Boyce, an attorney at Patton Boggs L.L.P. in Washington, D.C.
During the 1999-2000 campaign cycle, Keep Hope Alive PAC made contributions to only two federal campaigns. Both were reelection campaigns for Democratic Congressmen from Illinois: Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. received $10,000 and Rep. Bobby Lee Rush received an in-kind contribution of $4,149. The PAC also made contributions to non-federal candidates totaling $138,290.
According to statements filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the PAC took in more than $291,000 during the 1999-2000 cycle. This included four $5,000 contributions from PACs tied to powerful labor unions: the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). But according to a SEIU filing with the FEC, the union contributed $12,450 to Keep Hope Alive PAC in March 2000, an amount much larger than the $5,000 gift in January 2000 reported by Keep Hope Alive.
Keep Hope Aliveís donors have included Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton; Berry Gordy, founder and owner of Motown Records; Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television and BET Holdings; and James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute.
In 1989, Jesse Jacksonís family established the Jackson Foundation in Chicago, headquartered in the same South Constance Avenue office as the familyís for-profit companies. The board of the tax-exempt private foundation is chaired by Jesseís wife, Jacqueline, and includes their children Jacqueline, Jonathan, Santita and Yusef. Neither Jesse Jackson nor his son Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. serves on the board.
The foundation had assets of $297,060 in June 1998, according to the most recent tax form available. That included contributions of $1,500 from Jacqueline Jackson (the report does not specify wife or daughter) and $999 from an anonymous source.
The only 1998 grant was $5,000 to a scholarship fund at Hampton University, an historically black university in Virginia. This lack of grant activity put the foundation in danger of violating minimum payout rules established by the IRS, unless the foundation made grants of at least $8,600 by June 1999 in addition to its required payout for that year. It could not be determined whether the grants were made.
Jacksonís family has been tied to at least three for-profit companies that collect his speaking fees and organize his media efforts. Because tax and other reports filed by for-profit companies are generally not open to public inspection, and because little media attention has been given to the Jacksonsí for-profit activities, not much is known about these companies. All three companies have been headquartered at the same office on South Constance Street in Chicago.
Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Productions was incorporated in Delaware in 1989. Its founding president was Jesse Jackson, but Illinois records identify his wife, Jacqueline, as the current president and their son Jonathan as the companyís secretary. The companyís purpose is described as "the creation, development, production and distribution of television, audio video and printed product."
Jacqueline Inc., also called Jacqueline Services, was also incorporated in Delaware in 1989. The companyís president is Jonathan Jackson, and Rainbow PUSH board member Allene Walker is the companyís secretary. Jacqueline, Inc. collects Jesse Jacksonís public speaking fees ó $150,000 last year, according to the Washington Times.
A third company, now defunct, was led by Jesse Jacksoní wife, Jacqueline. Personalities International, which operated from 1986 to 1992, was billed as a speakerís bureau. Disclosure forms for Jacksonís 1988 presidential campaign said he earned $192,090 in 1987 from the company.
Operation PUSH was founded in 1971 but did not incorporate in Illinois until 1977. Although it was registered as a nonprofit organization, Operation PUSH never sought tax-exempt status from the IRS. Five of the original 15 board members of Operation PUSH continue on the board of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, including Jesse Jackson, Dolores Elliott, Rev. William Howell, Rev. Otis Moss and Allene Walker.
The mission of Operation PUSH was broad, according to its founding documents. It wanted to develop "better understanding" among cultural and racial groups, refer needy individuals to social service agencies, assist minority-owned businesses with loans and counseling, provide grants for projects to improve inter-cultural relations, promote voter education and registration and advance the principles of nonviolent direct action espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Organization Trends examined Operations PUSHís filings with the Illinois attorney general from 1991 to 1996. During that period, annual revenues increased from almost $695,000 to nearly $870,000. But Operation PUSH consistently spent less than half its outlay on programs. In 1996, it spent almost two-thirds of its budget ($556,149) on fundraising and expenses related to its employees, volunteers and consultants.
Before it merged with the Rainbow Coalition, Operation PUSH had several state and local chapters that were separately incorporated and were not reflected in the national organizationís financial reports. Some of these chapters still exist, at least on paper, but we could not locate the groups to confirm that they are still active. They include Operation PUSH of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Operation PUSH of Minnesota and the Jersey City chapter of Operation PUSH.
