Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, Daily Kos Founder and Publisher
Markos Moulitsas Zúniga is not the kind of person to “pull up the ladder” behind him. In fact, he isn’t one to even just hold it steady. He is the kind of person who builds upon the ladder so that people for generations to come can reach new heights. Moulitsas was born to a Greek father and a Salvadoran mother. When he was just nine years old, his family came to the United States to escape the civil war in El Salvador, where they had witnessed violence, injustice, and strife. When he got to Chicago, however, Moulitsas experienced a great deal of kindness and support in his transition to life in the U.S, which helped shape the person who he is today. After high school Moulitsas enlisted in the Army and served in Germany. After his term he obtained bachelor degrees in Political Science, Journalism and Philosophy from Northern Illinois University and a law degree from Boston University, Today, Moulitsas is an innovator in online publishing and fundraising. He is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos, which describes itself as the largest progressive online community in the country. Founded in 2002, the website now hosts 7-8 million unique visitors per month, has half a million registered users, and a growing e-mail list of nearly two million. Noteworthy contributors to the site include Presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But what really defines Daily Kos is that it connects and gives voice to millions of ordinary American citizens. In Moulitsas’ own words, Daily Kos gives “political activists a megaphone they can use to advocate for the causes they care about.”
Since 2008, Daily Kos has raised over $10 million in online political fundraising. Moulitsas says this has involved “identifying candidates, ballot initiatives, and organizations fighting for the issues my audience cares about, then asking them to donate, then asking them again, and finally asking them one more time.” Moulitsas is the married father of two, and on his spare time, he enjoys playing the piano. He also founded the venture-backed Vox Media, and is the author of three books. His written works include “Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics”; “Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era,” and “American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right.” Through his creativity and commitment, Markos Moulitsas is undoubtedly building up the ladder towards a more just society.
The 31 HIPGivers recognized in 2015 are collectively altering the landscape for our country. They are pushing the envelope by asking for more – more consideration, more awareness, more compassion, more action, more giving. Be there when the next 32 leaders are honored at our 2016 HIPGiver Gala.