ProCon.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan public charity, provides professionally-researched pro, con, and related information on more than 50 controversial issues from gun control and death penalty to illegal immigration and alternative energy. Using the fair, FREE, and unbiased resources at ProCon.org, millions of people each year learn new facts, think critically about both sides of important issues, and strengthen their minds and opinions.
Our official mission statement is: "Promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, and primarily pro-con format."
Founded on July 12, 2004, our innovative educational website has become the country’s leading source for nonpartisan information and civic education. We serve more than 25 million people each year, including students and teachers in more than 9,000 schools in all 50 states and 90 foreign countries. Journalists have referenced ProCon.org in over 2,500 articles. Additionally, 34 US state governments, 17 US state departments of education, 23 foreign governments, and 22 US federal agencies have cited ProCon.org materials. (See our Traffic, Metrics, Media, and Teachers' Corner pages for more information.)
For the 2008, 2012, and 2016 presidential elections, we created nonpartisan voter information websites that attracted millions of readers. The New York Times ("Great Free Websites for Teaching Election 2012," Sep. 5, 2012) hailed our election site as: "The most comprehensive teaching tool for researching the candidate's stance on issues." (See our Testimonials page for more information.)
We are entirely donor supported. Guidestar has given ProCon.org its highest rating, Platinum, for our commitment to transparency, and Great Nonprofits has declared ProCon.org a "Top-Rated Nonprofit" for the last 7 years in a row. (See our Donors & Sponsors page for more information.)
Board of Directors
Mike Gatto, JD Former four-time California Assemblymember
Our annual calendar reports include financial information, and details of ProCon.org's major accomplishments for the year. The 990 reports are the required filings we submit to the IRS annually. The IRS spells ProCon.org as Procon Org because it does not accept dots in business names.
ProCon.org, the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, and the Santa Monica Pier partnered to bring prominent experts from both sides of important issues, neutral moderators to facilitate the conversations, and beautiful venues to enjoy the free public debates. The Arthur N. Rupe Debate Series in LA brought VIPs from politics, academia, and the media world to prove that people can disagree without being disagreeable.
July 30, 2017
ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan moderated a high-profile panel discussion at the prestigious Politicon conference. Panelists for "ProCon.org Presents: Building Beliefs – How We Form Our Political Views” included Lesley Stahl (veteran 60 Minutes correspondent; one of America’s most honored and experienced broadcast journalists; former moderator of Face the Nation), Amie Parnes (Senior White House Correspondent for The Hill; author of New York Times #1 bestseller Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign), John Phillips (CNN political commentator; host of The Drive Home on LA’s KABC 790; Columnist for Orange County Register), and Shermichael Singleton (CNN commentator; Republican political consultant; fired as Deputy Chief of Staff at Dept. of Housing and Urban Development for criticizing President Trump).
Apr. 16, 2017
ProCon.org was declared a Top-Rated Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits for the 7th year in a row.
Apr. 3, 2017
ProCon.org joined the nonpartisan Bridge Alliance, "a growing movement of civic action organizations working individually and together to transform the political terrain," whose members include iCivics, the US Association of Former Members of Congress, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, and the National Foundation for Women Legislators.
Thanks primarily to our 2016 election website, ProCon.org received 3.9 million visitors in November--an all-time record.
Oct. 11, 2016
ProCon.org and the historic Santa Monica Pier partnered to launch PRO/CON @ The Pier – The Return of Civil Discourse - a nonpartisan discussion series with prominent policy experts and celebrity moderators designed to better inform public discourse on ballot measures and current issues before Election Day. This 4-week series attracted hundreds of attendees and thousands who viewed the debates online.
ProCon.org jointly presented an expert panel discussion on immigration and college affordability titled "Issues Facing Millennials: Listen, Talk, and #JustVote." It took place on Sep. 22, 2016 at the University of Southern California (USC), and was coordinated in conjunction with our partners: the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, Participant Media, TakePart, USC College Democrats, USC College Republicans, and USA Today College.
Aug. 16, 2016
We made a new resource for Advanced Placement teachers that ties our content to their coursework by subject. We created this resource at the request of the Talented and Gifted (TAG) magnet school in Dallas, which has been the #1 ranked high school in American for several years according to US News & World Report. The AP materials were presented in person and online to the TAG teachers and to several teachers from the #4 ranked high school in America (Science and Engineering Magnet, also in Dallas). The program was funded by an anonymous Texas donor.
July 14, 2016
On July 14, 2016, ProCon.org held its first ever VIP salon at the home of Ms. Janet Baszile in Palos Verdes Estates, CA. It was wonderful to connect with so many past, present, and future ProCon.org supporters. We thank Ms. Baszile and the many salon attendees, particularly for their inspired words about our organization's important work. We are grateful that these salon connections will lead to ongoing discussions and actions that forward ProCon.org and help spread our desperately needed public services to millions more people.
May 16, 2016
ProCon.org was declared a Top-Rated Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits for the 6th year in a row.
