In an industry that’s been careful not to play political favourites, it’s not hard to guess who Silicon Valley will be voting for in 2016. With the exception of Peter Thiel, “The Donald” is scaring Silicon Valley leaders. A lot.
It should be a good match. After all, Donald Trump is the poster-boy for capitalism and less government. And the new philanthropists from Silicon Valley (while reportedly much more generous with their wealth) aren’t averse to the wages of capitalism. And frankly, they just want to be left alone to go about their business. But that’s where the similarity ends.
|Republican Party nominee Donald Trump (left) and Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton (right)|
Silicon Valley unites against Trump
Trump’s vocal anti-immigration stance is the prime reason he has the tech industry worried. In particular, his claim that the H1-B visas have to go has alarm bells ringing up and down the valley. It’s estimated that each H1-B salary offers a savings of $30,000 a year and that these hires are 100x more impactful than their counterparts.
Trump’s policies spell trouble for thought leadership and bottom lines in Silicon Valley, where 37.4% of the population is foreign-born (albeit not all on H1-B visas).
His staunch support of law enforcement in the FBI/Apple issue didn’t win him a lot of fans in the area, either.
Clinton’s love-letter to Silicon Valley
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton’s tech policy and wooing of the industry stand her in good stead with the tech giants. (You can check in on their courtship via Hillary’s love-letter to the industry).
And, Clinton comes with philanthropy creds. Hillary Clinton’s commitment to helping women could be a turning point for women in the U.S. and worldwide if this level of focus is shared by Silicon Valley philanthropists.
|Hillary campaign CTO Stephanie Hannon, red scarf right of center, poses with supporters. Photo Credit: Hillary for America.|
Why the outcome matters to philanthropy
The most important reason the 2016 election matters to philanthropy? Government has less and less to spend. The Clinton entourage has experience and proven success in brokering deals and bringing government, corporate and non-profit sectors together.
The potential impact of Silicon Valley philanthropy is staggering, given this opportunity. David Callahan provides an inspiring look at the possibilities in Inside Philanthropy.
|Philanthropists participate in a Plan Bay Area Public Meeting in Mountain View, CA. Photos Credit: Noah Berger.|
Why then, does 2016 matter so little?
In a nutshell, Silicon Valley philanthropists simply march to their own tune. Engineered solutions to the world’s problems. Disruption and risk-taking. A hands-on approach to giving. Corporate structures for philanthropy. These are all hallmarks of the new philanthropy that Silicon Valley has invented and embraced.
And whether you’re for it or not, this style of giving, born and bred in Silicon Valley by young, determined industry leaders, won’t stand or fall based on the next occupant of the White House.