I’d like to tell you two stories about 2019.
The first is not a good story. It’s a story that makes all of us angry. A story that seems almost implausible when you put it together. It’s the story of being in America in 2019.
It’s simpler to start this story at the end: two weeks ago we saw two mass shootings less than a day apart. Shootings designed to target immigrants and cause maximum casualties. And amongst all the thoughts and prayers, we have a congress that refuses to vote on background checks.
Barely a month before this, we learned of the horrendous conditions faced by asylum seekers on the Southern border. Families being separated, parents not knowing where their children are, people being denied the most basic of human dignities.
In a moment of reprieve, the women’s US soccer team gave a masterclass in both soccer and cultural leadership. And re-highlighted the gender pay gap that still exists.
To add to the list of injustices women face, several Southern states passed bills that severely reduce a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions.
Threaded throughout our story is the ongoing dumpster fire which is our refusal to address climate change seriously. Russia is still meddling in our elections. There’s overt racism against members of Congress. Social media is more polarizing and lacking nuance — cancel culture is how we communicate.
I think no matter your beliefs or political views, there is something in this story that outrages you.
The second is a story of privilege, opportunity, and change. Many of the last decade’s most exciting and innovative companies have gone public or announced this year. Lyft, Uber, Slack, Zoom, Beyond Meat, Pinterest, PagerDuty, and WeWork to name a few. By some estimates, the Bay Area will have 6,000 new millionaires. That’s at least $6,000,000,000 in new wealth created. Let alone the wealth that’s already in the city.
If you’re one of these people, I’d like you to take a minute out of updating your twitter profile to ‘angel investor’, planning your sabbatical and pondering whether the real estate market in SF will keep going up, and think about giving to charity.
If you’re like I was, you might have great intentions, but not be sure how to actually do it — how much to give, to whom, how, and so on.
Did you know the average American gives 3% to charity every year (millionaires give a slightly higher percentage)? We often think that philanthropy is only for the super rich and for later in life (indeed Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge requires you to have a billion dollars). But nothing could be further from the truth: we can all give back, and we can all make a difference.
If these 6,000 people gave just 3% of their new wealth to charity, they’d give approximately $200m.
To put that in context, here’s some idea of what $200m could do:
- Fund the entire ACLU’s legal defense work for half a decade
- Provide 22 years of housing for 2,500 homeless children aged 12–24 in San Francisco.
- Plant one million trees in San Francisco (there’s currently about 120,000).
- Remove 10 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.
So let’s do something with this opportunity.
We at ALMA created the 3% Promise because we can all make a difference.
By signing, you’re promising to give 3% back to causes you care about. If you want any advice, feel free to DM me. We can also help you donate stock via the ALMA platform.
Here’s the link: http://threepercentpromise.com
I want to say huge thanks to some of our earliest signers, who’ve already committed over $1m to charity in the first 24 hours.
Join us in committing to give 3% back.
Dan & Michelle