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RFS Ascend


Run for Something helps recruit and support young, diverse progressives to run for down-ballot races in order to build a bench for the future; the candidates we support now could become members of the House, Senate, and maybe even president one day. We aim to lower the barriers to entry for these candidates by helping them with organization building, amplification, and access to the training needed to be successful.

During our first three years, Run for Something provided many resources to candidates we support. Now in 2020, we are merging with Ascend PAC — an organization that has similarly focused on building the bench of Democratic candidates exclusively by providing direct financial support. With this merger, we’re launching a pilot program to provide high-impact investments to our top endorsed candidates in Texas and Pennsylvania.


Run for Something plans to endorse at least 500 candidates in 2020. For the RFS Ascend program’s first year as a pilot we’re aiming to select 20-30 of them to receive this direct funding.

We’re only contributing to state legislative candidates in Texas and Pennsylvania (for now). A key element of our approach is long-term thinking: we start small, grow steadily, and continue to expand our impact year in and year out. Given this is the first year of the combined program, we will start by supporting candidates running for state legislature in Texas and Pennsylvania. This enables us to focus our attention and resources on two critical states and one level of races.

High leverage races are our priority. We will invest where we can have the biggest impact. Candidates with budgets lower than $250,000 will be prioritized over those with higher budget goals, so our contribution will be more significant. We’ll also work with candidates in flippable races that are getting less attention.

We take diversity, equity, and inclusion very seriously. Diversity, inclusivity, and creating a representative democracy are extremely important both to us and for a functioning democracy. For this program, we aim to invest in a group of endorsees who are at least 60% women or non-binary candidates, at least 60% candidates of color, and at least 25% candidates who identify as LGBTQIA+.


We’ll contribute to 20-30 candidates across Texas and Pennsylvania, and to invest a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $10,000 total. Once primaries have concluded in Texas and Pennsylvania, RFS will review all state legislative candidates that RFS has endorsed thus far, and propose ~10-20 from each state to be considered for funding through the RFS Ascend program. Each selected candidate will be asked to submit specific funding requests in advance of video interviews with their state’s investor selection committee. Every contribution will be tied to verifiable progress on the ground for endorsed candidates — our clear focus is on funding direct voter contact to maximize our impact.


Signing up

Click here to learn more about the program, like how to join the investor community, which gives members an opportunity to recommend candidates, serve on state-based Selection & Investment Committees, and more.

Still have questions about becoming an investor, or ready to sign up? Email us at