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Businessman Tom Steyer and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the two billionaires in the Democratic primary, have spent far more than the rest of the Democratic hopefuls combined. But Steyer also uses grassroots tactics. What do other candidates and voters think about the influence of money in elections?

Advice for Calif's. Facebook CEO on Effective Philanthropy

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has some tips for the Zuckerbergs as they embark on their new philanthropic venture. (Lukasz Porwol/Wikimedia Commons)
The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has some tips for the Zuckerbergs as they embark on their new philanthropic venture. (Lukasz Porwol/Wikimedia Commons)
December 11, 2015

LOS ANGELES - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife recently announced a mega-donation to charity on the occasion of their daughter's birth.

Now, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has some advice on how to make those millions count. In an op-ed in the Huffington Post, the group's executive director Aaron Dorfman says the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative should be investing heavily in changing policies and changing systems.

"If they want to do that, they should fund grassroots organizing, and advocacy and civic engagement," says Dorfman. "Helping the people who are directly affected by the problems they want to address, be involved in winning the policies that will impact their lives."

Dorfman says as an example, these types of grassroots groups got "regular people" out in front of legislators, which contributed greatly to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

He also recommends the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative be as transparent as possible, even though the type of organization they've created doesn't require it.

"Which nonprofits they're giving money to, which for-profits they're investing in, and why," says Dorfman. "How the returns are doing. The bare minimum should be that they should share everything that would be legally required if they had chosen to create a private foundation instead of an LLC."

Finally, Dorfman says it's crucial to share power with experts who are not in the immediate family and to work toward racial equity.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA