Established in January 2013, Ready For Hillary (RFH) is an independent political action committee registered with the Federal Election Commission. Its founding mission was to lead a nationwide grassroots movement encouraging former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016. By its ninth month as an active organization, RFH boasted “over one million supporters and over 20,000 grassroots donors.”
Ready For Hillary was co-founded by Allida Black and Adam Parkhomenko. Black, who earned a Ph.D. from George Washington University in 1993, is currently a Research Professor of History and International Affairs at GWU. She was also the founding editor of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, a project designed to “preserve, teach and apply Eleanor Roosevelt's writings and discussions of human rights and democratic politics.” Mr. Parkhomenko worked as a staffer for Mrs. Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign. “It’s not about pressuring her [to run again]” he said in 2013. “It’s giving her the time to make the decision, knowing that there’s an operation out there of grassroots supporters who are organizing.”
RFH officials emphasized that their work would not end if and when Mrs. Clinton announced her presidential candidacy. Rather, they were developing a national network that would train volunteers and organizers to help Clinton throughout her campaign.
Further, RFH planned to support not only Mrs. Clinton but also other Democratic Party candidates endorsed by the former Secretary of State. “Our strategy is to amplify what Hillary is doing and promote the candidates she is out there advocating for,” RFH spokesman Seth Bringman toldThe Washington Post in October 2013.
From RFH's earliest days, its key backers have included a number of longtime Clinton friends and aides. One of those is senior RFH advisor Craig T. Smith, who in the 1990s was a White House political director for Bill Clinton.
In October 2013, the billionaire philanthropist George Soros signed on to serve as a co-chair of RFH's national finance council, whose members are each required to contribute or raise at least $25,000 for the cause. “George Soros is delighted to join more than one million Americans in supporting Ready For Hillary,” said Soros’s political director, Michael Vachon. “His support for Ready For Hillary is an extension of his long-held belief in the power of grassroots organizing.”
Additional major donors to RFH include billionaires Alice Walton (the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton) and Marc Benioff (CEO of of the San Francisco-based Salesforce.com), each of whom gave $25,000 to the PAC.
All told, RFH in 2013 collected $4 million in donations. By December 2014, the organization had raised more than $11 million from a host of sources including hundreds of big-name Democratic donors. But RFH was in debt, owing $1 million on a loan it had taken for the purpose of expanding its grassroots operations.