While Congress and state legislatures across the country remain paralyzed by partisan disagreement, ballot initiatives hold the promise of improving the lives of millions of Americans. The Fairness Project is bolstering state-based ballot initiative campaigns and driving a national narrative to elevate issues of economic fairness. By harnessing the power of successful ballot initiative campaigns, The Fairness Project is empowering voters to take direct action to change their own lives.
In 2016, The Fairness Project will focus on ballot-initiative campaigns that seek to raise the minimum wage, working with partner organizations across the country to enact legislation through the ballot box to improve pay for millions of working people. Building this strong national platform will support our 2016 goal to win minimum wage campaigns in multiple states and localities and establish a base of support on other economic issues for years to come.
The Fairness Project is well positioned for success because these issues are popular across all demographics. We will enable ballot-initiative campaigns to utilize data-driven campaign technology and create a national infrastructure that lives from one campaign cycle to the next. The Fairness Project is currently partnering with minimum wage Campaigns in California, Maine, and Washington, DC and will continue to add state partners moving forward.
A $15/hr minimum wage was passed into law on April 4, 2016 in California, just a week after an initiative put forth by our partner, Lift Up California, qualified for the ballot. Our partnership with Lift Up California led to The Fairness Project’s first victory, proving that well organized, widely supported ballot initiatives can serve as a catalyst for legislative action.
The Fairness Project’s collaboration with Lift Up California stretched far beyond early investment, including ongoing support through website development and design; social media assistance; national amplification; and coordination with ballot initiatives to raise the wage in other states.
Spurred by over a year of organizing by our partners at DC for $15 and the support of nearly 90% of D.C. voters, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation on June 27, 2016 to raise Washington D.C.’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The Fairness Project provided early funding and ongoing strategic support to DC for $15’s ballot initiative campaign. Mayor Bowser credited the campaign for “propelling” her and the D.C. Council forward.
Jonathan Schleifer, Executive Director
Jonathan Schleifer brings nearly two decades of experience to his role as Executive Director of The Fairness Project. Prior to joining The Fairness Project, Jonathan saw firsthand the impact of economic inequality on working Americans – specifically the veterans, teachers and low-income families that he served as an advocate and teacher.
Jonathan has served America’s newest veterans twice as the Chief Policy Officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), where he led IAVA’s legislative, research and political departments. Before his time with IAVA, Jonathan served as Executive Director of Educators 4 Excellence-New York, after having taught middle school in the South Bronx with Teach for America. His experience also includes time on the campaign trail and on Capitol Hill. A lifelong activist, educator, and advocate he is dedicated to enacting policy that is good for our families and our country.
Jonathan resides in Washington D.C. with his wife, son, and rescued mutt. He has graduate degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Linda SerratoYbarra, Communications Director
Linda SerratoYbarra is the Communications Director of The Fairness Project. With nonprofit, governmental, campaign and start-up experience, Linda has led communications operations and conveyed the story of diverse organizations and leaders across the nation.
Most recently, Linda worked with Los Angeles city leaders to increase the minimum wage citywide and coordinated media contacts and press events. She also has experience working directly with voters across the nation as a campaigner for Secretary Clinton’s and, later, President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. She proudly works towards equality in our nation from economic to educational issues.
Linda lives with her husband, Matt Ybarra and their dog Hemingway in Los Angeles, CA. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University.
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