We talked with the godfather of asset building, who himself comes from a philanthropic family, to get the inside story of how top foundations got behind one the most innovative policy movements in decades.
In recent years, the bank has dramatically ramped up its grantmaking to help revitalize cities and bolster urban workforces. Now it’s getting more intellectual firepower on its side by hooking up with a top think tank.
From the Whitehouse Press Office:
Washington, DC – Today President Obama released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2016. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, released the statement below applauding the President’s proposal:
“The President’s budget would take significant steps toward a fairer tax system while also making major investments in our nation’s transportation infrastructure. This is particularly important in Rhode Island, where we have some of the oldest roads and bridges in America and where new construction projects could provide badly needed jobs. I’m also glad to see that the proposed budget would implement several policies I’ve been fighting for in the Senate, including the Buffett Rule for tax fairness and an Automatic IRA program to help millions of Americans save for retirement. From tax credits for working families to paid sick leave, the President’s budget includes many bold proposals to help middle-class families succeed. I look forward to debating the details of these and other provisions in the Budget Committee in the weeks ahead.”
Nonprofits and funders on the side of improving access to housing and financial assets for low-income people are closely watching a showdown in the Supreme Court on “disparate impact.”
If you hang around the more professionalized precincts of philanthropy—like big name foundations with their armies of Ph.D.s or major consulting firms—the business of giving away large amounts of money can seem awfully complicated. (Hence all those Ph.D.s.)
But if you talk with Herb Sandler, as I did recently, it sounds pretty darn simple.
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation sees itself as a catalyst for change and a leader in the community foundation sector, and for good reason. It gives out more grants than any other community foundation in the United States. With more than $6 billion in assets, this philanthropic powerhouse can push hard on new initiatives and set high standards for the rest of the community foundations in the country to aspire to.
One area where SVCF is aiming to do this is in curbing predatory lending, as part of its broader strategy of promoting economic security. SVCF gets that usurious wealth stripping practices can keep low-income households from ever building assets and getting ahead. You can’t build economic security when you’re in the red thanks to outrageous interest charges.
Here in Rhode Island, the issue of hedge fund investing of pension dollars has been a source of much conflict and concern. Hopefully with so many financial experts now leading our state government (Tom Sgouros, Seth Magaziner, Gina Raimondo, I’m talking to you!) we can make sure that public pension dollars in Rhode Island are invested wisely.