Person

Caitlin Heising

Location:

California

Occupation:

Philanthropist

Caitlin Heising is the daughter of Liz Simons and Mark Heising, left-progressive advocacy philanthropists and the founders of the Heising-Simons Foundation. As a vice chair of the foundation, she develops philanthropic programs focusing on human rights and left-of-center criminal justice policy. [1]

Heising is on the board of Human Rights Watch and a member of the advisory council for the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ). [2] Human Rights Watch is a left-of-center investigative and advocacy group. [3] RBIJ is an advocacy organization focusing on prison and criminal reform. [4]

In 2020, Heising donated more than $500,000 to the Democratic Party and several Democratic candidates.

Background and Education

Caitlin Heising is the daughter of Liz Simons, a former teacher and daughter of billionaire James Simons, and Mark Heising, the founder of investment firm Medley Partners. Mark Heising and Liz Simons have an estimated net worth of $3 billion. [5] They are both major Democratic Party donors, contributing more than $4.5 million to Democratic interests in 2020. [6]

Caitlin Heising earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Brown University in 2012. While at Brown she took a summer course on Propaganda in Media and Culture at Stanford University. [7]

In 2016, Heising was a research fellow at the Institute for the Future, doing research on the future of philanthropy and social innovation. [8]

In 2020, Heising earned a Master of Public Administration with a focus on social impact from the London School of Economics and Political Science. [9]

Career

In 2014, Heising became vice chair of her family’s Heising-Simons Foundation. [10] The foundation is a family philanthropy based in Los Altos and San Francisco, California established in 2007 by Heising’s parents, Liz Simons and her husband, Mark Heising. Their daughter Caitlin asked to join the board of the foundation after she graduated from Brown University. [11] She is developing philanthropic programs focusing on human rights and criminal justice reform. [12] In 2021, the foundation awarded more than $134.5 million. [13] Of that, $24.7 million was devoted to initiatives focused on prison reform and criminal justice. [14]

In 2015, Heising became a founding member of Maverick Collective, an initiative of Population Services International (PSI). [15] Maverick Collective is an organization of women philanthropists who focus on health and reproductive rights for women and girls in developing countries. [16] Impact areas include reproductive health including abortion and birth control access, non-communicable diseases, gender-based violence, and maternal and child health. [17]

From 2015 to 2018, Heising was a research project manager for Article 3 Advisors, [18] a consultancy focusing on human rights philanthropy, connecting donors to nonprofits in the human rights space. [19]

In 2017, Heising joined the board of Human Rights Watch, [20] a left-of-center investigative and advocacy group with a 2021 budget of $97 million. [21] The Ford Foundation donated $500,000 to Human Rights Watch in 2019. [22] Other donors include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation the, Heising-Simons Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National Philanthropic Trust, and the New Venture Fund (NVF). [23]

In 2020, Heising joined the advisory council for the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ). [24] RBIJ is an advocacy organization focusing on prison and criminal reform. Its campaigns include advocating for an end to the death penalty, sealing criminal records, decarceration of prisoners to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and ending the use of cash bail. [25] Heising developed a grantmaking program focused on human rights and criminal justice reform in the U.S. [26]

Inside Philanthropy referred to Heising as a “Successor,” an heir who is engaged in the family philanthropy alongside her parents, in preparation for eventually taking on a leadership role. The Heising-Simons Foundation made $127 million in grants in 2020. The only three board members are Caitlin Heising and her parents. [27]

Political Contributions

In 2020 Heising made several contributions to Democratic candidates. She donated $250,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, $247,200 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and several smaller amounts totaling $13,200 to the presidential campaign of Joe Biden and the senatorial campaigns of Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and Jaime Harrison (D) in South Carolina. She also gave to WFP IE Committee, a political action committee associated with the Working Families Party (WFP). [28]

References

  1. Joanne Kaufman. “Learning to Bridge a Generation Gap in Philanthropy.” New York Times. July 14, 2017. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/your-money/family-foundations-philanthropy.html ^
  2. “Caitlin Heising.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/caitlin-heising/ ^
  3. “About Us.” Human Rights Watch. Accessed February 18, 2022. https://www.hrw.org/about/about-us ^
  4. Responsible Business Initiative for Justice website. Accessed February 18, 2022. https://www.responsiblebusinessinitiative.org/ ^
  5. Liz Simons and Mark Heising. GlassPockets. Accessed March 12, 2021. http://glasspockets.org/philanthropy-in-focus/eye-on-the-giving-pledge/profiles/liz-simons-and-mark-heising ^
  6. “Who are the Biggest Donors?” Open Secrets. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/elections-overview/biggest-donors?cycle=2020&view=fc ^
  7. “Caitlin Heising.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/caitlin-heising/ ^
  8. “Caitlin Heising.” Heising-Simons Foundation – About – Our People. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.hsfoundation.org/person/caitlin-heising/ ^
  9. “Caitlin Heising.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/caitlin-heising/ ^
  10. “Caitlin Heising.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/caitlin-heising/ ^
  11. Joanne Kaufman. “Learning to Bridge a Generation Gap in Philanthropy.” New York Times. July 14, 2017. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/14/your-money/family-foundations-philanthropy.html ^
  12. Audrey Chang. “Philanthropists step up in COVID fight: Los Altos foundation surpasses $500M in targeted giving.” Los Altos Town Crier. May 13, 2020. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.losaltosonline.com/community/philanthropists-step-up-in-covid-fight-los-altos-foundation-surpasses-500m-in-targeted-giving/article_e16cf7b6-0c50-5fc8-bb3e-2910d0fbb9d5.html ^
  13. “About.” Heising-Simons Foundation. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.hsfoundation.org/about/ ^
  14. “Programs – Human Rights.” Heising-Simons Foundation. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.hsfoundation.org/programs/human-rights/ ^
  15. “Caitlin Heising.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/caitlin-heising/ ^
  16. “About.” Maverick Collective website. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://maverickcollective.org/about/ ^
  17. “Our Impact Areas.” Maverick Collective an Initiative of PSI. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://maverickcollective.org/impact/ ^
  18. “Caitlin Heising.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/caitlin-heising/ ^
  19. Article 3 Advisors website. Accessed February 17, 2022. http://www.article3advisors.com/ ^
  20. “Caitlin Heising.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/caitlin-heising/ ^
  21. “2021 Annual Report.” Human Rights Watch – Financials. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.hrw.org/financials ^
  22. Ford Foundation. Return of Private Foundation. (Form 990-PF – Part XV). 2019. ^
  23. “Human Rights Watch.” ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer. Accessed February 18, 2022. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/full_text_search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=human+rights+watch ^
  24. “Caitlin Heising.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/caitlin-heising/ ^
  25. “Campaigns.” Responsible Business Initiative for Justice. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.responsiblebusinessinitiative.org/rbij-campaigns ^
  26. “Advisory Council.” Responsible Business Initiative for Justice. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.responsiblebusinessinitiative.org/advisory-council ^
  27. David Callahan. “The Most Powerful Heirs in Philanthropy.” Inside Philanthropy. January 19, 2022. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2022/1/19/the-most-powerful-heirs-in-philanthropy ^
  28. “Caitlin Heising.” Federal Election Commission Individual Contributions. Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=caitlin+heising ^
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