James W. Head standing in front of the East Bay Community Foundation building

If Not Now, Then When?

Policy changes that move us closer to EBCF’s “A Just East Bay”

In reflecting on the events surrounding COVID-19 and ongoing social protests advocating for justice, I have heard a number of people recently pose the question “If not now, when?” in response to the prospect of creating meaningful change. Having heard this question before – uttered from the mouths of politicians and civic leaders alike – I decided to look it up. The origin of the phrase is attributed to Rabbi Hillel the Elder, a first century Jewish scholar. In the simplest terms, this poignant question is the perfect rallying cry for our times, and one that we should all be shouting.

Recent EBCF Board action to allocate additional funding to policy and advocacy efforts in the coming November election holds true to this saying.

Today, there are a number of statewide and local ballot initiatives that if approved, would provide concrete pathways to address the racial, health, and economic disparities revealed by the pandemic, as well as the social justice protests. Among them are state ballot initiatives Proposition 15 (the Schools and Communities First Initiative) and Proposition 16 (The Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment). The $750,000 approved by EBCF’s Board of Trustees will be allocated among a number of state and local campaigns, as well as to organizations that are working to pass these initiatives by focusing on voter education and turnout among new and infrequent voters often overlooked in the electoral process.

If successful, the additional public dollars (prop 15) and policy changes towards racial equality (prop 16) will continue the movement towards a fair and just California for all.
We hope you will join us in supporting these important steps forward and as always, we welcome your questions and comments.
James W. Head
President and Chief Executive Officer
East Bay Community Foundation