Founded in 2005, the Courage Campaign is a state-based 501(c)(4) progressive grassroots advocacy organization based in California. The organization claims an online grassroots activism network of over 1 million members. The group works on a variety of progressive causes including LGBT equality, gun control and healthcare reform, including support of single-payer health care. The group has taken a role in various California statewide ballot measures, including supporting Proposition 30 and opposing Proposition 32 in 2012.
The Courage Campaign's EqualityOnTrial.com was founded to cover the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial when the courtroom forbade live television coverage. The Courage Campaign is an affiliate of ProgressNow.
In 2011, the Courage Campaign organized a flash mob protest against Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Over fifty people danced to Madonna’s hit "Like a Prayer" outside of the 2011 California Republican Party convention. The protest called attention to Bachmann’s connections to reparative therapy.
When the California Supreme Court decided it would take six months to rule on the next phase of the Proposition 8 trial, Courage Campaign asked its members for testimony to back the legal challenge of Proposition 8 and other gay-rights litigation. More than 3,000 stories came in.
While he was holding a fundraiser during a visit to the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, California, the Courage Campaign protested Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the Courage Campaign worked to pressure large retailers, including Walmart, to stop selling assault rifles, joining with SumOfUs.org, MoveOn.org and MomsRising to deliver hundreds of thousands of signatures to their store in Newtown, Connecticut. The Courage Campaign also lobbied Apple to increase the recommended age from 4 to 12 for the NRA’s new shooting app.
In March 2013, Courage Campaign partnered with the DailyKos and MoveOn.org to deliver over 100,000 signatures to the Los Angeles Times opposing a sale of the newspaper, owned by the Tribune Company, to Charles and David Koch. The Courage Campaign and DailyKos members also funded a newspaper ad to appear in the pages of the Los Angeles Times. After the advertising department rejected the ad, Courage Campaign staff revised the ad to add six footnote citations of the Los Angeles Times own reporting regarding the Kochs. Following the petition delivery, the advertising department relented and the advertisement ran on April 3, 2013.
Playing on the “It Gets Better” campaign, Courage Campaign worked with the American Bridge 21st Century to critique Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential elections. This was the first project to track Romney’s record on LGBT issues from 1994 to 2012.
Rick Jacobs was the founding chair of the Courage Campaign. In 2013, Jacobs took a leave of absence from the group and was replaced by Paul Song. In November 2014, Eddie Kurtz became Executive Director.
Courage Campaign Institute is a separately incorporated 501(c)(3) charitable organization that educates, defends, and extends human rights and civil rights.
Courage Campaign Super PAC is a separately incorporated super PAC that supports and opposes candidates for federal office.