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In February 2019, The Economic Mobility Collaborative sent the following letter to newly-elected California Governor Gavin Newsom. Building on our prior Open Letter to mobilize ordinary Californians, this statement urged the new Governor to commit to "a future where basic economic security is a birthright". Collaborative Partners highlighted the pressing need for action, our expectation that the new administration would deliver on its stated intention to do so, and underscored our commitment to working alongside the Governor toward this goal.

Dear Governor Newsom:

Like you, we see an opportunity to forge a new path for all of California, unlike any we've known before. It's a path to a future where the California Dream truly is accessible to every Californian. A future where basic economic security is a birthright and every person has a right to work, to discover their potential, and to share that potential with others.

You have been clear in your commitment to this vision, and we believe you have the talent and passion to transform the vision into a reality. As you know, the need to do so is both urgent and critical. Through our signatures below, we express our commitment to work alongside you to achieve this goal.

California has suffered an economic earthquake.  On one side of the fault line, we have seen the greatest accumulation of wealth in history. On the other, the effects have been devastating. We have the
highest rate of poverty in the country, the third highest homelessness rate, and the third highest cost of living. If education is the great equalizer, the outlook is no better; California is ranked 47th nationally in the share of recent high school graduates who enroll in four-year colleges, and shows some of the biggest racial/ethnic disparities in college-going and attainment nationally. These statistics are unconscionable, and disastrous for the state’s future both economically, and socially.

Together, we believe we can dramatically improve these numbers and make unprecedented progress, within a decade. We have access to data and tools that can catalyze public policy results in ways unimaginable even in the recent past. By combining these with active listening and genuine public engagement and accountability, we can start reversing current trends while reinvigorating public confidence in Government’s ability to solve big problems and modeling new ways to collaborate with non-governmental sectors. There is plenty to do; we need systems that welcome anyone willing to help, including from the (Do It Yourself) DIY movement, as you foresaw in your book, Citizenville. We also need to be open to entirely new approaches to service delivery and problem solving, if there is reason to believe a new approach will benefit more people.

The following initial actions would set a course for clear, transformative change. We urge you to task a senior official in your administration, in consultation with the Office of Planning and Research (OPR), to develop plans to execute these priorities in time to inform the May 2019 Budget Revision:


  • Develop specific, high-level goals, commit to deadlines, and broadly define how they will be achieved, with flexibility for the diverse regions of our state;

  • Develop clear metrics to measure progress toward those goals;

  • Monitor progress over time, to enable anyone interested in being part of the solution to understand what’s working and what needs to be improved;

  • Put in place the data systems needed to support cutting edge tracking of policy performance across agencies and consider routinized data sharing with non-governmental entities, to confirm remedies work as intended, can be adjusted when needed, ultimate outcomes can be measured and known, and what it all costs -- or saves – taxpayers; and

  • Design for inclusivity and accountability throughout this work.

We will do everything in our power to help deliver on this promise. We will make the case for change, spread the word, and build support. But to help you, and for the private sector, the nonprofit sector, local governments, and creative Californians in every corner of the state to help, we need clear, specific leadership, and a game plan. Let’s not waste a moment or dollar on something that doesn’t work, and let’s build a way for Californians anywhere in the state to support and help you reach these shared goals, right on time.

California has always had the ingenuity to solve big problems. We believe it now has the leadership and drive to solve this one. Under Governors Schwarzenegger and Brown, California became a global leader on a wide range of climate issues. We believe your Administration is positioned to offer similar groundbreaking leadership in society’s understanding of the far reaching social and economic value that comes from providing broad access to economic security, opportunity and mobility.

It would be malpractice for a doctor to use science from the 1930s to treat a patient today. And it would be akin to malpractice for our government and civic institutions to use anything less than the latest research, technology and wisdom in service to all the people of California and in preparation for our shared future. We stand ready to join you in this work, and look forward to engaging our richly diverse population in this common mission, restoring confidence in the power of democratic governance, and providing another Made-in-California model for building policy solutions that benefit and bond our communities from Modoc and Shasta-Trinity, to the Mojave and Joshua Tree.

With your leadership, we know we can do this. Let’s get started.

