February 21 2020
Matt Rogers and Swati Mylavarapu

 Our 2020 Pledge: Investing in a New Generation of Leadership

February 21 2020
Matt Rogers and Swati Mylavarapu

Since we started, we’ve dedicated ourselves to supporting leaders who are addressing the two deepest emergencies of our time: saving the planet and saving democracy. 


The stakes have never been higher. The future of our country and of our planet is on the ballot in 2020. We’re running out of time. We need to advance policies if we hope to make meaningful progress on existential challenges like the climate crisis, democratic processes and beyond. 


From climate to healthcare to economic opportunity, it’s clear that having brave, values-driven leaders in elected office is the difference between inaction and progress.  


Today, we’re making a public commitment to donate $2 Million to organizations and campaigns advancing progressive leadership. We will deploy these funds early, before July 2020, and we will fund progressive infrastructure in addition to great candidates. 


Our pledge starts with a $500k contribution to fund Arena’s talent development and state legislative campaign efforts. This grant will support Arena Academy’s program to build the national talent pool of candidates and campaign staff, as well as Arena’s efforts to take back five key state legislatures and shift the balance of power back to lawmakers working to improve Americans’ lives.


Our approach to political giving mirrors our investing philosophy at early capital into programs with high, catalytic impact. Across our portfolio, we seek to make early investments in teams that are taking on difficult, underinvested-in challenges. Our political contributions follow the same approach. 


A case study on the impact of early money in driving catalytic political change: Swati helped launch Arena in 2016 with a small, nimble team and less than $1M in funding. The organization achieved incredible results in its first 24 months, flipping 21 red-to-blue seats in 2018 including 10 new Democrats joining the US House of Representatives.  And the waves from these new leaders can already be seen - many led the way for impeachment, defending healthcare advances, and more. Our experience with Arena has proven that with the right resources - albeit often small, but early and strategic - we can successfully channel the energy and activism of our current moment to build a better politics.


Beyond known and established political organizations, we’re now looking for opportunities where our contributions can support new, breakthrough organizations and candidates that represent the future of American civic leadership. 


This follows’s long-standing dedication to supporting teams that are taking on important, underinvested-in challenges including: Arena inspiring and training the next generation of progressive leaders; Carbon180 advancing carbon removal policies and innovation; Paid Leave for the United States (PL+US) advocating for paid family leave; Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) restoring voting rights in Florida; and Co-Equal advising Congress on effective oversight of the executive branch and policies that improve the lives of American families. 


As much as we want to defeat Donald Trump (and we do, very much), this year is bigger than one election. It’s bigger than one candidate. 2020 is an opportunity to build progressive political infrastructure with institutions and practices that can thrive well beyond a single election cycle. The changes we need in American politics require funders to make long term investments. New politics require new tools - from fighting for Americans to fulfill their rights to vote, to making high quality digital tools and more. There are also several critical Congressional, Senate, and State Legislature races all around the country that can shape our government for decades to come. We will be supporting many of those key races, and also making contributions to C4 organizations promoting voting access and progressive political infrastructure-building that will benefit Democrats in 2020 and beyond. We plan to wake up on January 1, 2021, ready to continue building with the same urgency, passion and holistic strategy regardless of who moves into the White House. 


That’s why the 2020 Election is our biggest focus for the year at We’re dedicating our time, our energy and our investments to usher in a new generation of progressive leadership America deserves. 


We know early money has an exponentially powerful impact on the success of a company or a foundation. It’s no different in politics, particularly in an election year. We cannot afford to lose. All of us must act now to not only win in November but to support political infrastructure that will cultivate values-driven leadership for generations to come.  Have an idea for us to consider? Please share -

View all posts