Eric Sapp has spent his career seeking to empower the better angels of American values in pursuit of policies and politics that promote the common good.
His firm, the Eleison Group, pioneered values-based communication and Democratic faith outreach during the ’06-08 elections. Over the past decade, Eleison has leveraged voter response data from its numerous successful political and advocacy campaigns to create one of the largest values/behavioral voter databases and most sophisticated digital advertising platforms in the country.
After leaving Capitol Hill in 2005, Eric co-founded Common Good Strategies (later renamed the Eleison Group). The firm rose to national prominence following the success of its new approach to faith outreach and messaging and its role advising the major winning Democratic Senate and Gubernatorial campaigns of 2006.
In 2008, Eleison served as a lead consultant through the Democratic “Red-to-Blue” program, working with over 40 Congressional campaigns responsible for Democrats reclaiming the House in 2008 on authentic and effective ways to connect with a wide range of voters through shared values.
In early 2009, Eleison established the non-profit, American Values Network (AVN), to apply the lessons from the campaign trail to faith-based non-profit advocacy. AVN spearheaded the communication campaigns responsible for the adoption of the New START Nuclear Treaty (2011) and the Arms Trade Treaty (2014), and it has won numerous awards for its advocacy work around poverty, hunger, climate, and security.
Through Eleison and AVN, Eric has worked closely with leaders involved in the South Sudan peace process, helped reshape the way the Obama administration talked about poverty/wages, and played a key role in finally ensuring the victims of the 1998 US embassy bombings received financial support.
Eric has always believed that the best way to persuade and mobilize people is to understand them and that their values and behavior are the best predictors of their beliefs and actions. Over the past eight years as most Democrats were focused on defining voters by the way they were born, Eric directed Eleison’s effort to leverage the billions of values and behavioral data points Eleison has generated through its many campaigns into predictive computer models able to identify which messages and values are most likely to persuade or mobilize voters to action.
Eric was born in Durham, NC and grew up in south Florida. He graduated from Davidson College where he was football MVP, and he received a Master of Divinity and a Master of Public Policy from Duke University. Eric served for five years in the parish, and as an aide to Senator Ted Kennedy on the Health Committee and for Rep. David Price doing budget, homeland security appropriations, and faith work. He lives in northern VA with his wife and high school sweetheart, Julie, their son, Beckett, and daughter, Lowell.