by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Student Experience Research Network sounds innocuous enough. The organization says it exists to “advance the research, relationships, and capacity necessary to build an education system in which every student experiences respect as a valued person and thinker.”
In reality, the group funds research with the goal of promoting DEI practices in education and partners with other left-wing organizations to promote “inclusive mathematics environments” ” and push universities to abandon standardized tests. Earlier this month, the Student Experience Research Network took a victory lap after the University of California system said it would toss out the SAT in its admissions process.
The Student Experience Research Network and hundreds of other left-wing activist groups like it are controlled from the top down by Arabella Advisors, a for-profit consultancy that plays an integral role in Democratic causes, fueled by donations from billionaires including George Soros and Pierre Omidyar. The company, which distributes billions to Democratic pet projects, has established five tax-exempt nonprofit groups that pay Arabella a hefty fee—ostensibly for back-office work—and in turn operate a vast array of left-wing advocacy groups including the Student Experience Research Network.
In fact, the Student Experience Research Network’s ostensible employees don’t even work there. They are employees of an Arabella offshoot, the New Venture Fund. The average citizen would have no idea who’s pulling the strings.
This is the first of two reports based on internal Arabella documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. They provide a rare window into the inner workings of the Left’s dark-money network, revealing just how centrally controlled a vast swath of activist organizations are by a central clearinghouse based in the nation’s capital—as well as the lengths to which Arabella’s leaders go to disguise that control and create the illusion of grassroots political activism.
This is hardly the sort of relationship that Arabella and two of its offshoots, New Venture Fund and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, described to the IRS when seeking tax-exempt status.