40 religious leaders throughout the United States were instrumental in FPL’s founding. The main founders, however, were Jim Wallis of Sojourners; Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Melissa Rogers, Director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University; Rev. Dr. Jim A. Forbes, Jr., founder of Healing of the Nations Foundation; Ricken Patel, co-founder and Executive Director of Avaaz.org, which is a project of Moveon.org and Res Publica; and last, but certainly not least, Sister Catherine Pinkerton, a NETWORK lobbyist who gave the closing benediction at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
FPL also is very closely connected to John Podesta‘s Center for American Progress (CAP). Two of CAP’s senior fellows, Fred Rotondaro and Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, are currently members of FPL’s board. Other well-known Liberal groups affiliated with FPL include People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO); ACORN; Children’s Defense Fund; the Interfaith Alliance; People for the American Way; the Center for American Values and Public Life; and Pax Christi USA.
A bunch of well-known leaders in the progressive movement serve as speakers and organizers for FPL. Among these are Greg Galluzzo, national director of the Gamaliel Foundation; Kim Bobo, founder of Interfaith Worker Justice; Sister Simone Campbell, national coordinator of NETWORK; and Rabbi Jonah Presner of the Industrial Areas Foundation.
FPL is an advocate for open borders and is a leader in organizing for progressive change. FPL helped to found the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM) in 2007, along with Kim Bobo and Interfaith Worker Justice. This organization provides sanctuary for illegal immigrants facing deportation and tries to create sympathy for radical immigration reform.
One of FPL’s top priorities during the 2008 election was to try to change the view of the America public that evangelicals made up a conservative voting bloc.