Our Values

Our Mission

ReThink’s mission is to build movements through media and communications.

Strategic communications about driving a powerful narrative, not sending out a press release or penning an op-ed. Ultimately, movements succeed when we communicate our values successfully and inspire our constituencies.

Success is not possible, however, if organizations do not have the capacity, the training, and the resources to drive their messages. Building one organization’s capacity is inadequate because no single organization can win a policy victory by itself. 

Winning lasting change is a team effort. 

The easiest analogy is to a team sport. A professional team has players who specialize in their roles. They work together and when they each maximize their individual strengths in pursuit of a shared goal, they win.

Organizations are no different. 

That’s why we focus on collaborative communications.

By helping each organization pinpoint its strategic perspective and additive value, we can propel issues into public consciousness. In communications terms, we don’t want to fight over the same column inches or sound bites, we want to measurably increase the number of column inches and sound bites for the issue overall. 

Communications can be the glue that binds efforts together while competing for media attention and keeping press lists private is self-defeating. Our goal can’t be competing for a slice of the media pie. Our goal must be creating a bigger pie. And the more we engage the media, the greater the coverage.


Our Values

Movement Building

Our mission is to build strong movements for social and political change through the medium of media and communications. Here’s what that looks like:

The issues are our client.

We take an approach that looks at the whole landscape of an issue. We aren’t focused on groups alone, but on how ecosystems of organizations can work together to make change. We are deeply informed about the issues we address, develop strong relationships with the people we work with, and we are passionately committed to being trusted partners. We don’t track billable hours, but we are obsessed with making the most meaningful contribution to constructive social change that we can, and always in consultation with existing partners and stakeholders.

We aim to maximize collaboration and minimize competition.

We work to minimize competition, maximize resources, eliminate redundancies, and lift all ships from the least to most resourced in a sector. We challenge the premise that media attention is a competition and believe that the more angles and unique voices we help raise across the sector, the greater the coverage. We do not support or undertake proprietary opinion or media research because findings shouldn’t belong to a single organization—they should belong to the movement. They represent shared data that require shared strategies and responses. 

Data-driven strategy.

Whenever available, we seek strategies that are informed by solid data. These include analyses of the media environment, of the public opinion landscape, of partners’ demonstrated needs, and of what resources are proving most impactful. We strive to use data both to distinguish between what is an opinion and what is a fact and to bring groups together toward an understanding of strategic decisions and the policy landscape.

Social Justice

We are only one organization, but we believe that how we show up matters. We aim to be a leader in values-driven work and that goal informs literally all our decision making.

Our commitment to progressive social change is a primary value. From Day One, we have been committed to business practices that reflect our political values. Whenever possible, we work with union-run, politically allied, and people of color-owned or run business partners. While we are careful about spending, we avoid saving money at the expense of the people we do business with. We pursue grants and partnerships based on these values. And we have always paid our interns and fellows because unpaid labor is wrong.

Definition of Success

We have strong internal values, but the majority of our work is focused on supporting partner organizations and doing our best to help them.

Meeting the needs of the groups we work with

ReThink exists to strengthen the media work of the organizations and communities we work with. We measure our work in simple terms: we’re either adding value to their work or we’re not. We consider any idea for new work or new resources through the lens of whether it meets an identified need among our partner groups and projects. We strive to engage our partners in evaluating the services and resources we provide. We expect our staff to be responsive, committed to partners’ strategic needs, and attuned to their institutional interests. We aim to demonstrate best practices, not just describe them.

We are not looking for public-facing credit.

Testimonials, perspectives, and evaluations of ReThink’s staff from the groups and individuals we work with, and our funding partners are critical to our reputation and ability to grow the organization’s funding and resources. Nonetheless, you’ll hardly ever see our name in print. We deliberately operate behind the scenes, and we work hard to be a trusted-convener. Success looks like building greater cohesion; centering the voices of the advocates, experts, and community spokespeople that we work with; and reaching and building a broader constituency—a constituency that stands up for civil and human rights, a stronger and more representative democracy, and international cooperation and diplomacy.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice

We believe that effective organizations embrace a wide variety of lived experiences and cultural competencies.

ReThink is committed to a just and equitable society wherein all people are treated equally, opportunity is justly distributed, and all voices are heard. We affirm diversity in gender, race, color, ethnicity & national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation), class, religion, ability, life experiences, and background as both a positive contribution to our organizational environment and a critical asset for informing and enabling our work. With this in mind, we are committed to maintaining a work environment that recognizes, understands, respects, and encourages the unique contributions of each member and we approach every hiring decision with a commitment to workplace diversity.

We hold ourselves accountable to these values. Check out a complete breakdown of our policies, our commitments, and our works-in-progress.

Work Culture and Environment

We put a lot of thought into our work culture for three reasons: (1) We want every staff member to be maximally effective. (2) We want to nurture a work environment that is balanced and sustainable. And (3) we view every position as its own path toward professional development.

