Restoring Funding to California Communities

May 13, 2020

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In early 2018, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced support for the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act, a state ballot measure that would restore an estimated $12 billion annually for critical local services by taxing large commercial properties at market value. CZI granted $1.805 million to the campaign in the 2019-2020 election cycle. The campaign announced in April 2020 that it secured more than 1.7 million signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

The measure ― brought to CZI’s attention very early on by our partners in the field ― will help local communities invest in services that touch all areas of CZI’s work, including education, housing, public safety, healthcare, and immigration. It has been identified as one of the most effective and lasting ways to unlock and sustain dollars for resource-strapped communities across the state.

“We’ve seen a diverse coalition coming together around this effort, including labor and faith leaders, educators, small businesses, mayors, dozens of elected officials at the state and local level, and hundreds of thousands of hardworking Californians, and we are excited to support it,” said Michael Troncoso, Vice President and Head of Justice & Opportunity at CZI. 

Support for this measure comes from CZI’s Justice & Opportunity Initiative, which leverages grantmaking, technology, policy & advocacy, capacity building, and other levers to tackle major structural barriers to opportunity. CZI’s advocacy work is focused on raising awareness of key issues, supporting frontline organizations, and contributing to select ballot and legislative measures ― to help make lasting change. 

Past support includes local efforts in 2016 such as Proposition A in San Francisco (education bond measure for the modernization of schools), Measure U in Redwood City (provided funding for elementary and middle schools), Measure RR in San Francisco (supporting BART modernization), San Mateo County Measure A (sales tax for accessible housing in San Mateo County) and several others. We also funded a 2019 Affordable Housing Bond measure in San Francisco. Additionally, CZI funded select state ballot measures ― including California Proposition 1 (housing), Ohio Issue 1 (criminal justice reform) in 2018.