We did, however, manage to locate one Operation PUSH chapter that has continued to operate. The chapter is located in Memphis, but the Tennessee secretary of state has no record of the group. Erica Thompson of Monumental Baptist Church, where the chapter is headquartered, said the chapter is "not as active as it used to be." It no longer holds meetings, but its leader Rev. Samuel Kyles is still pastor of Monumental and sits on the national board of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Kyles is a prominent civil rights activist who was in Memphis with Martin Luther King on the day of his assassination.
"From my understanding," Thompson said, the independent chapters of Operation PUSH have largely dried up.
The National Rainbow Coalition, also a precursor to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, was established after Jacksonís failed 1984 presidential bid. It aimed to keep his base of supporters intact.
The Rainbow Coalition was incorporated in Delaware in 1984, and its incorporation was renewed by Jesse Jackson in 1990 after the state revoked its charter for failure to pay taxes. Like Operation PUSH, the Rainbow Coalition was organized as a nonprofit but never requested tax-exemption from the IRS. It operated out of Washington, D.C. in the Wisconsin Avenue offices now occupied by the D.C. satellite of Rainbow PUSH.
The National Rainbow Coalitionís state and local chapters were separately incorporated. Several still exist according to state records, including chapters in Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. But we were unable to obtain their financial records or contact them to confirm their status.
The PUSH Foundation was a little-known fundraising arm of several PUSH organizations until controversy erupted in 1984 during Jesse Jacksonís presidential campaign. Jackson was criticized for accepting two $100,000 donations in 1981 to the PUSH Foundation and PUSH for Excellence from the Arab League, a confederation of 21 Arab nations. According to the Ohio attorney general, the PUSH Foundation closed its doors sometime in the mid-1980s following the controversy.
The foundation was incorporated by attorney John Bustamante as an Ohio charitable trust in 1972, but its headquarters were in Chicago. The trust agreement filed in Ohio gave "PUSH, Inc." ó presumably People United to Save Humanity ó authority to designate the foundationís trustees should its board become vacant because of death or resignation. The foundation was recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.
The founding trustees were Marcus Alexis, James Buckner and George Johnson, a beauty-products manufacturer. Jackson had no legal connection to the foundation but encouraged its establishment to fund his efforts, Bustamante has told reporters.
The foundationís average annual income in the 1970s was about $500,000 but dwindled to less than $79,000 in 1982, according to the New York Times. We were able to get a copy of only the foundationís 1978 IRS return from the Ohio attorney general, which had no other reports on file. The return showed income of nearly $650,000 and assets valued at $114,136.
The PUSH Foundationís 1978 grants totaled $506,596, including several small grants to Chicago schools and minority groups. But almost 98 percent of the grant funds went to three PUSH affiliates: Operation PUSH, the Operation PUSH Excel Fund and the Operation PUSH Economic Development Fund.
The Ford Foundation made a $903,099 loan to the PUSH Foundation to help get the PUSH groups started, then made grants totaling more than $1 million, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. A consortium of minority-owned banks including First Bank N.A., which was then chaired by Bustamante, made loans to the foundation totaling about $300,000, the Plain Dealer reported.
Another nonprofit, PUSH Charities, appears to be defunct. It is unknown whether the organization ever accomplished anything of note, or whether Jackson received a salary from the organization. But the groupís address was registered at the Chicago offices of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
John Bustamante, the Cleveland lawyer who helped establish the Citizenship Education Fund, registered PUSH Charities in Ohio three times in 1986, 1991 and 1992. Each time the state revoked the groupís incorporation after a few years because of failure to file annual reports. The latest cancellation was in 1997.
Bustamante did not respond to a phone message left at his home.
According to the groupís articles of incorporation filed in 1992, its purpose was "to provide a variety of social services to constituents including developing and executing charitable programs for individuals, families and groups; to undertake charity in all of its scriptural and practical dimensions, including, but not limited to providing food, clothing, housing, home care, in the context of referrals; and to assist in education of all peoples."
The PUSH Charities board included Rev. Willie Barrow, current co-chairman of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and Rainbow PUSH board members Lucille Loman and Rev. Henry Wlliamson.
The International Affairs Department of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition is the successor to the PUSH International Trade Bureau. This nonprofit was incorporated in 1982 in Illinois and encouraged U.S. companies to invest in Africa. The Bureau was closed down in 1992, according to the Illinois state department.