Past Grantees Consumer Products Fund

2019 Grantees

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Safe, Secure & Smart: A Parent’s Guide to Preschool Tech
Region: National
This grant will create a series of educational resources designed to help parents of preschoolers sort through the huge volume of media and technology targeted at young children. Safe, Secure & Smart: A Parent’s Guide to Preschool Tech, will be a three-part, interactive resource guide grounded in child development and designed to help parents see beyond marketing claims that a particular product is “educational” or “protects kids’ privacy.” The guide will provide the first independent, developmentally-focused framework for parents to evaluate the claims of media and tech “designed for” preschoolers. Each part will include a written guide, a livestreamed conversation with a topic-area expert, and videos and graphics to illustrate core concepts. The guide will focus on three of the most popular tech products and platforms for young children: YouTube and YouTube Kids, voice-activated assistants, and preschool apps. Though each part of the guide will focus on a particular product, the guide as a whole will provide parents and professionals with a framework to make informed choices about how to use tech with their children. The guide will be free, available online, and created in partnership with experts in child development, media, and privacy.

Consumer Federation of America
Marketing Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Are Consumers Getting What They Think They Are?
Region: National
Television and online marketing have helped propel a surge in public interest in direct-to-consumer genetic testing. The ads tout the ability to determine one’s racial and ethnic makeup, find unknown relatives, and even identify health traits through a simple mouth swab. But as an increasing number of consumers are purchasing these kits, are they being adequately informed about the accuracy of the tests and the fact that the results can vary widely from one company to another? Do the companies clearly disclose how they may use consumers’ data, including for marketing purposes? How do the companies’ claims in their marketing compare to what we know about how their products work and with their terms of service and privacy policies? This project will research these issues and use its findings to provide advice for consumers about choosing and using these products and recommendations for companies and policymakers about any improvements in pre-purchase disclosures that may be needed.

Consumer Watchdog
Connected Car Safety Project
Region: National
Top 2020 car models sold in the United States will have Internet connections to safety critical systems. Technologists say that leaves them vulnerable to fleet-wide hacking and privacy intrusions. Automakers have disclosed the high risk of such hacks to their investors, but are keeping the public in the dark as they market new features based on Internet connections. For example, cars that can be started from a smart phone pose big risks to consumers, but the auto dealers only promote the positive aspects. The Connected Car Safety Project will compare advertising and marketing claims in popular 2020 models to the technological risks the features pose for consumers. Consumer Watchdog will work with industry technologists to warn the public of deceptive marketing claims about connected car features through research, published reports and a high profile media campaign.

New Media Rights
General Support
Region: National
Founded in 2006, New Media Rights provides preventative, privacy, intellectual property, and advertising related legal services and educational resources to underserved consumers, businesses, and nonprofits across the country. The services provided to projects before they launch have an exponential effect on improving the legal landscape of advertising and consumer technology. Many of their clients are implementing new consumer technologies, with the application of advertising and marketing laws to technological features and performance often central to their representations. By preventing issues before they happen, they are working to fix violations at the source, and have worked on more than 2,000 cases, have had 2 million people visit their website, and have created a series of educational videos that have been viewed more than 500,000 times. With this grant, New Media Rights will provide direct legal assistance/consultation on 40 matters regarding compliance with marketing/advertising laws and transparency in the consumer technology marketplace, and publish and maintain educational resources based on their research and conclusions from the direct legal services provided.


2015 Grantees

Black Women for Wellness
For the Healthy Hair Initiative
Region: Southern California and National
Supports the Healthy Hair Initiative to conduct research and education about the chemical exposures faced by Black women through their use of hair and other personal care products. Many of the products used and marketed to Black women and girls contain hormones, endocrine disrupting chemicals and carcinogens. Black Women for Wellness will work with beauty salons and consumers to identify which products Black women and girls are using, conduct research on those products, and develop and publish consumer health education materials for workers and consumers.

Breast Cancer Fund
For the Cosmetics Without Cancer Campaign
Region: National
Supports a campaign to pressure multinational cosmetics companies to reformulate to remove cancer-causing chemicals from their products. Breast Cancer Fund will conduct product testing for cancer-causing ingredients that are not listed on product labels; produce a consumer education report based on the findings; pressure companies to stop using hazardous chemicals in their products; and pressure retailors to “kick cancer off the shelves.”

California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
Fiscal Sponsor: Asian Health Services
For the Right-to-Know Campaign: the Personal is Political in Healthy Nail Salons
Region: California
Supports education and outreach to the nail salon community and consumers who use nail salon services about the right-to-know about the chemicals present in professional cosmetic products. Most of the workers in nail salons are low-income, Asian immigrant women who are of reproductive age, and are exposed to dangerous chemicals in the workplace. The Collaborative provides expertise, skills and resources to empower workers and owners to advocate for healthy and green salons through regulation and policies that protect human health, hold manufacturers accountable for healthier alternatives, and create greater consumer awareness.

