As a philanthropist, I believe my private resources should be used to reinforce democratic institutions and facilitate public-spirited reforms. American democracy today feels deeply flawed. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small minority, working class wages are stagnant, and, for some, the government feels oppressive and deeply unrepresentative. My philanthropic purpose deals directly with this dissonance. I seek to ensure people distanced from centers of power – whether by physical distance or because of social or historical marginalization – have access to the tools, capital, and empowerment to influence the policies and politics of this country.
A pressing public need exists for innovation and welfare enhancement for the elderly. The urgency of an aging population is clear; the United States Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections reported that by 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65, creating a world where one in every five residents will be of retirement age.
This phenomenon of good intentions that don’t result in the intended impact is pervasive. It extends far beyond environmental issues, from the effects of fair-trade goods to those of charity donations. Ultimately, there are so many individuals in the world with good intentions and a huge amount of opportunity to create change.
My philanthropic purpose is to ensure all children in the United States have high-quality teachers. As a former educator, I witnessed firsthand the disparities between students with and without privilege in our country. Time and time again I saw that the kids who deserved the best teachers usually got the worst: instructors who were inexperienced and under-qualified. This unsettling reality is both an issue of supply and allocation of resources. Why don’t we have enough quality teachers? Why aren’t our quality teachers more fairly distributed?