270 Strategies (270S) is a consulting firm that was launched in 2013 by supporters of President Barack Obama. Their objective was to help left-wing “campaigns, companies, and causes” use “grassroots organizing” methods to “transform communities” and “keep doing big things to change the world” even after January of 2017, when Obama’s presidency was due to end. From 2013-15, the firm served more than 160 clients across a variety of sectors. In the political sphere, for instance, 270S’s clients included such groups as Battleground Texas, iVote, and Ready for Hillary. The organization also provided key services for Cory Booker’s 2013 run for the U.S. Senate (in New Jersey), Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign in Virginia, Rahm Emanuel‘s 2015 mayoral re-election bid in Chicago, and Ro Khanna’s (unsuccessful) 2014 run for a congressional seat representing the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.
In areas not related directly to electoral politics, 270S has supported clients like the Service Employees International Union, Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Defense Fund, Everytown for Gun Safety, the College Board, and AARP to promote their respective agendas vis-a-vis a wide range of issues—including immigration reform, health care access, “women’s equality,” a higher minimum wage, education standards, and efforts to avert the purported dangers associated with “climate change.”
In addition, 270S has worked with numerous corporations whose “missions … align with our values.” Among these clients are multi-billion-dollar technology firms, startup companies, major health insurers, nutrition and fitness advocates, professional sports teams, and “newsmakers in the sharing economy.”
In servicing its clients, 270S specializes in the recruitment of volunteers to help ensure that “organizations of every size have a bigger impact.” Additional services include:
- a digital strategy that integrates email, social media, design, analytics, and advertising;
- the use of data to help clients “be more effective with their resources and time—calculating quantitative goals, establishing accountability systems, and incorporating focus groups, polling, and modeling”;
- helping campaigns, companies, and causes “tell their story, whether they’re looking to launch a new effort or respond to a crisis”;
- crafting effective earned and paid media plans;
- equipping clients for rapid response and media appearances; and
- helping clients to develop customized training programs that “foster leadership, take their organizing programs to scale, and build capacity within their organizations.”
In September 2014, 270S launched a recurring six-week program that begins with five days of “intensive” campaign training at the organization’s Chicago headquarters (at a cost of $3,500 to each trainee), followed by an optional five weeks of volunteer work with an “an important Democratic campaign in the United States” (an opportunity that costs each trainee an additional $1,500).
270S was established by a team of six founding partners with deep ties to Democratic Party leaders and agendas. These founders were:
- Jeremy Bird, who had previously worked for the presidential campaigns of Howard Dean (2003), John Kerry (2004), and Barack Obama (2008 and 2012);
- Meg Ansara, who had worked on the 2002 campaign of Senator Paul Wellstone (Minnesota) and the 2002 gubernatorial campaign of Robert Reich (Massachusetts); partnered with Jeremy Bird as a national trainer for staff at the Democratic National Committee in 2004; and served as the 2012 Obama For America campaign’s national regional director;
- Mark Beatty, who had helped develop Organizing For America’s initial program, served on Barack Obama’s 2008 Post-Election Task Force, and served as the deputy battleground-states director for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign;
- Betsy Hoover, who had been the director of digital organizing for the 2012 Obama For America campaign, where she was responsible for “bridging the gap between online and offline organizing”;
- Mitch Stewart, a longtime political activist who had formerly worked for the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party, the Environmental Defense Fund, the presidential campaign of then-Senator John Edwards, the re-election campaign of Senator Tom Daschle, and the 2012 Obama For America campaign (where he was the the battleground-states director); and
- Lynda Tran, a Battleground Texas advisory board member who previously had been appointed by President Obama to serve as director of communications for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation.