Scores of the US's richest people have pledged $1m (£560,000) or more towards a new attempt to reinvigorate the American left and counter the powerful Republican political machine.
The money will be funneled through an organization called the Democracy Alliance which, according to a report in the Washington Post, will help fund a network of thinktanks and advocacy groups seeking to halt the shift to the cultural and political right.
The formation of the alliance is a radical rethinking of Democratic strategy and a response to the frustration felt by many liberals at the Republican stranglehold of both the House of Representatives and Senate and the White House.
At last November's elections, President George Bush was returned to office despite the deteriorating situation in Iraq and an uneven economy, leaving many Democrats baffled.
The alliance chairman, Steven Gluckstern, a retired investment banker, told the Post many liberal contributors felt that a dramatic new and more sustained approach was needed, instead of the cash poured into special interest pro-Democrat groups ahead of an election.
"It wasn't only the failure to win, it was the question, 'what does it take to win?'," Mr Gluckstern said. "Among the lessons learned was that to bring back the progressive majority in this country is not just a periodic election investment strategy."
The organization aims to raise $200m, with more than 80 backers already agreeing to pledge $200,000 a year over five years.
A board of directors will draw up a list of established and new organizations to develop and promote ideas on the left. The aim is to foster the growth of institutions that can act as a counter-weight to rightwing thinktanks such as the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institution.
The alliance is the brainchild of Democratic strategist Rob Stein, who says the left's infrastructure is outdated.
He said there is a big imbalance in the amount of cash that goes into left and rightwing thinktanks. Over the past two years, he said, thinktanks pushing the conservative agenda had received $295m, while leftwing institutions were given just $75m.
The long-term aim of the organization is to engage with voters who don't necessarily sit inside the conventional demographic.
Some of the Democrats' traditional base, among ethnic groups, the labor movement and working classes, has eroded, even as the religious right has mobilized behind the Republicans.
"For 40 years, we had a voice somewhere, the White House, Congress, the Senate. For the first time, we find ourselves without a voice," Mark Buell, a San Francisco businessman who is on the alliance's board, told the Post. "To be effective in the 21st century in promoting your beliefs, it is necessary to have a financially secure institutional infrastructure."
Others on the alliance board include Ann Bowers, a former Intel executive, Albert Yates, former president of Colorado State University and Silicon Valley businessman Davidi Gilo.
There was further evidence yesterday that reports of troop casualties in Iraq are beginning to tell on the president when a poll showed only 34% of Americans approve of Mr Bush's handling of Iraq, and 61% disapprove.
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