By Ellen LaPointe, President and CEO, Northern California Grantmakers
When NCG stepped into the policy space two years ago, we did so knowing that it would require us to be bold and lean deeply into our mission to bring philanthropy together to build healthy, thriving, and just communities. With the 2020 election around the corner, there is much at stake for California and our region. There has never been a more appropriate or important time for philanthropy to be advocating and using its voice in service of building a Better California for all.
California voters will face one of the biggest opportunities to secure the future of our state in decades on November 3, 2020. For over forty years, Proposition 13 has enjoyed nearly untouchable status in state policy. Passed in 1978, Proposition 13, among other things, capped the rate at which property tax could increase in California. As a result, California has lost $585 billion in revenue for schools and local communities over the last forty years, and we have dropped from 7th to 41st in per pupil education spending.
In November 2020, an initiative will be on the ballot to reform Proposition 13 by closing a corporate property tax loophole that has deprived schools and communities of funding for the past four decades. Led by grassroots community organizations from across California, the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act is the first real challenge to reform Proposition 13 since it was passed in 1978. The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act would restore approximately $11 billion per year to California schools and local communities, including approximately $3.6 billion in the Bay Area.
NCG is proud to announce that we have formally endorsed the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act. As a nonprofit organization, NCG is able to endorse initiatives. In adopting positions on policy issues, NCG rigorously evaluates each policy position to ensure alignment with NCG's mission and policy goals. Our Policy Committee, reflective of our diverse membership, is responsible for advising and ultimately approving NCG's policy positions. Further, we are in a key position to facilitate foundation participation through public education and community engagement advancing policies to resource our communities. We join a respected group of labor, education, health, and housing organizations and elected officials in publicly supporting this momentous initiative. NCG members The San Francisco Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative have played seminal roles in mobilizing philanthropic support for the Act.
We believe that taking a stand on issues like these is exactly where NCG should be. We believe in the power of our communities to re-imagine what is possible and to re-define the California of the future. The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act is the work of a decade, developed by conscientious movement leaders, organizers, and communities who dared to dream of a California for our children’s children. At NCG, we are inspired and honored to be a part of this effort.