Erica Payne

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Erica Payne

Template:TOCnestleft Erica Payne (born 1970 in North Carolina) is a self described progressive strategist,[1] the founder of both Tesseract, a consulting practice doing venture strategy for political organizations, and the Agenda Project. Her political heroes are Bob Kerrey and Erskine Bowles. She currently resides in Chelsea, New York.[2]

Working for Senator Terry Sanford

Payne entered politics working for Terry Sanford, Democratic Senator for North Carolina.[2]

New Democratic Network

As at Jan. 6, 2005, Payne headed the New York office of New Democrat Network.[2]


At Tesseract, Ms. Payne concentrated on a very limited group of clients – often as few as one or two at a time. According to the Tesseract web site, she was typically retained for 1-3 years to work directly with the President or Executive Director as the organization’s lead strategist. Other times, Payne served as "a progressive SWAT team – parachuting in to punch up a speech or pitch, frame a conference narrative, counsel a foundation board of directors, or shape an important presentation." [3] The Tesseract client list includes:

Democracy Alliance

Payne co-founded the Democracy Alliance, a donor collaborative which has injected over $100 million to progressive organizations.[4]

Health Care for America Now!

Erica Payne is a member of the Board of Advisors of Health Care for America Now,[5] which is a Project of the Tides Foundation.[6]

Huffington Post

Payne writes for the Huffington Post.[7]

Agenda Project

Payne co-founded the Agenda Project.[8]

Practical Progress

Payne is the author of Practical Progress, an online newsletter "for progressive influencers which highlights progress in the development of an effective progressive infrastructure." The organizations covered in the newsletter are as follows:[9]

North Star Fund 35th Gala

In 2014, at Chelsea Piers, North Star Fund held its annual Community Gala. This 35th Anniversary Community Gala was a spectacular celebration of North Star Fund and the achievements of our diverse community of philanthropic and grassroots activists and organizers. The event raised $870,000, which broke every previous record.

Notable guests included Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray, Katherine Acey, Nisha Atre, Martha Baker, Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Jay Beckner, Ingrid Benedict, Bill Bragin, Peter Brest, Art Chen, Bobby Cohen, Joe Conason, Larry Condon, Anne Delaney, Maddy deLone, Deni Frand, Elizabeth Gilmore, Elspeth Gilmore, Mark Green, Gary Hattem, Pierre Hauser, Michael Hirschhorn, Sarah Kovner and Victor Kovner, Dal LaMagna, Josh Mailman, Christine Marinoni, Christina McInerney, Pam McMichael, Ruth Messinger, Cynthia Nixon, Shola Olatoye, Ana Oliveira, Erica Payne, Lisa Philp, Mark Reed, Rinku Sen, Tani Takagi, Elizabeth Wagley, Michael Waldman, Maggie Williams, Barbara Winslow, and Kyung Yoon.[10]

Other Affiliations

Payne has worked with or for:[11]


  • The Practical Progressive: How to Build a 21st Century Political Movement (2008)



  1. Tesseract: About The Founder (accessed on July 25, 2010)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Gothamist: Erica Payne, Political Strategist, Jan. 6, 2005 (accessed on Nov. 24, 2010)
  3. Tesseract: About The Founder (accessed on July 25, 2010)
  4. Agenda Project: About The Founder (accessed on Feb. 2, 2012)
  5. Agenda Project: About (accessed on May 17, 2010)
  6. Health Care for America Now: About Us (accessed Feb. 2, 2012)
  7. Huffington Post: Erica Payne (accessed on Nov. 24, 2010)
  8. Agenda Project: About (accessed on Nov. 24, 2010)
  9. Practical Progress website (accessed on Nov. 24, 2010)
  10. MY Social Diary 2014. North Star Fund
  11. Tesseract: About (accessed on Nov. 24, 2010)