Non-profit

Guarding Against Pandemics

Website:

www.againstpandemics.org

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Founder:

Gabe Bankman-Fried

Organization Type:

Lobbying Group

Guarding Against Pandemics is a left-leaning advocacy created in 2020 to support legislation that increases government investment in pandemic prevention plans. The organization was created to support a specific proposal by the Biden administration to allocate $30 billion in federal funding for the containment of future pandemic outbreaks. The organization was founded and is funded by cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried and directed by his brother, Gabe Bankman-Fried. [1] [2]

Background

Guarding Against Pandemics was created as an arm of the advocacy giving network of Sam Bankman-Fried, an American cryptocurrency billionaire who lives in Hong Kong. The organization was founded to support the $30 billion in funding for public health projects to prevent future pandemics in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill proposed by the Biden administration. The organization initially launched by announcing plans to spend at least $128,000 in advertisements pushing the proposal in the Washington, D.C., region. Sam Bankman-Fried hired his brother, former democratic congressional staffer Gabe Bankman-Fried, to run the organization. [3]

The organization is among the first that Sam Bankman-Fried, who gave his first-ever political donations in 2020 to three left-leaning organizations and political action committees. His 2020 donations totaled $5.6 million to the Vote Tripling PAC, the Center for Essential Information, and Future Forward USA. Sam Bankman-Fried also runs an organization called Mind the Gap, which coordinates funding efforts of other Silicon Valley billionaires. [4]

Policy Stances

The main policy supported by Guarding Against Pandemics is supporting the proposed $30 billion for pandemic preparedness in the reconciliation legislation proposed by the Biden administration and congressional democrats in the summer and fall of 2021. [5] The organization spent an initial $150,000 to broadcast ads supporting the funding bill in the Washington, D.C., area as well as in the home states of key Senate Democrats, such as Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). [6]

Items the organization claims will be funded by the federal spending will include early vaccine development for known pathogens, development of more effective masks, investments in air filtration in buildings, and advance development of testing. [7]

Denver Ballot Initiative

The organization, referred to by local media in Denver as a “dark money” group, also funded a ballot initiative to add an additional 1.5% to the marijuana sales tax in the City of Denver to direct funds for pandemic research at the University of Colorado Denver CityCenter, and has put around $500,000 towards the effort. [8]

People

Sam Bankman-Fried is the principal funder of Guarding Against Pandemics. He made his fortune by creating the FTX crypto exchange and is worth over $26 billion as of October 2021. Bankman-Fried had not been a well-known political donor until 2020, when he donated $5 million to Future Forward USA, a left-leaning political action committee. Bankman-Fried is described as having a utilitarian worldview that directs his giving, focusing on projects that create “wins” for the donor rather than traditional charitable giving. In 2021, he created Guarding Against Pandemics to promote government investment in pandemic research projects and also runs Mind the Gap, a left-leaning funding collective for other tech billionaires. [9]

Gabe Bankman-Fried is the brother of Sam Bankman-Fried and the executive director of Guarding Against Pandemics. He is a former legislative correspondent for Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) and also worked for Democratic Party-aligned consulting firm Civis Analytics. [10] [11]

References

  1. “Guarding Against Pandemics.” Effective Altruism. September 21, 2021. Accessed October 20, 2021. https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/Btm562wDNEuWXj9Gk/guarding-against-pandemics ^
  2. “Home.” Guarding Against Pandemics.” Accessed October 21, 2021. https://www.againstpandemics.org/ ^
  3. “The young crypto billionaire who wants to change political fundraising.” Jewish Insider. July 28, 2021. Accessed October 20, 2021. https://jewishinsider.com/2021/07/the-young-crypto-billionaire-who-wants-to-change-political-fundraising/ ^
  4. “The young crypto billionaire who wants to change political fundraising.” Jewish Insider. July 28, 2021. Accessed October 20, 2021. https://jewishinsider.com/2021/07/the-young-crypto-billionaire-who-wants-to-change-political-fundraising/ ^
  5. “Home.” Guarding Agaisnt Pandemics.” Accessed October 21, 2021. https://www.againstpandemics.org/ ^
  6. Roarty, Alex. “Advocacy group launches ads pushing Manchin, other Democrats to back pandemic funding.” McClatchy DC. August 17, 2021. Accessed October 21, 2021. https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article253550539.html ^
  7. “Home.” Guarding Against Pandemics.” Accessed October 21, 2021. https://www.againstpandemics.org/ ^
  8. McCormick-Cavanagh, Conor. “Dark Money Group Pouring Plenty of Green Into Denver Pot Tax Initiative.” Westword. June 22, 2021. Accessed October 21, 2021. https://www.westword.com/news/denver-marijuana-dark-money-ballot-guarding-against-pandemics-tax-12003508 ^
  9. Schleifer, Theodore. “How a crypto billionaire decided to become one of Biden’s biggest donors.”  https://www.vox.com/recode/2021/3/20/22335209/sam-bankman-fried-joe-biden-ftx-cryptocurrency-effective-altruism ^
  10. “Gabriel D. Bankman-Fried.” Legistorm. Accessed March 20, 2021. https://www.legistorm.com/person/bio/317126/Gabriel_D_Bankman_Fried.html ^
  11. “Gabriel Bankman-Fried.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed March 20, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabriel-bankman-fried-39ba35159/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  See an error? Let us know!