— ISN’T AN OBLIGATION —
IT’S A PRIVILEGE
My life today would not have been remotely possible without access to clean water, robust public education, healthcare, government creation and nurturing of the Internet, federally funded research and science, and the talents of brilliant people from literally around the world, including immigrants of virtually every race, ethnicity, and faith. By any measure, I have been exceedingly lucky. So, I take very seriously my responsibility to give back. Below are some of the organizations whose work Crystal and I find most inspiring and who we proudly support.
Every day, millions of low-income Americans spend days in jails without being convicted of any crime simply because they don’t have the money to post bail. 90% of those people end up pleading guilty just to go home. Yet 50% of people who can afford bail have their charges entirely dismissed. Cash bail is an evil and discriminatory system that deprives the poor of their rights. Until all states outlaw the system, The Bail Project puts up bail money so that poverty is not a crime. I feel so lucky to be involved in this incredibly innovative approach to ending the cycles of mass incarceration.
As the current administration continues its unprecedented trampling of people’s rights, the ACLU has been there to fight every step of the way. Their approach to defending constitutional rights by fighting in the courts, influencing the legislative process, and empowering communities with a voice has proven effective even in the face of today’s tyranny. They are fearless guardians of our freedoms and it’s an honor to be a supporter.
At a time when public lands are under threat and the climate crisis endangers all life on the planet, preserving natural spaces has never been more important. I also believe that one of the things America got right was making countless acres of land available for public access and enjoyment. So it’s with great pride that we’ve contributed to ensure huge parcels of land will never be subject to development and will be managed for the everlasting benefit of humans, plant and animal life, and even as carbon stores in the fighting against the emergency levels of the planet’s warming.
With the executive branch dangerously dysfunctional, and the GOP Congress entirely complicit in the ongoing erosion of our democracy and values, the judicial branch may be the last hope for containing the tragedy until voters can turn this around. So ICAP has assembled some of the country’s most accomplished litigators to fight the White House head-on in the highest courts of the land. For instance, that team fighting the Muslim Ban all the way to the Supreme Court? That was ICAP. I am so grateful for their work.
The United States has the largest prison population in the world and the highest per capita incarceration rate. Our racist and classist judicial system invests almost nothing actual rehabilitation of those who are sentenced to prison. By mentoring the men, women, and children inside and providing them skills training, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition has achieved a five-fold reduction in the recidivism rate of those who are released. In parallel, the ARC has spearheaded sweeping legislative reforms providing a second chance for those who were sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed while they were children. My visits to maximum security prisons have taught me so much about the notions of forgiveness and redemption and I’m in awe of the ARC’s work.
Government too often uses technology of the 19th and 20th centuries in futile efforts to truly serve the American public. Using principles and practices of the digital age, Code For America builds tools to make sure government really works for the people. Whether creating an app to make it easy to sign up for the public benefits a low-income family needs, using text messaging to ensure that folks show up for their court dates, or helping citizens clear past low-level criminal convictions from their records. The team at CFA is comprised of techies from dozens of household name companies who have committed to use their talents to help millions and millions of our fellow humans.
Providing transformational support to a global network of 400 visionaries – scientists, artists, activists, entrepreneurs, doctors, journalists, and inventors – who collaborate across disciplines to create positive change around the world. The program chooses an incredibly diverse class of Fellows based on their remarkable achievement, their strength of character, and their innovative approach to solving the world’s tough problems. Fellows are invited to attend a TED conference, where they meet, exchange ideas and connect with the larger TED community. They also give their own TED Talk, an unprecedented opportunity to disseminate their unique ideas to the world.
Uniting the skills and experiences of military veterans and first responders to provide rapid relief to communities impacted by natural disasters. In the first moments following hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, or floods, Team Rubicon deploys America’s most talented and selfless volunteers to apply their logistics, operations, trauma medicine, and leadership expertise to help those affected get back on their feet. In conditions that others find harrowing, Team Rubicon feels right at home and knows how best to get to work.