Very sincerely,

Sam Blakeslee, Founding Director, Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; former California State Senator, Assemblyman, and Assembly Republican Leader
Virginia Hamilton, former Regional Administrator, U.S. Department of Labor
Kathay Feng, National Redistricting Director, Common Cause; former Executive Director, California Common Cause*
Pete Peterson, Dean & Senior Fellow, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, Davenport Institute, Pepperdine University*
Michele Siqueiros, President, Campaign for College Opportunity
David B. Smith, CEO, X Sector Labs; former Managing Director, Presidio Institute
Jonathan Stein, Voting Rights Program Manager, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus*
Ashley Swearengin, President and CEO, Central Valley Community Foundation, Former Mayor, Fresno
Zabrae Valentine, Co-founder, CA Forward and the CA Forward Action Fund
Pete Weber, former Vice-President, FMC Corporation; former CEO, TeKnowledge, Inc.; former CEO, Riverbend International; Founder and Chair, Fresno Bridge Academy; Co-Chair California Forward
Jessica Pitt, Executive Director, HealthPATH Alameda Health System
Simone Otus Coxe, Co-founder and Board Chair, CALmatters, KQED and Internews
Hilary Hoynes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy; Co-Director, Berkeley Opportunity Lab, University of California Berkeley
Zac Townsend, former Chief Data Officer of the State of California; Partner, Deciens Capital
Lauryn Agnew, Founder, Bay Area Impact Investing Initiative
Sarah Swanbeck, Executive Director, Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans
Erin Coghlan, Policy Director, Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans
Kim Belshé, Executive Director, First Five LA; former Secretary of Health and Human Services, State of California
Peter Barth, Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs at First 5 LA; former Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services
Moira Kenney, Executive Director, First 5 Association of California
Bill Bloomfield, President, web service company (retired)
Marian Kaanon, President/CEO, Stanislaus Community Foundation
David Grusky, Professor of Sociology; Director, Center on Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University
Elizabeth Hill, former Legislative Analyst, State of California
Sabrina Moyle, CEO, Hello!Lucky
Rob Lapsley, President, California Business Roundtable
Laura Tyson, Distinguished Professor, Graduate School, Berkeley Haas School of Business; Board of Trustees Chair, Blum Center for Developing Economies, UC Berkeley; former Chair, Council of Economic Advisers; former Director, National Economic Council
Sarah Bohn, Director of Research and Senior Fellow, Public Policy Institute of California
Caroline Danielson, Policy Director and Senior Fellow, PPIC
Larry Rosenthal, Program Director, UC Berkeley Center on Civility & Democratic Engagement
Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology & Director, USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity
Jeannine English, former State and National President, AARP; Former Executive Director, Little Hoover Commission; 2018 Stanford Fellow, Distinguished Career Institute
Kristin Olsen, Stanislaus County Supervisor; former Assembly Republican Leader; Partner, California Strategies
Caroline L. Whistler, CEO and Co-Founder, Third Sector
Jay Harris, President & Publisher, Public Intelligence, Inc.; former CEO & publisher, Mother Jones; 2018 Fellow, Stanford Distinguished Career Institute
Laura N. Chick, former Ca Inspector General for federal stimulus funds; former L.A. City Councilmember; former LA City Controller
Elisabeth Mason, Venture Philanthropist; Founding Director of the Stanford Technology, Opportunity and Poverty Lab, Stanford University
Carla Javits, President and CEO, REDF
Dowell Myers, Professor of Policy, Planning, and Demography, Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC
Radhika Shah, CoPresident Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, Founding Chair, Tech Advisory Group Stanford Handa Center for Human Rights, Advisor SDG Philanthropy Platform
Kristin Connelly, President and CEO, East Bay Leadership Council*
Joel Fox, Founder and Editor,
Drew Liebert, former Chief Counsel, California Assembly Judiciary Committee
Natalie Foster, Co-chair, Economic Security Project; Advisor, The Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative
Mark Herbert, California Director, Small Business Majority
Miriam Kuppermann, Professor and Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Dept. of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, UCSF
Steve Westly, Former California State Controller; Founder of the Westly Group
Dan Schnur, Professor, Annenberg School of Communications, University of Southern California; former Chairman, California Fair Political Practices Commission
Bill Shireman, President/CEO Future 500; Lecturer, U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business
Marcie Gutierrez, Architect; Small business owner; Mentor, East Bay College Fund; Concerned parent
Julia Lopez, former President and CEO, College Futures Foundation
Vanessa Aramayo, Executive Director, Alliance for A Better Community
Melissa R. Michelson, Professor of Political Science, Menlo College, Author
Malka Kopell, Co-Founder, Civity
Heather McLeod Grant, Co-Founder, Open Impact
Roger Niello, Business Owner; former State Assemblyman; former County Supervisor
Megan Joseph, Executive Director, Rise Together Bay Area
David Wolf, Executive Director Emeritus, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (Western Association of Schools and Colleges); Co-Founder, Campaign for College Opportunity
Terri Feeley, Founder and Principal, Workforce Success; former Executive Director, SF Works
Deb Nankivell, CEO, Fresno Business Council
Todd Dipaola, CEO and Founder, inMarket; Co-Chair, Represent.Us*
Norman Kline, Founder and CEO, LibraryWorld, Inc.; former Mayor, City of Saratoga
Ted Lempert, President, Children Now; Co-founder, former CEO, EdVoice; former California State Assemblyman
