Welcome to the website of the Northwest Progressive Foundation (NPF).
NPF is a recently formed nonprofit working to help Washingtonians, Oregonians, and Idahoans better understand their government — which belongs to them as Americans — and encourage them to actively participate in our democracy as voters, jurors, and activists.
We believe in an America and a Cascadia that is strong, free, and inclusive… a country and region governed by laws based on the values of empathy and mutual responsibility.
Headquartered in Redmond, Washington, the Northwest Progressive Foundation is organized under the laws of the Evergreen State as a nonprofit corporation and federally recognized as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service.
NPF was incorporated on August 22nd, 2018, the fifteen-year anniversary of its sibling, the Northwest Progressive Institute, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization engaged in research-driven advocacy.
Why NPF was formed
These are the purposes for which NPF is organized:
- Provide civics education and activism training to people who would like to become more engaged in the politics of the Pacific Northwest and the United States;
- Encourage citizens to vote and take seriously jury duty obligations when called to serve;
- Create tools that anyone can use to more effectively research current events, proposed public policy changes, and issues affecting our communities;
- Promote awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the founding documents that underpin our system of government, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the constitutions of states like Washington, Oregon, and Idaho;
- Teach reframing skills and language arts to activists, candidates, and elected officials;
- Equip the public with factual, reliable, and evidence-backed information about the usefulness and effectiveness of local, state, and federal public services;
- Organize events and facilitate opportunities to learn about inequities in our current system of laws, especially inequities in our tax codes and criminal codes;
- Support efforts to translate English-only civics texts into other commonly-spoken languages.
Our first project: Activism Matters
NPF’s first project is Activism Matters, an effort to equip people with the skills needed to be discerning citizens and successful activists.
Activism Matters consists of two related programs: (1) in-person civics classes taught by Foundation boardmembers, and (2) forthcoming online “night school” classes taught by knowledgeable instructors.
Subjects planned to be part of the Activism Matters curricula include grassroots lobbying, petitioning, cybersecurity, education advocacy, transit advocacy, and environmental justice/climate advocacy.
Who is NPF?
NPF is a strong and dynamic team of progressive leaders committed to empowering citizen activists and improving civics education in the Pacific Northwest.
Meet our board of directors:
Andrew Villeneuve, President
Andrew Villeneuve is the founder of the Northwest Progressive Foundation and its sibling, the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI), a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. His political involvement began in early 2002 when he began working to keep Sound Transit’s Link light rail system on track by organizing opposition to Tim Eyman’s destructive initiatives. An experienced security analyst, facilitator, and nonprofit leader, Andrew is passionate about keeping people safe and building an inclusive economy that everyone can participate in. In addition to his work with NPI and NPF, Andrew serves on the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, co-chairing the party’s Advocacy Committee, and has been a delegate to the Democratic National Convention for Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders.
Rich Erwin, Vice President-Secretary
Rich Erwin became a volunteer for progressive causes and candidates in Washington State in 2000. He organized in support of Howard Dean’s and Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and has served as an officer of the 41st District Democrats since 2005. He led the King County Democrats as Chair from 2015-2016. Rich has worked for Boeing for over three decades and has been a single parent for his daughter, Seneca, since she was two years old. He currently chairs the City of Mercer Island’s Design Commission, which is charged with ensuring that Mercer Island’s urban environment is thoughtfully designed and constructed.
Ralph Gorin, Treasurer
Ralph Gorin is a veteran progressive activist and programmer. A founding boardmember of both the Northwest Progressive Foundation and the Northwest Progressive Institute, Ralph has ably guided many progressive and Democratic organizations to greater heights by improving their governance and development. He chaired the 45th District Democrats for many years and later served on the Washington State Democratic Central Committee. He works at XKL as a computer scientist.
Manka Dhingra, Director
Manka Dhingra is a prosecutor and a Washington State Senator representing the 45th Legislative District (Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville, Sammamish, Duvall) in Olympia, who decided to become part of the solution after the catastrophic presidential election of 2016. Since her election to the State Senate, she has led efforts to strengthen gun safety laws, school funding, and resources for mental health. Her two bids for office have broken new ground in Northwest politics by giving teens an opportunity to serve in campaign leadership roles.
Keitha Bryson, Director
Keitha Bryson is a retired teacher who devoted thirty-six years to educating special needs and elementary school students in the Highline School District. Since retiring from teaching, she has been active in Delta Kappa Gamma, the Washington State School Retirees Association, the Badass Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers Quality of Work Life in Education Team, and the League of Women Voters in addition to the Northwest Progressive Institute and the Northwest Progressive Foundation. Keitha regularly leads classes for the Northwest Progressive Foundation, sharing her expertise with the people of the Pacific Northwest.