About the Organizations Section
To complement the START Study Guide and START Reading List, we have prepared this collection of approximately 500 organizations in the United States working for progressive change on a national level. Generally, these organizations have paid staff and provide expertise and leadership in their focus area.
This collection was assembled Fall 2006–Winter 2007 by Randy Schutt. It was last updated in July 2021.
Please let us know if you see an organization that you believe does not belong here or one you think is missing, or if an organization is located in the wrong category. You can contact us by writing to the address on the contact page.
Specific Criteria for Inclusion
To be included, organizations must:
- Work for peace, international freedom, democracy, civil rights, equality, social justice, economic justice, freedom of expression, and/or environmental preservation and sustainability
- Adhere to traditional progressive values of honesty, toleration, civility, cooperation, democracy, justice, freedom, responsibility, altruism, bold action, and peaceful conflict resolution
- Work for critical policy or social change — not just provide social services
- Be based in the United States and work primarily at the national level in the U.S. or internationally — not regional or local groups [for local organizations, see the directory of over 7,000 groups prepared by LocalAction]
- Have institutional substance: offices, boards of directors, and staff (usually paid staff) — not just a website
- Provide expertise and leadership in the issue areas where they focus
There are, of course, thousands more groups doing essential and brilliant progressive work at the national level, across the United States, and throughout the world, but we could not include them all in this list.
Note that the current listings do not include progressive media producers or outlets (TV, radio, magazines, etc.), progressive blogs and information websites, progressive intentional communities, nor progressive commercial enterprises. Perhaps in the future we will include these important aspects of the progressive infrastructure.
It is difficult to place organizations in a single category since most organizations focus on many issues, comprise or address a variety of constituents, and use a variety of methods. If groups are not where expected, look for them in another category having to do with their constituents or methods or search by name using the box on the table of contents page.
The U.S. Social Sector
To learn more about the whole social sector in the United States (foundations, non-profits, tax-exempt non-profits, advocacy groups, labor unions, social welfare groups, religious organizations, educational organizations, fraternal societies, social clubs, etc.) check out the Candid dashboard. Candid is the new name for the combined efforts of the former Foundation Center and GuideStar.