Nora Silver, Founder and Faculty Director, Center for Social Sector Leadership, UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business
Mari Perez-Dowling, President & CEO, United Way of Kern County
Rick London, President & CEO, United Way of San Luis Obispo County
Eric Harrison, President & CEO, United Way of Ventura County
Megan Timpany, President & CEO, United Way of Nevada County
Keisha Frost, President & CEO, United Way of Santa Cruz County
Rosemary Caso, President & CEO, United Way of Tulare County
Stephanie McLemore Bray, President & CEO, United Way California Capital Region
Elise Buik, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Eddie Taylor, President & CEO, Northern Santa Barbara County United Way
Anne Wilson, President & CEO, United Way Bay Area
Pete Manzo, President & CEO, United Ways of California
Micah Weinberg, President, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
Michael Andrade, Writer/Artist
William Pace, Former Board Chair and Current Advisory Board Member, Pacific Community Ventures; Former Senior Fellow, Encore
Autumn McDonald, Director, New America CA
Roy Ulrich, President, California Tax Reform Association
Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director, SPUR
Jamie Gardner, CEO, Gardner Consulting; Executive Advisor, X Sector Labs
Larry Kubal, Founder and Managing Partner, Labrador Ventures
Dianne M. Millner, former Board President of Disability Rights California; 2018 Fellow, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute
Helen F. Neville, BS, Retired Kaiser Nurse, Concerned Baby Boomer
Thomas Ehrlich, Adjunct Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education; President Emeritus, Indiana University; Former Dean, Stanford Law School
Casey Beyer, CEO, Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce
Margi Power, Governing Board Member, Hillsborough City School District; Program Director, Leadership San Mateo, Foster City, Burlingame and Hillsborough
Jessica Eastman Stewart, Executive Director, GO Public Schools Oakland
Patrice Berry, FUSE Executive Fellow, Office of Mayor Libby Schaaf; former Director, College Track, East Palo Alto
Travis Moore, Founder and Director, TechCongress
Ernie Ludy, CEO, 10xHealth
Valerie Kane, Policy Analyst
Deborah S. Mintz, Chief Advancement Officer, Beyond 12
Solana Rice, Director of State & Local Policy, Prosperity Now*
Marci Harris, CEO and Co-Founder, POPVOX
Sean Kline, Director, San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment
John Pimentel, President, White Hat Renewables; Co-founder, Independent Alliance for California
Michela Bedard, My New Red Shoes
Kay O'Neill, Senior Strategist, Workforce and Economic Development at MYND.Global; former Director, workforce development, Cañada Community College
Kunal Merchant, Managing Director, Lotus Advisory
Terre Beynart, Software Engineer, UC Berkeley (retired)
Gabe Kleinman, Director of Portfolio Services & Marketing, Obvious Ventures
Pam Calloway, Executive Director, The Bread Project
Bob Lanter, Executive Director, California Workforce Association
Pete Weldy, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Tom Sadler, Retired Partner Latham & Watkins, LLP; 2016 Fellow Stanford Distinguished Career Institute
Jonathan Hasak, Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Year Up
Peter Ortiz, Year Up
Reginald Tucker-Seeley, Assistant Professor, USC
Michele Godwin, Students Rising Above
Ed Durkee, Goodwill, Central Coast
Carolina Martin, Students Rising Above
Christopher J. Nellum, Senior Director, Higher Education; The Education Trust—West*
Jake Segal, Vice President, Social Finance
Alison Schmitt, UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy
Ana Bertha Gutierrez, Associate Director, Economic Mobility @ JFF
Marsha Vande Berg, Former Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Pension (and Investment) Institute; 2016-17 Fellow Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute
Marty Alvarado, JFF
Jim Cunneen, Former California State Assemblyman
David deWilde, former CEO and Founder, Chartwell Partners Int’l.; former President, Government National Mortgage Association (‘Ginnie Mae’); former EVP, Fannie Mae
Nick deWilde, Managing Partner, Tradecraft
Ashley Green, Tech & policy professional; Millennial who cares deeply about the future of CA
Kevin Salwen, Author, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist; former Fellow, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute
Lisa McNally
Zac Zeitlin, Partner, New Ground Ventures
Stewart Stranberg
David Waksberg, Jewish LearningWorks
Jared Levy, Social Venture Circle
Elliot Hoffman, Founder/former CEO, Just Desserts, San Francisco; Founder/CEO, REV
Marc Lesser, CEO, ZBA Associates LLC
Jill Portman, Shake It Up Brands!
Kalyne Foster Renda, Non-profit Director
Egon Terplan, SPUR
Dominic P. Renda, Jr., Founder and CEO, Oceanseed Project
Louis Newman, Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Stanford University
Stephen Levy, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy
Howard Wollner, NPR Foundation; Continuing Fellow, Distinguished Careers Institute Stanford University; Senior Vice President (Retired), Starbucks Coffee Company
Kate Schwass, GreenLight Fund
Tracey Grose, Founding Principal, TG Strategic Insights; former Vice President, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
Ryan Rauzon, Communications
Soren Juul Jorgensen, Fellow, Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Stanford University; Founder, ForestAvenue
Theresa Nelson, Nonprofit consultant and community activist
Karen Hayes, Marketing
Cameron Washington, Video producer and filmmaker
David Vasquez-Levy, President, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California
Karen Alden, Early Learning Advocate; Founder, Good2Know Network
Laura Powell, Executive Recruiter and Nonprofit Management Consultant
Angeli Fitch, Attorney
Melissa Jones, Executive Director, Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative
Susie Faries, CEO, SciMed Partners, Inc.

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