Person

Mark Heising

Organization:

Co-founder, Heising-Simons Foundation

Occupation:

American investor, philanthropist and major Democratic Party donor

Wife:

Liz Simons

Mark W. Heising and his wife Liz Simons are eight-figure annual contributors to Democratic and left-leaning advocacy organizations. [1] [2]  As of March 2021, Heising was the chair of the board for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). [3] [4]

Heising and Simons are co-founders of the Heising-Simons Foundation and use it to fund left-leaning climate policy organizations. Examples from 2018 include $5.1 million to the Environmental Defense Fund, $4.5 million to the Natural Resources Defense Council, $1.9 million to the New Venture Fund, and $150,000 to the Center for American Progress. [5]  [6]

The advocacy arm of the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Heising-Simons Action Fund, gave a combined $6.1 million during the 2018 and 2020 election cycles to Democratic and left-of-center political committees. Examples included Community Change Voters, the Senate Majority PAC, the House Majority PAC, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. [7] [8]

Heising personally gave nearly $1.5 million during the 2020 election cycle to Democratic political committees, such as those promoting the successful presidential campaign of President Joe Biden, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. [9]

Background

According to Glass Pockets (a subsidiary of the nonprofit recordkeeping service Foundation Center), Mark Heising and his wife, Liz Simons, have an estimated net worth of $3 billion. The couple appeared on the Forbes list of America’s 50 Top Givers, along with Heising’s in-laws (Simons’ parents) James Simons and Marilyn Simons. When both couples appeared on the 2016 list, it marked the first time the same family appeared in two spots on the list. [10]  [11] [12]

Heising is an electrical engineer and computer scientist, and owns six U.S. patents. [13] [14] He founded the private equity firm Medley Partners in 2004, initially to help his in-laws manage their investments. [15] [16] He was also the founder of a company that designed and licensed cryptographic integrated circuits, and has held positions at Quickturn Design Systems, Cylink, and Proximity Designs. [17] [18]

Heising has been a member of the board of trustees for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) since 2011, and as of March 2021 was the chair of the EDF board. [19] [20] He has also held board positions with the Bipartisan Policy Center, and corporations such as the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. [21] [22] Heising’s father-in-law, James Simons, is the founder of Renaissance Technologies, and in 2019 Forbes ranked the firm as the highest-earning manager of a hedge fund. [23]

Funding Left-Wing Interests

Heising and Liz Simons are eight-figure annual donors to Democratic political committees and left-of-center advocacy organizations. [24] [25]

Heising-Simons Foundation

Heising and Simons founded the Heising-Simons Foundation in 2007, largely with funding from trusts that her father established. The organization is based in Los Altos, California. Since 2007 it has given more than $618 million to educational institutions, scientific research, and advocates of left-leaning climate policy. In 2020, the Foundation awarded more than $113 million in grants. [26]  [27]  [28]

Examples of the Heising-Simons Foundation’s left-of-center donations in 2018 include the Environmental Defense Fund ($5.1 million), the Natural Resources Defense Council ($4.5 million), Third Sector New England / TSNE MissionWorks ($3.1 million), the Energy Foundation ($2.3 million), the New Venture Fund ($1.9 million), the Rocky Mountain Institute ($790,000), the Union of Concerned Scientists ($350,000) and the Center for American Progress ($150,000). [29]

Additional examples of the foundation’s 2018 donations included $325,000 to the Bipartisan Policy Center and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. [30] [31]

As of March 2021, the foundation had three board members: Mark Heising, Liz Simons, and Caitlin Heising. [32]

Heising-Simons Action Fund

The Heising-Simons Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Heising-Simons Foundation. As of March 2021, Mark Heising was a board member for both organizations. [33]

According to OpenSecrets.org, a campaign finance recordkeeping service, the Heising-Simons Action Fund gave $3.3 million to Democratic and left-of-center political committees during the 2020 election cycle. Examples included $1.1 million to Community Change Voters, $505,000 to the Senate Majority PAC (which promotes Democrats for the U.S. Senate), $500,000 to the House Majority PAC (which promotes Democrats for the U.S. House), $250,000 to the Win Justice PAC, and $248,550 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Similarly, for the 2018 election cycle, OpenSecrets.org shows $2.8 million in donations from the Heising-Simons Action Fund to some of the same Democratic and left-of-center political committees. [34] [35]

Direct Political Giving

According to records from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Heising personally gave nearly $1.3 million during the 2020 election cycle to Democratic political committees. At least $360,000 of this total was given to committees promoting the successful presidential campaign of President Joe Biden. Other recipients of his largest contributions included the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. [36]

In June 2018, Heising and Simons hosted a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising event at their home in Atherton, California, that featured former President Barack Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The event raised $2.5 million for Democrats and tickets to attend ranged from $10,000 to $237,000. [37]

In the 2018 midterm election cycle, Heising contributed $500,000 to the House Majority PAC and $500,000 to the Senate Majority PAC. [38]

