The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the limited liability company created by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, to advance their philanthropic interests, has announced that top political operatives David Plouffe and Ken Mehlman are joining the organization and will lead its policy and advocacy efforts.
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg wrote that Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and currently serves as chief advisor at Uber, will head up CZI's policy and advocacy efforts, while Mehlman, who managed George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, chaired the Republican National Committee from 2005 to 2007, and currently is head of global public affairs at private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, will volunteer part of his time to lead its policy advisory board. Plouffe will remain on the boards of Uber, Rubicon Global, and the Obama Foundation.
"Advocacy has always been part of our approach," wrote Zuckerberg. "Similar to how we built the science initiative, Priscilla and I have spent the past year meeting with many policy and issue experts across the political spectrum. We're grateful some of them will be joining us as members of our policy advisory board." Plouffe and Mehlman are expected to announce additional members of the policy advisory board over the next few months.
"You can make change, but in order for it to be sustainable, you need to build a movement to support it," Zuckerberg told the New York Times. "No amount of private research or philanthropy is going to shift that. At the end of the day, the government has far more resources than any individual organization does."
"As the president of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Policy and Advocacy, my job will be to find creative ways to lift the voices of those who want to build a better future — no matter where they live, their background or their ideology," Plouffe wrote in a Facebook post. "Curing disease, improving education through personalized learning, and building technology and tools to help organizations reach their full potential are areas with widespread support and massive potential for mobilization, great storytelling, and smart policy engagement."