Donor Spotlight: Alan Davis

Donor Spotlight: Alan Davis

Alan Davis is a long-time member of EnviroVoters. He first started supporting EnviroVoters 40 years ago in 1981 and has remained a consistent and loyal supporter of EnviroVoters' work ever since.

Today he is a dedicated environmental philanthropist and Founder of the Crisis Charitable Commitment (CCC), a campaign to greatly increase the flow of charitable dollars to non-profits. The CCC has given $551.3 million to date for critical causes, including $146 million for democracy and $153.9 million for racial justice. Members of the CCC are high-net worth individuals who commit to giving away a percentage of net worth to charity. At EnviroVoters, Alan is a leadership donor to our organization and in our movement. We are honored that he still chooses to invest in EnviroVoters' work and encourages so many others to support our mission too.

“Effective solutions to climate disruption are not cheap. Which is why it is essential that the wealthiest among us give what they can really and truly afford for public investment and prioritize much more of their giving to the climate crisis,” says Davis.

Davis also serves as President of the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund and as the Director of its social change program—WhyNot Initiative—which primarily engages in funding elections research and advocacy training programs for left-of-center issues.

Read our full interview with Alan Davis below and for more information on the Crisis Charitable Commitment, click here and here.

What do you do?

I am the President of the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund and Director of its social change program, the WhyNot Initiative.

How did you first get involved with EnviroVoters?

In 1976 I started Conservatree Paper Company in San Francisco which led in developing and expanding the market for recycled printing and writing papers. I was obviously very concerned about the environment, thought EnviroVoters was playing a critical role, particularly with its canvas, in promoting environmental policies in California, served on the Board from 1983-1992 and as Board President from 1985-1989.

Why is the work of EnviroVoters important to you and what is most challenging about the climate crisis?

I’ve supported EnviroVoters for nearly 40 years because they have always been in the lead in promoting cutting edge environmental policies that can be replicated in other states. The environment is one of the three issue areas (democracy and wealth inequality being the other two) that have an immediate impact on virtually all social issues. The climate crisis and climate justice are inextricably intertwined and both need to be addressed immediately. The only challenge to fixing the problem is the will to do it, which includes providing the necessary resources to do it.

What issues are you most passionate about and why?

Typically, I’d spend most of my time working on democracy or wealth inequality issues. But for the last year my day job has been promoting the Crisis Charitable Commitment, an effort to get foundations and rich donors to contribute significantly more than is typical in order to address problems caused or raised by the pandemic. We don’t tell people where to give – just give to any c3 or c4 nonprofit (like EnviroVoters!). So far, we have 90 signatories representing over $550 million in contributions in 2020. In 1972 I worked in the McGovern campaign and saw how small-donor financing could actually change politics in this country. And as a foundation executive, I saw the devastating effects of the pandemic on our society while billionaires added $1 trillion to their bank accounts just since the pandemic began.

Who is someone who has influenced you in your work?

My wife, Mary Lou Dauray, who sits on the foundation board with me. She’s an artist and most of her work is designed to raise environmental awareness. She constantly feeds me information, eggs me on, supports me, and spearheads our Arts Initiative (e.g., an environmental arts residency).

What do you envision for the future?

We are on the cusp of a bright future. But it can slip away from us if we aren’t relentless in putting pressure on our elected officials to pass S.1 (democracy), Biden’s complete infrastructure package, and Warren’s wealth tax.

What do you want EnviroVoters' community to know and others who are considering becoming a part of EnviroVoters?

The EnviroVoters community already knows that the public is on our side and the only reason we’re not moving fast enough is because huge amounts of money from people less enlightened than us convinces politicians to make bad decisions. Policies are important, but they are no good unless we muster the political will. That’s what EnviroVoters does. I urge EnviroVoters' readers who meet, or know anyone who meets, the Crisis Charitable Commitment donor standard to sign on so that we can increase the size of the charitable pot and address the crisis we’re in.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about supporting or volunteering for EnviroVoters?

Do it!

Support Our Climate Movement

Posted on June 24, 2021 in ECOVOTE BLOG.

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