Working for the long term

People have political and ethical passions, and they also have lives to manage. Our goal is to create a work environment wherein passionate people who are committed to the issues we address receive competitive salaries, regular professional reviews, and wage increases based on performance. We aim for an equitable compensation structure where raises are considered in the context of organizational policy rather than personal negotiation. We are committed to personnel policies like paid parental leave, sabbaticals, and retirement planning. As appropriate, we aim to meet the special needs of staff people with family responsibilities.

Professional development and opportunity

All people should grow in their jobs, irrespective of their seniority. We work to ensure that staff have opportunities to test their limits and learn new skills—and to have their growth curve challenged. Sometimes, this will involve outside training; more commonly, it involves opportunities to take on new responsibilities within our work because, more often than not, that is where the most significant professional development will occur. External staff development opportunities are considered first and foremost in the context of what is most beneficial to advancing the needs of the overall organization and our support for our partner organizations.

Systems of equity

We are unconditionally committed to equity and mutual respect irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, faith, sexual identity, age, or family situation. That means positively affirming those values in our work and that no form of harassment will be tolerated. We believe that cliques, teasing, excluding co-workers, or speaking unprofessionally about one’s colleagues are corrosive and unacceptable behaviors.

Fiscal transparency and budgets

People should know about the fiscal health of their employer. All our budgets and financial reports, excluding individual wage information, are available to all staff and funders alike. We are committed to providing all of our senior staff with training in reading and understanding budgets and financial reports as part of their professional development.

Holistic decision-making

While we have very distinct teams, often doing separate bodies of work, most major financial decisions are approached from an overall organizational perspective. For example, new positions or resources will be evaluated on how applicable they are across all of our work and whether they will meet the identified needs of groups we work with in multiple areas. Although there are always immediate policy issues to attend to, we will always carefully consider which expenditures will make ReThink stronger over the long haul and allow us to deliver progressively better results for the groups we serve.

Autonomy and accountability

We want staff to have reasonable autonomy to make wise decisions, move our work forward, and capitalize on opportunities. At the same time, substantive decisions are almost always improved by hearing from differing views. Our unique sector-wide view allows us to identify groups’ needs, gaps in resources, and strategic opportunities that inform all of our annual planning and proposals and everyone is then accountable to executing those work plans. 

Respect for our Funding Partners

We believe in building mutually respectful partnerships with our funding partners.

Our funders place their trust in us as a vehicle for their mission and policy goals. We aim to earn that trust by spending money conscientiously, by being genuinely accountable for our results, and by being candid about our own strengths and weaknesses. 

At the same time, funders have a responsibility to learn from the organizations in the field and the structure of our model, which puts us in daily contact with dozens of organizations puts us in a unique position to identify patterns and needs. With this in mind, we aim to be forthright and honest with observations and critiques as we see and hear them.

We’d rather walk away from a grant that doesn’t align with our values or make strategic sense or one that would be better directed to another organization.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice

Our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) principles has been central from Day One. As an organization dedicated to elevating under-represented voices, we believe that incorporating a diversity of lived experiences makes for better decision-making, a more representative combination of skills and perspectives, and, hopefully, more just outcomes. This is a goal for the larger fabric of national policy making, but equally a goal for our own organization. Cultural competency is as indispensable to serving our organizational partners as savvy strategic media skills, and attracting, retaining, and appreciating a diverse and talented staff lies at the heart of our work.



We believe that institutional transparency is a critical component of creating a workplace where all the rules apply equally, and policy development is inclusive.


We have a written and public compensation philosophy articulating the “why” behind our pay structure, including the guiding principles behind how we make decisions about compensation at every staff level within the organization. This includes our framework and rationale for determining starting salaries, annual raises, our benefits package, and other forms of indirect compensation such as professional development and individual recognition. Our goal is to provide a framework for consistency, equity, fairness, and transparency.

Staff & Board Diversity

As of October 2022, our staff identify as follows:

  • Senior Management (5 staff): 40% people of color, 40% LGBTQIA+, 60% women and/or gender-nonconforming.
  • Directors and Associate Directors (4 staff): 25% people of color, 25% LGBTQIA+, 100% women and/or gender-nonconforming.
  • Fellows, Associates, Senior Associates, and Managers (11 staff): 55% people of color, 36% LGBTQIA+, 73% women and/or gender-nonconforming.

Our board identifies as follows:

  • 70% people of color
  • 50% women and/or gender-nonconforming

Economic Equity

We believe that economic equity is critical to any meaningful Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice DEIJ agenda. Accordingly, we have prioritized the following:

  • Conducting a wage and benefits review every 3 -5 years to ensure that we maintain an equitable and competitive pay structure within the nonprofit advocacy field (last completed 2022).
  • Ensuring pay parity for people in equivalent roles (last wage equity audit 2022)
  • Providing up to a 4% 403(b) retirement match with an automatic retirement match (since our incorporation)
  • Providing paid parental leave for all staff at tenure of 6 months (since our incorporation)
  • Paying all interns at minimum wage or higher (since our inception)
  • Setting transparent salary ranges and listing them in all job announcements (since 2019)
  • Ensuring written criteria for determining where individuals fall on the pay range based on their relative or equivalent experience (since 2021)
  • Ensuring comprehensive and equitable annual reviews of all staff, including back-pay to the date of their anniversary or last title change (since our inception)

Work Life

We believe that a healthy work environment is critical to sustaining people in their work.


