The March for Our Lives Action Fund (MFOL) was registered with the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs on February 21, 2018, in response to a February 14th mass shooting in which a deranged gunman had shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. MFOL registered as a Delaware-based organization sharing an Encino, California address …
The March for Our Lives Action Fund (MFOL) was registered with the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs on February 21, 2018, in response to a February 14th mass shooting in which a deranged gunman had shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. MFOL registered as a Delaware-based organization sharing an Encino, California address with Wishnow Ross Warsavsky & Company, a corporation specializing in tax law.
Characterizing gun violence in America as “a public health issue,” MFOL aims to fund “gun violence prevention/intervention programs” as well as gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control. It also seeks to “eliminate absurd restrictions” on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms (ATF), so as to empower that agency to more “efficiently regulat[e]” the gun industry. On its website, MFOL features a petition demanding that elected officials: (a) pass “a law to ban the sale of assault weapons,” which are “weapons of war”; (b) “prohibi[t] the sale of high-capacity magazines” of ammunition; and (c) require “a background check … on every gun sale, no exceptions.” The MFOL website also has a page where people can, in “two minutes or less,” register to vote in future political elections.
Because MFOL self-identifies as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, any donations that it receives directly are not tax-deductible for the donor; neither is the organization required to publicly disclose who its donors are. For donors who want their contributions to be tax-deductible, the MFOL website instructs them to make their checks payable to the “March For Our Lives—Everytown Support Fund,” whose name derives, in part, from “Everytown for Gun Safety,” a gun-control group that is heavily funded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City.
The president of MFOL is Deena Katz, who also serves as a co-executive director of the Women’s March Los Angeles Foundation and as a producer of Real Time With Bill Maher. She was formerly a producer of Dancing With The Stars, and the owner of the Talent Central agency in Los Angeles.
- Aileen Adams, who heads Do Good LA and previously served as UCLA’s Vice Provost for Strategic Alliances
- George Kieffer, an influential lawyer who currently chairs UCLA’s Board of Regents, and who once headed the California State Protocol Foundation, which has funded travel and other expenses for California Governor Jerry Brown
- Nina Vinik, who serves as program director for the Gun Violence Prevention Program at the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, and who also has worked with the ACLU Foundation of Florida and the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- Vernetta Walker, the vice president of BoardSource, which aims to enhance “the power of nonprofit organizations and leaders”
- Jeri Rhodes, a former Greenpeace official who currently serves as an associate executive secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobbying group seeking to “advance peace and justice”
- Melissa Scholz, a Wisconsin-based attorney specializing in nonprofit law
Media contacts for MFOL are handled by 42 West, a public-relations firm that represents numerous major celebrities.
On March 24, 2018, MFOL staged a massive “March For Life” rally in Washington, D.C. More than 800 satellite marches were held across the U.S. and abroad that same day. The groups involved in organizing, promoting, and funding the MFOL demonstrations included Giffords.org, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, MoveOn, The Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, and Indivisible. According to surveys that were conducted at the scene of the main MFOL rally in D.C., 70% of those in attendance were women, 89% were Hillary Clinton voters, and the average age of the participants was 49; just 10% were teenagers younger than 18.
Attendees at the rally in D.C. carried signs bearing slogans that were overwhelmingly anti-National Rifle Association, anti-President Trump, anti-Republican, and pro-Democrat. Some examples: “Disarm the NRA”; “Hey, Hey, NRA, How Many Kids Have You Killed Today?”; “NRA Is a Terrorist Organization”; “ I Wish Obama Had Taken Your Guns”; and “Gun Control Means Cops, Too!!” Other signs highlighted the role that young people were playing in the anti-gun movement — e.g., “The Young Are At The Gates” and “United Children Take Over Everything.” As a succession of young people took to the podium to denounce Members of Congress who opposed the passage of new legislation that would ban certain firearms and restrict gun purchases, the crowd chanted, “Vote them out!” The D.C. demonstration also featured speakers who shouted a famous quote by the Marxist revolutionary/former Black Panther/convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur, and then waited for the crowd to echo those words: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom! It is our duty to win! We must love each other and support each other! We have nothing to lose but our chains!” Moreover, some 500 volunteers made their way through the crowd to register new voters.
In February 2018, George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Jeffrey Katzenberg donated $500,000 apiece to the MFOL movement. Other high-profile celebrities who supported the cause included Dewayne Wade, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Common, Vic Mensa, Andra Day, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Amy Schumer, and Paul McCartney.
The most visible MFOL spokesperson to emerge in early 2018 was Douglas High School junior David Hogg, who received extensive media exposure. In one interview, he characterized lawmakers who accepted donations from the NRA as “pathetic f***ers that want to keep killing our children,” and who “could have blood from children splattered all over their faces and they wouldn’t take action because they all still see those dollar signs.” Asserting that it was up to young people to fight for the gun-control measures that adults had theretofore failed to enact, Hogg said: “At this point its like when your old-ass parent is like, ‘I don’t know how to send an iMessage’ and you’re like, ‘Ok give me the f***ing phone’ and you take it and you get it done in one second. Sadly, that’s what we have to do with our government because our parents don’t know how to use a f***ing democracy, so we have to do it.” When asked what specific measures he would implement if given the opportunity, Hogg replied that it was not his responsibility to think of solutions: “I shouldn’t have to! I’m 17.”
At the March 24th MFOL rally in D.C., Hogg said: “If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking. They’ve gotten used to being protective of their position, choosing the safety of inaction. Inaction is no longer safe, and to that we say no more.”
For additional information on MFOL, click here.