NEW YORK — Michael Moritz, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investors, announced today a $20 million endowment gift to the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of himself and his wife, novelist Harriet Heyman from The Crankstart Foundation, their charitable vehicle. The gift, the largest endowment gift ever given to the civil liberties organization, is comprised of an immediate $5 million gift and a $15 million Legacy Challenge that will match future planned gifts.
The $20 million contribution comes as the ACLU is ramping up its legal and advocacy work across the country. The latest donation from Moritz and Heyman will bolster the ACLU’s work to safeguard the most marginalized among us: protecting immigrant communities, ending our criminal justice system’s reliance on over-incarceration, expanding voting rights, and advancing other civil liberties issues.
“Michael and Harriet’s gift is one of the largest in our 98-year history, and comes at a critical time when the rights of so many hang in the balance,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “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.”
“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 Michael Moritz. “Harriet and I hope others interested in a legacy of justice and fairness will also help ensure the ACLU’s work endures.”
Based on previous bequest challenges, the ACLU projects that the Moritz/Heyman Legacy Challenge will spur more than $300 million in new bequest gifts. For example, a donor who commits a $100,000 bequest through the Moritz/Heyman Legacy Challenge will trigger an immediate $10,000 in matching funds. As the baby boomer generation begins to retire and think about planned giving, bequests are becoming central to philanthropic efforts.
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has worked in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect the constitutional rights of all people. With a nationwide network of offices and millions of members and supporters, we take up the toughest civil liberties fights. Beyond one person, party or side — we the people dare to create a more perfect union.