Inclusive recruitment practices are the starting point for a diverse staff. Here are a few of our current policies.

  • Incorporating best practices and ongoing training to ensure that anyone involved in the hiring process is formally trained in incorporating inclusivity and minimizing implicit bias throughout our recruitment and hiring process.
  • Increasing the diversity of our interviewees by mandating a diverse applicant pool before setting interviews.
  • Diversifying and tracking the places that we advertise for new positions to assess their efficacy in attracting an inclusive and representative applicant pool.


Our benefits package is designed to support and retain our staff across every stage of their career and across a wide range of life circumstances. It includes:

  • Health Reimbursement and Flex Spending Plans that include coverage of a broader range of mental health, wellness, and alternative medicines (2015 on)
  • Expanded Health Benefits Coverage and Reimbursements including mental health, dental, vision, funds (expanded 2021-22)
  • ReThink pays 100% of Coverage of Health Care Premiums for all employees and dependents (since 2022)
  • “Floating” holidays for employees to use as they wish (since 2015)
  • Remote work and flex schedules (since 2015; completely remote in 2020)
  • Written professional development plans, with particular attention to equity in positioning the leadership and skills of diverse staff (since 2019)
  • Dispute Resolution and Grievance policies to ensure that any issues of concern are addressed promptly, consistently, and fairly (since 2021)
  • Paid sabbaticals after five, 10, and 15 years of full-time employment to acknowledge their contributions and allow for staff reflection, rest, and rejuvenation (since inception; expanded in 2020)
  • Work anniversary as a paid day off (since 2020)
  • Periodic training and support in developing an individual wellness and self-care plan (Completed in 2019 and 2020; pending in 2022)
  • A consistent structure for meaningfully and equitably acknowledging and celebrating key milestones such as work anniversaries, promotions, contributions, etc. (2019 on)
  • A clear roadmap and budget for professional development at every level of the organization (a priority since our inception and separately budgeted in 2023)

Program Work

Our DEIJ commitments aren’t just inward-looking: we work to center them throughout all our program work and institutional partnerships.


We believe our external work should mirror our internal values.

  • We design and provide annual media and spokesperson training tailored to advancing women and people of color at varying levels of career development within our Rights and Inclusion, Peace and Security, Voting Rights, and Inclusive Democracy issue spaces.
  • We are well into several multi-year initiatives to move this goal: including gender- and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-defined training cohorts in our Peace and Security work; Voting Rights training aimed at diverse state-level leadership cohorts; and a Spanish-speaking spokesperson training series in our Inclusive Democracy work.
  • We ensure consistent diversity in our media outreach work, promoting diverse and representative experts to the media.
  • We prioritize the inclusion of oversamples of people of color and, where appropriate, other historically underrepresented demographic groups in any polling or message-testing research that ReThink or our partners undertake.
  • We are exploring media accountability strategies to increase the diversity of sources included in reporting (proposed/pending)

Vendors and partners

  • We exercise our ability to effect change through our business partnerships.
  • We prioritize gender and racial diversity in choices for all vendors, consultants, auditors, accountants, fee-for-service contracts, temp agencies, etc. (since inception)
  • We prioritize work with union shops and we direct our business to vendors with explicit commitments to progressive business practices (since inception).
  • We use socially responsible criteria for investments and in our choice of banks and retirement funds.

Data and impact measurement

We are a data-driven organization, both sharing public reports and holding ourselves accountable as well. A few of our commitments are to:

  • Continue to track the “voice share” of underrepresented communities and spokespeople wherever possible in order to inform strategies for change.
  • Continue to track the diversity of our own staff, leadership, and board.
  • Conduct a pay equity audit every 3–5 years.
  • Track recruitment, including encouraging applicants to self-identify and indicate where they saw the job posting.
  • Conduct annual anonymous employee satisfaction surveys, including key questions related to ensuring a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture.

Institutional Accountability

We aim to be forthright about our commitments and accountable for our progress. That requires public transparency and clear goals.

The following are a few of our public commitments:

  • Conduct an independent DEIJ Assessment in the next two years.
  • Post ReThink Media’s DEIJ plan and commitments publicly on our website.
  • Conduct and make public a review of the organization's progress in meeting its DEIJ commitments.
  • Integrate DEIJ goals and expectations into every position, program area, and department of the organization.

How can we work together?

If your organization works in one of our issue areas or as an allied group, you may be eligible for access to many of the resources and training we offer.

If you are supporting progressive causes in another sector and want to find out more about advancing a similar capacity-building initiative to support the work of your grantees, we are eager to help—ask about our advisory and consulting work.

If you are a program officer at a foundation or an individual philanthropist interested in advancing or finding out more about ReThink’s work, ask us about our Partners program.

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