Calls to Action: Citizens

Potent Political Philanthropy

In traditional philanthropy there’s likely a correlation between wealth and impact but that’s less the case with political philanthropy where steadfastness is more important. That’s because the path to political change is steep and narrow. To change any of California’s 29 codes of law, a legislator must gain the agreement of 61 other legislators, each of whom has their own priorities. What matters in that world are seniority, committee assignments and bank balances, and what legislators in that world need are supporters who are always there for them. That’s one reason we have 18 chapters, each of which is among the largest and most steadfast donors to legislators.

To improve governance, you don’t need billions of dollars, just millions of minutes. Now a decade old, GFC has five million minutes under its belt, but because special interests had a head start, millions more minutes will be needed to reverse the damage caused by years of our collective inattention to the California Legislature. Each of those minutes will be worth it. That’s because political philanthropy provides enormous leverage. Eg, a single change to California’s Education Code impacts the effectiveness of >$100 billion per year of spending on six million schoolchildren. If you’re looking for effective altruism, look to persistently provided political philanthropy.