Non-profit

PICO California

Location:

Sacramento, CA

Tax ID:

84-3224688

Type:

Religious group

PICO California is a left-of-center advocacy coalition comprised of local religious groups in California that advocates for left-of-center policies on racial policy, economic issues, and education.

In July of 2020, the Sandler Foundation announced that it would be donating $200 million to so-called “racial justice” organizations in response to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. The Sandler Foundation named PICO California as one of its eight grant recipients. [1]

Background

Established in 1994, PICO California is one of 17 state affiliates of the PICO National Network (now known as Faith In Action). [2] [3] PICO California claims to be the “largest multi-racial faith-based community-organizing network” in the United States. PICO trains leaders to advocate for left-of-center social policies, especially as they relate to “racial justice.” [4]

PICO California is involved in 73 cities, 35 school districts, and more than 75 percent of the state’s legislative districts. PICO claims to represent 480 interfaith congregations, schools, and neighborhood institutions representing over 450,000 families. [5]

Advocacy

PICO California advocates for a range of left-of-center policies including increased government-funded housing, subsidized health care, union-aligned education policy, an increased minimum wage, and leniency in criminal justice. [6]

After the 2016 presidential election, PICO California issued a press release claiming that then-President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign was “fear-mongering built upon racism, xenophobia, and misogyny.” [7]

PICO California has supported left-of-center tax policies in California in recent years. In 2020, PICO California advocated in favor of Proposition 15 on the California ballot, which would amend the tax-limitation provisions of 1978 California Proposition 13. The amendment would allow commercial property to be taxed at an increasing rate over time, rather than continuously taxed at the property’s value at the time it was purchased, to raise state tax revenues. [8] PICO California has also called for the California to increase taxes by 1% on the top three tax brackets, in addition to imposing a “wealth tax.” [9]

PICO California has also advocated for left-of-center criminal justice policies. Jennifer Martinez, a staff member at PICO California, argued that California should “heed the call of the Black Lives Matter movement” by redirecting funds used for policing and incarceration towards expanding social programs. [10] In 2017, PICO California collaborated with Liberation, Action, Respect, Equity and Dignity (LA Red) to send 400 people to the state capitol building in Sacramento to demonstrate in support of the California Values Act, better known as the “sanctuary state” law, that declared that California would not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. [11]

Funding

PICO California lists the California Department of Social Services and the California Office of Emergency Services, two publicly funded state government agencies, among its donors. [12]

PICO California has also received donations from left-of-center grantmaking foundations, including the California Endowment, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, the Ford Foundation, the East Bay Community Foundation, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Borealis Philanthropy, the Akonadi Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Aside from grantmaking organizations, PICO California has received funding from California-based political activism groups including ICE Out of California, SEIU Local 2015, the California Immigrant Policy Center, the California Calls Education Fund, the California Community Foundation, and Californians for Safety and Justice. National left-of-center advocacy organizations, including the left-wing Advancement Project and the National Immigration Law Center, have also donated to PICO California. [13]

In 2016, the California Endowment, the California Wellness Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the Rosenberg Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Weingart Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation gave PICO California $1.3 million to expand its “Building Trust Through Reform” initiative, developed to improve relations between police officers and ethnic minority communities. The funding allowed the Oakland-based initiative to expand to 12 additional California cities. [14] 

In July 2020, the Sandler Foundation donated $200 million to “racial justice groups” in response to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, including PICO California as one of eight recipients. The funding is designed to help recipients advocate for left-of-center policies in battleground states and create long-term constituencies to support left-of-center racial justice initiatives. [15]

Leadership

Ben McBride and Joseph McKellar are the co-directors of PICO California. [16] McBride is the former co-chairman of the Racial Identity Profiling Board, which was appointed by U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D) in California. [17]

References

  1. Herndon, Astead W. “Progressive Donor Susan Sandler to Give $200 Million to Racial Justice Groups,” September 14, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/14/us/politics/Susan-Sandler-donation-racial-justice.html. ^
  2. PICO California. Act Local. Accessed October 10, 2020. https://www.actlocal.network/organizations/pico-california ^
  3. PICO National Network. Organizing Careers. Accessed October 11, 2020. http://www.organizingcareers.org/page?id=0003 ^
  4. Our Mission. PICO California. Accessed October 11, 2020. http://www.picocalifornia.org/mission ^
  5. Our Mission. PICO California. Accessed October 11, 2020. http://www.picocalifornia.org/mission ^
  6. Our Mission. PICO California. Accessed October 11, 2020. http://www.picocalifornia.org/mission ^
  7. Press Release. “Faith Groups Plan to Turn Up the Heat in the Face of a Trump Presidency.” November 9, 2016. Accessed October 11, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/570297e3356fb075150a7893/t/5876c04215d5dbddbdac05b3/1484177474578/STMT+-+PICO+California+Statement+On+The+Presidential+Election+11.9.2016.pdf ^
  8. CBS LA Staff. “Election 2020: Opinions Remain Split on California Prop. 15 Economic Impact.” KCAL 9 Los Angeles. September 14, 2020. Accessed October 11, 2020. https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/09/14/prop-15-election-2020-property-tax/ ^
  9. Martinez, Jennifer and Livingston, Christina. “Here is What Legislators Can Do to Choose an Equitable Recovery for California.” CalMatters. August 12, 2020. Accessed October 11, 2020. https://calmatters.org/commentary/my-turn/2020/08/here-is-what-legislators-can-do-to-choose-an-equitable-recovery-for-california/ ^
  10. Martinez, Jennifer and Livingston, Christina. “Here is What Legislators Can Do to Choose an Equitable Recovery for California.” CalMatters. August 12, 2020. Accessed October 11, 2020. https://calmatters.org/commentary/my-turn/2020/08/here-is-what-legislators-can-do-to-choose-an-equitable-recovery-for-california/ ^
  11. https://cogsocialjustice.wordpress.com/2017/08/26/pico-california-day-of-action-august-23-2017/ ^
  12. PICO California. Act Local. Accessed October 10, 2020. https://www.actlocal.network/organizations/pico-california ^
  13. PICO California. Act Local. Accessed October 10, 2020. https://www.actlocal.network/organizations/pico-california ^
  14. https://sff.org/seven-california-foundations-to-fund-effort-to-build-trust-between-law-enforcement-and-communities-of-color/ ^
  15. Herndon, Astead W. “Progressive Donor Susan Sandler to Give $200 Million to Racial Justice Groups,” September 14, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/14/us/politics/Susan-Sandler-donation-racial-justice.html. ^
  16. Our Staff. PICO California. Accessed October 11, 2020. http://www.picocalifornia.org/staff ^
  17. West, Keegan. “Black Leaders Meet for Virtual Town Hall to Discuss Systematic Racism and Police Brutality Hosted by Local NAACP.” Lavoz. June 10, 2020. Accessed October 11, 2020. https://lavozdeanza.com/story-carousel/news/2020/06/10/black-leaders-met-for-virtual-town-hall-to-discuss-systematic-racism-and-police-brutality-hosted-by-local-naacp/ ^
  See an error? Let us know!

PICO California


Sacramento, CA