Californians for a Healthy & Green Economy (CHANGE)
Fiscal Sponsor: Trust for Conservation Innovation
For Advancing the Right-to-Know in California to Protect the Public Health and the Environment
Region: California and National
For community-led policy solutions that address the dangers of toxic chemicals on public health and the environment through a Right-to-Know Campaign. CHANGE is a coalition of groups working on chemical policy reform. The RTK Campaign will work with coalition members to finalize messaging and campaign planning, and to develop toolkits (factsheets, training guides, talking points, sample social media posts, etc.) so members can activate their constituencies to advocate for transparency and disclosure of ingredients in consumer products.

Center for Environmental Health
For Ending False Labeling and Protecting Consumers from Harmful Chemicals
$140,000 over two years
Region: California and National
Supports consumers from exposure to harmful chemicals in cosmetics, shampoos, and similar products used on the body. Center for Environmental Health will utilize a multipronged approach combining research, litigation, policy advocacy, and consumer education to push for disclosure of toxic health threats and to enforce right-to-know product labeling.

Environmental Working Group
For EWG Consumer Education
Region: National
To educate consumers about the health impacts of exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer products. This grant will support research on products used by black women so the information can be added to their Skin Deep consumer database. They will provide the data and product information to Black Women for Wellness and other groups working in the Black community for educational outreach campaigns. Additionally, the grant will support research and reporting on harmful chemical food additives, expansion of their healthy cleaning products database, and promotion of the Healthy Living Mobile App.

Friends of the Earth
For the Nanotechnology Campaign: Protecting Children from Nano-Ingredients in Food and Products
Region: National
Supports the documentation and exposure of nanotechnology in children’s products and foods. Nanotechnology is a rapidly expanding, multi-billion dollar industry involving the manipulation of matter at the nano-scale. The use of untested, unlabeled nano-ingredients in children’s products and food is growing despite strong evidence that they can be highly toxic to human health and the environment. Grant funds support food and product testing, reports, public education, and organizing efforts.

Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California
For Demystifying Household Cleaning Products for Latino Immigrant Consumers
$50,000 over two years
Region: Southern California
Supports the creation of culturally relevant multimedia materials focused on truth-in-labeling of common household cleaning products, potential health impacts, and product alternatives. Outreach efforts will target Spanish-speaking day laborers and household workers who are often vulnerable to health and safety violations.

For Soapy Seabirds in the San Juan Islands
Region: Washington
Supports youth education and engagement in a project that links the harmful chemicals in body-care products with threats to marine mammals and seabirds. Youth will create a display at a marine interpretive center, film videos on the marine impacts of body-care products and conduct after school science projects measuring toxics in fish and marine invertebrates.

Silent Spring Institute
For the Harmful Chemicals in Black Women’s Products Project
Region: National
To conduct research, write, and publish a peer-reviewed paper on the chemical levels in products used by black women. Silent Spring will work collaboratively with Black Women for Wellness and others to identify personal care products frequently used by Black women, test for unlabeled chemicals of concern, and publish a paper on ethnic hair products. The information will be made available through factsheets, infographics and a mobile app.

The Story of Stuff Project
For the Ban The Bead Project
Region: National
Supports education, community organizing, and legislative efforts to ban small, plastic microbeads from personal care products. Plastic microbeads are not only a human health concern, but they also escape most wastewater treatment effluent, absorb toxins, and are ingested by aquatic animals where they biomagnify up the food chain. Story of Stuff has made award-winning videos that have garnered more than 45 million online views, including “Let’s Ban the Bead!” and the “Story of Cosmetics.”

Teens Turning Green
For the Conscious College Road Tour
Region: National
Supports a cross-country initiative that stops at over 14 college campuses nationwide and educates students on conscious consumerism. Each campus stop includes a “Conscious Information Station” tabling event and a town hall meeting that teaches the next generation about commonly used product ingredients. The town hall meetings propose healthier purchasing alternatives and offer students the tools to organize on their campuses.

Women’s Voices for the Earth
For the Detox the Box Campaign
Region: National
To eliminate the risk of harmful chemicals in feminine care products by raising public awareness of the issue; provide women with information about safe alternatives; compel manufacturers to disclose ingredients; and to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals. Many feminine care products contain chemicals that may cause cancer, disrupt hormones, or cause allergic reactions. The Detox the Box campaign provides women with the information needed to avoid toxic chemicals; advocates for increased disclosure and the removal of toxic chemicals through market campaigns; and promotes policies to better regulate feminine care products.


2014 Grantees

Center for Digital Democracy
For Software Claims and Big Data Practices
Region: National
Supports consumer education in the “Big Data” era. Consumers in the United States are largely unaware of how the growth of pervasive data collection is connected to digital advertising and marketing; this project is designed to meet this challenge and help consumers make more informed decisions regarding software, especially connected to privacy. Work on this project will involve four main components: research and analysis on key developments in online commercial data collection, legal policy analysis, advancing stories and commentary on consumer issues involving technology products in the media, and outreach and public education initiatives.

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