As a society, we're all in one boat, says asset manager, Tom Steyer. "If part of the boat is leaking, the whole boat is leaking."
Steyer turned early to helping plug the leaks in society’s boat after founding global investment firm Farallon Capital Management. The combined influence of a father on Wall Street and a mother working in New York City’s most challenged public schools led him to begin his philanthropy in earnest by starting a community development bank, One PacificCoast Bank, with his wife, Kathryn Taylor. The bank's reach has expanded quickly from the Steyers’ neighboring community of Oakland due to its strong leadership—a must for nonprofit success, says Steyer.
Community banking is one of three causes – “good food, good banking, and good energy,” – that anchors Steyer’s philanthropy in order to narrow the rich-poor divide and address the moral blind spots of our generation.
Steyer’s efforts to ensure there will be “good food” and “good energy” for future generations have led him down diverse paths. He has broached the world of California state politics to fight for the environment on multiple occasions. At the same time, miles from the state capital, Steyer and Kathryn Taylor own a 2,000 acre ranch, where they are conducting a “huge science experiment” on the right way to raise healthy animals for eating.
For Steyer, raising animals, taking on oil companies over legislation, and starting a bank don’t seem like philanthropy. Instead, “it’s really trying to accomplish the things you care about and who wouldn’t want to do that?”