The American Civil Liberties Union has announced a $20 million commitment from the Crankstart Foundation, the giving vehicle of Silicon Valley investor Michael Moritz and his wife, novelist Harriet Heyman.
The largest endowment gift ever to the ACLU includes an immediate gift of $5 million and a $15 million Moritz/Heyman Legacy Challenge that will match future planned gifts on a one-to-ten basis. The funds will be used to bolster the organization's efforts to protect immigrant communities, end the U.S. criminal justice system's reliance on over-incarceration, expand voting rights, and advance progress on other civil liberties issues.
"Michael and Harriet's gift is one of the largest in our ninety-eight-year history, and comes at a critical time when the rights of so many hang in the balance," said ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero. "The bequest challenge is a huge philanthropic opportunity that will give us the ability to sustain our advocacy and legal power for future generations, helping us yield as much as $20 for every $1 in matching funds." Based on previous bequest challenges, the ACLU projects that the Moritz/Heyman Legacy Challenge will lead to more than $300 million in new bequest gifts.
"The ACLU has consistently protected the rights of all people in America, especially the forgotten, downtrodden, and oppressed and is well-equipped to meet the challenges of our time," said Moritz, who signed the Giving Pledge with his wife in 2012. "Harriet and I hope others interested in a legacy of justice and fairness will also help ensure the ACLU's work endures."
(Photo credit: University of California, San Francisco/Cindy Chew)