America First Works (AFW), the right-wing advocacy arm of the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), was first established following former President Trump’s 2016 election and rebranded as America First Works after his failed bid for a second term. AFW supports far-right policies and policy initiatives such as voter suppression, school privatization, anti-LGBTQ activism, and ongoing anti-abortion efforts at the state level. AFW has funneled millions of dollars to the ultra-conservative, dark money handlers DonorsTrust and Heritage Action for America.
Ashley Hayek, AFW’s executive director, is also chief engagement officer at AFPI and worked as a national coalitions director on Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Like AFPI, AFW rails against BlackRock and other investment banks and asset managers who incorporate ESG policies, calling them “energy discriminators.” In December 2022, the organization endorsed the Eliminate Political Boycotts Act, a proposed piece of model legislation introduced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that would authorize state governments to blacklist corporations promoting either ESG or diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives—or both.
AFW is also part of a rightwing coalition promoting the Heritage Foundation’s State Pension Fiduciary Duty Act, model legislation that seeks to ban the consideration of ESG factors in the management of public pensions.
- Executive Director Ashley Hayek
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $2,500,000 (2017)
- CLA, Inc.: $1,000,0000 (2018)
- American Financial Services Association: $125,000 (2017)
- QXZ, Inc.: $100,000 (2018)
Note: AFW is not required by law to disclose its donors. The Center for Media and Democracy identified its top funders through an examination of IRS filings.
- Total revenue: $140,905
- Total expenses: $5,650
- Net assets: $135,255
Source: 2021 IRS 990 filing
For more information, visit the AFW page on SourceWatch.