Renee Irvin is the University of Oregon Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and professor in the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management. She is an expert in nonprofit management and the economics of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Her research examines fundraising, philanthropy and foundation grant making, regulation of nonprofit organizations, and US policies affecting asset-building and wealth distribution.
Resident Scholar project: "Identifying Dark Money Organizations Funding Political Activity in the United States"
How do individuals, interest groups, and corporations use nonprofit organizations to fund political campaigns anonymously? Both left- and right-leaning organizations are active players in this destructive practice. Some nonprofit advocacy organizations are entirely legitimate and highly engaged with the public. Others appear to exist primarily to pass through “dark money.” They have tiny boards, often no website, and few or no employees. Although they spend little to no money on fundraising, they easily raise tens of millions of dollars. These funds go primarily to political action committees and direct media purchases. To inform the public about which organizations appear to be functioning as anonymous pass-throughs for campaign funding, Irvin will update a dark money index, initially constructed using 2016 data, with 2020 election year data. This should also show the growth of dark money operations over time.