- Former employees of a large “dark money” nonprofit have filed lawsuits alleging they were subject to incidents of racism and discrimination in the workplace.
- The lawsuits allege that the group, the New Venture Fund, paid black women less than other employees, further saying that black employees ran the risk of being fired should they speak out against the discrimination.
- “I think it shows the hypocrisy in how the left is dealing with this campaign for DEI. It shows that progressivism ultimately eats itself. It’s just cancerous,” Capitol Research Center Senior Researcher Hayden Ludwig told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Former employees of the New Venture Fund, the largest nonprofit within the Arabella Advisors network, allege that they were subject to incidents of racism and discrimination in the workplace, according to two lawsuits first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
The lawsuits allege that the New Venture Fund paid black women less than other employees, further saying that black employees ran the risk of being fired should they speak out against the discrimination, according to the lawsuits by Francesca Weaks and Sarah Walker. Weaks and Walker, who worked at separate New Venture Fund affiliates, suggested that the group’s goal of “creating a workplace where diverse people, cultures, and perspectives are welcome,” was not upheld for black employees.
“I think it shows the hypocrisy in how the left is dealing with this campaign for DEI. It shows that progressivism ultimately eats itself. It’s just cancerous. I also have to laugh at the way that Arabella has described these nonprofits as basically apolitical, that they’re just promoting good charitable causes, when in reality, they don’t even believe their own ideology,” Capitol Research Center Senior Researcher Hayden Ludwig told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Weaks, who worked as a racial equity consultant for Local Solutions Support Center, a New Venture Fund affiliate, alleges that her diversity, equity, and inclusion colleagues were “subjected to racial harassment,” further saying that the New Venture Fund looked the other way by “brushing incidents off,” according to the lawsuit.
“It soon became obvious there was a custom of leaders speaking over Black individuals when they were speaking about race, diversity, and equity,” Weaks said in the lawsuit. Weaks claims that her contract was wrongfully terminated after she voiced concerns regarding the organization’s “unethical and racist practice.”
Weaks further alleges in her lawsuit that the New Venture Fund lied to prospective donors by telling them the group was partnered with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Weaks asked her colleagues to come clean to potential donors, but was ignored, according to the lawsuit.
“We are committed to creating a workplace where diverse people, cultures, and perspectives are welcome, and in which all are treated in an equitable and inclusive manner,” a New Venture Fund spokesperson told the DCNF. “We take HR claims seriously and conduct investigations into all allegations of wrongdoing, making sure appropriate action is taken.”
Walker, who previously worked for the New Venture subsidiary Secure Democracy, filed another lawsuit last year alleging that she was subject to discrimination. Walker claims she was fired after she brought up inequities in pay based on race.
Walker further alleged that the group was committing financial fraud, saying there were “numerous” violations of the Internal Revenue Code that jeopardized their tax exempt status, according to the lawsuit. “The Defendants’ pattern of employment discrimination and intentional tax violations indicate that NVF and SD are simply unconcerned about following the law,” the lawsuit said.
Walker also suffers from lupus and alleges that she was denied reasonable accommodations while the group granted concessions to a white executive who suffered from the same disease, according to the lawsuit.
“The progressive public image of New Venture Fund did not translate to a progressive work environment,” according to the lawsuit. “Ms. Walker faced discrimination during the entirety of her employment, and called out the workplace injustices experienced by her and others.”
The New Venture Fund, whose 2021 net assets totaled $1,118,219,688, is the biggest nonprofit in the Arabella network, bringing in over $900 million in contributions in 2021, according to Ludwig. The nonprofit functions as the “paymaster” for nonprofits connected to Arabella.
“It’s kind of the central paymaster for all of the other spokes in the wheel. This lawsuit shows how tied the popups are to this central massive nonprofit,” Ludwig said. “The New Venture Fund basically has two functions, moving money through it from lefty foundations into other political groups or using those funds to pay for its own pop ups.”
Some of the New Venture Fund’s known donors are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, according to Influence Watch.
“I think this is an ugly example of the inner workings of this network. And I really don’t think the leftist foundations that bankroll it care,” Ludwig continued.
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