May 9, 2016
Guidestar awarded ProCon.org its highest level of recognition, Platinum, for our "commitment to transparency." Guidestar is the nation's largest charity evaluation organization.
Apr. 5, 2016
ProCon.org conducted a 10-week adult learning course about controversial issues using our pro and con research. The class of 18 seniors met weekly to discuss issues in a structured format. The participants loved the class and the PLATO organization expressed interest in holding the class again.
The California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (an organization for which we serve on the Steering Committee), made ProCon.org a member of the Advisory Committee to the Los Angeles County Civic Learning Partnership, along with the other partner organizations of the Youth Civic Engagement Collaborative. The Advisory Committee is one of a network of six pilot civic learning partnerships under the auspices of the Power of Democracy Steering Committee, established by California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.
Nov. 13, 2015
At the invitation of the National Council for the Social Studies, we made a presentation at their annual conference on "Using Election Issues to Teach Civic Participation." The conference was the year’s largest gathering of social studies teachers in the United States.
Oct. 13, 2015
Dr. Michelle Herczog, Past President of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and Vice-Chair of the California Instructional Quality Commission, joined the ProCon.org Board of Directors.
Sep. 20, 2015
We were invited to conduct a 1-hour professional development seminar for high school teachers at the Ronald Reagan Library’s Constitution Day. The seminar was titled "Using the 2016 Presidential Election to Teach Critical Thinking and Civic Engagement."
Source: Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, reaganfoundation.org (accessed Nov. 21, 2016)
July 29, 2015
Our presentation was accepted and we gave a lecture to scholars at the 35th International Conference on Critical Thinking in Berkeley, CA, on the topic "Using Election Issues to Teach Critical Thinking and Civic Participation."
July 27, 2015
We presented our critical thinking seminar for the 7th consecutive year at UCLA to Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) students attending the Gene Burd Symposium on Politics.
June 25, 2015
At the invitation of Mikva Challenge, we attended the "New Civics Practitioners Conference" in Chicago on June 25, 2015 and served as a panelist for two sessions called "Elections in Action – Making Elections a Dynamic Learning Experience for Youth."
Mar. 7, 2015
At the invitation of the California Council for the Social Studies, we attended their March 7, 2015 annual conference in Oakland, CA, and jointly presented, with Junior Statesmen of America, a session entitled "Don’t Hate. Debate!"
Feb. 25, 2015
ProCon.org was referenced by the US Department of Labor (DOL) in its Final Rule revising the definition of "spouse" under the Family Medical Leave Act in light of the US Supreme Court’s United States v. Windsor decision, which found section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. The Rule, published in the Federal Register (vol. 80, no. 37), stated that the DOL found it unnecessary to include the status of gay marriage laws in the 50 states on its website because reliable data was already available from ProCon.org.
According to our audited financials, in 2015 ProCon.org received $1,085,190 in total support and revenue. Of our $1,118,572 in 2015 expenses, $994,856 (88.9%) was spent on program services, $87,409 (7.8%) on management and general expenses, and $36,307 (3.2%) on fundraising expenses. ProCon.org operates with such a high percentage of its expenditures in program services for several reasons, including: we spend small amounts to yield large amounts of funds raised, our operation is remarkably efficient, we have an all volunteer Board of Directors, and we have received in-kind donations to offset expenses such as keyword advertising, rent, and accounting services.
II. Expenses: A Graphical Breakdown
[Definitions provided by the Financial Accounting Standards Board]
Program services are the activities that result in goods and services being distributed to beneficiaries, customers, or members that fulfill the purposes or mission for which the organization exists.
Management and general activities include oversight, business management, general record keeping, budgeting, financing, and related administrative activities except for the direct conduct of program services or fund-raising activities.
Fundraising activities include publicizing and conducting fund-raising campaigns; maintaining donor mailing lists; conducting special fundraising events; preparing and distributing fund-raising manuals, instructions and other materials; and conducting other activities involved with soliciting contributions from individuals, foundations, government agencies, and others.
Supporting ProCon.org helps us continue to provide well-researched pros, cons, and related nonpartisan information on today's important issues free to charge to students, teachers, elected officials, media, professionals, and the public to help promote critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship.
Mail a contribution to ProCon.org, 233 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 200, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Donate appreciated stock.
[Donating appreciated stock to ProCon.org that you have held for at least one year allows you a donation deduction for the fair market value of the stock and you do NOT have to recognize any capital gain for income tax purposes when you donate the shares.
For example, assume you own 100 shares of stock which you purchased at $5/share; and that after one year your shares are now worth $15/share. If you donated those 100 shares to procon.org, you would have a tax deduction of the current fair market value of $1,500, and you would pay no taxes on the appreciated value of the shares.
Of course, it's always wise to confirm any such transaction with your tax or other advisor.]
For information regarding appreciated stock, bequests, matching gift donations, or charitable contributions in other forms, please contact ProCon.org's Chairman Steve Markoff by email at [email protected] or by phone at 310-587-1470.