Dear Howard Schultz, don’t do it!

Howard Schultz could better help our country by spending $500 million on philanthropy instead of a campaign for president.

Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: February 05, 2019

Dear Mr. Schultz,

Don’t do it!

The Washington Post reported last week that you might spend $300-$500 million of your own money on a campaign to run for President. Please reconsider.

Others have made the political argument for why you shouldn’t run, and they’re not wrong. But I want you to think about how you could help the country with philanthropy instead of spending that money on your campaign.

Investing in community organizing and grassroots social change is extremely effective and has a high return on investment. In fact, research suggests that you could probably unleash $34-$58 billion worth of benefits for families, communities and taxpayers by philanthropically funding those high-leverage strategies with the same $300-$500 million you intend to spend on your campaign.

A handful of billionaires have figured this out and are helping the country without putting themselves in the spotlight:

  • Chuck Feeney, through Atlantic Philanthropies, funded the grassroots organizing that helped push the Affordable Care Act over the finish line. Millions of Americans have been helped as a result.
  • Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna, through their Open Philanthropy Project and their Open Philanthropy Action Fund, are making an incredible contribution to reforming our nation’s unfair criminal justice system. I was especially impressed with their funding of the successful ballot measure in Florida this last election cycle that has restored voting rights for more than a million Floridians.
  • George Soros, through Open Society Foundations, is one of the most important funders of grassroots organizing in the nation. NCRP gave his foundation an award in 2015 because we were so impressed with the tangible difference the foundation was making in people’s lives on issues such as education, health, justice and government accountability.

Mr. Schultz, I know you want to help our country, and I admire that. Please be smart and spend your money investing in the most marginalized in our society and strengthening their voices. It will do so much more good than a self-funded campaign for President.


Aaron Dorfman

Aaron Dorfman is NCRP’s president and CEO. Follow @NCRP on Twitter. Image by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Used under Creative Commons license.