During the 2016 election, Heising donated $500,000 to Priorities USA Action, a left-leaning political action committee. [39] Also during the 2016 election cycle, Heising contributed $500,000 to the Senate Majority PAC (which promotes Democrats for the U.S. Senate), $250,000 to American Bridge 21st Century, and $125,000 to the House Majority PAC (which promotes Democrats for the U.S. House). [40]

In 2014, Heising donated a total of $15,000 to Ready for Hillary and $500,000 to American Bridge 21st Century. [41]

References

  1. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. Heising-Simons Foundation. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/260/799/2018-260799587-17040220-F.pdf?_ga=2.172021347.1717283725.1602968262-658054072.1598817496 ^
  2. “Summary: Heising-Simons Foundation: 2020.” Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets). Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/heising-simons-foundation/summary?id=D000068814 ^
  3. Press Release. “Heising to Become New Chair of Environmental Defense Fund.” Environmental Defense Fund. February 4, 2020. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.edf.org/media/heising-become-new-chair-environmental-defense-fund ^
  4. “Board of Trustees.” Environmental Defense Fund. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.edf.org/board-trustees ^
  5. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. Heising-Simons Foundation. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/260/799/2018-260799587-17040220-F.pdf?_ga=2.172021347.1717283725.1602968262-658054072.1598817496 ^
  6. “About.” Heising-Simons Foundation. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://www.hsfoundation.org/about/ ^
  7. “Summary: Heising-Simons Foundation: 2018.” Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets). Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/heising-simons-foundation/summary?topnumcycle=2018&contribcycle=2020&lobcycle=2020&outspendcycle=2020&id=D000068814&toprecipcycle=2018 ^
  8. “Summary: Heising-Simons Foundation: 2020.” Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets). Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/heising-simons-foundation/summary?id=D000068814 ^
  9. “Individual Contributions: Mark Heising: 2019-2021.” Federal Election Commission. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=mark+heising&two_year_transaction_period=2020 ^
  10. Savchuk, Katia. “Two Generations Of Givers: How The Simons Family Passed On The Philanthropy Gene.” Forbes. October 5, 2016. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/katiasavchuk/2016/10/05/two-generations-of-givers-how-the-simons-family-passed-on-the-philanthropy-gene/?sh=3c1946ba3701 ^
  11. Mark Heising. Heising-Simons Foundation. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.hsfoundation.org/person/mark-heising/ ^
  12. 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 ^
  13. Mark Heising. Heising-Simons Foundation. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.hsfoundation.org/person/mark-heising/ ^
  14. Mark Heising. Heising-Simons Foundation. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.hsfoundation.org/person/mark-heising/ ^
  15. 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 ^
  16. Press Release. “Heising to Become New Chair of Environmental Defense Fund.” Environmental Defense Fund. February 4, 2020. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.edf.org/media/heising-become-new-chair-environmental-defense-fund ^
  17. Press Release. “Heising to Become New Chair of Environmental Defense Fund.” Environmental Defense Fund. February 4, 2020. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.edf.org/media/heising-become-new-chair-environmental-defense-fund ^
  18. Mark W. Heising. Bipartisan Policy Center. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://bipartisanpolicy.org/person/mark-w-heising/ ^
  19. Press Release. “Heising to Become New Chair of Environmental Defense Fund.” Environmental Defense Fund. February 4, 2020. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.edf.org/media/heising-become-new-chair-environmental-defense-fund ^
  20. “Board of Trustees.” Environmental Defense Fund. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.edf.org/board-trustees ^
  21. “Mark W. Heising.” Bipartisan Policy Center. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://bipartisanpolicy.org/person/mark-w-heising/ ^
  22. Press Release. “Heising to Become New Chair of Environmental Defense Fund.” Environmental Defense Fund. February 4, 2020. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.edf.org/media/heising-become-new-chair-environmental-defense-fund ^
  23. “Jim Simons.” Forbes. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/profile/jim-simons/#5493c6f63b6a. ^
  24. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. Heising-Simons Foundation. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/260/799/2018-260799587-17040220-F.pdf?_ga=2.172021347.1717283725.1602968262-658054072.1598817496 ^
  25. “Summary: Heising-Simons Foundation: 2020.” Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets). Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/heising-simons-foundation/summary?id=D000068814 ^
  26. “About.” Heising-Simons Foundation. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://www.hsfoundation.org/about/ ^
  27. Savchuk, Katia. “Two Generations Of Givers: How The Simons Family Passed On The Philanthropy Gene.” Forbes. October 5, 2016. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/katiasavchuk/2016/10/05/two-generations-of-givers-how-the-simons-family-passed-on-the-philanthropy-gene/?sh=3c1946ba3701 ^
  28. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. Heising-Simons Foundation. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/260/799/2018-260799587-17040220-F.pdf?_ga=2.172021347.1717283725.1602968262-658054072.1598817496 ^
  29. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. Heising-Simons Foundation. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/260/799/2018-260799587-17040220-F.pdf?_ga=2.172021347.1717283725.1602968262-658054072.1598817496 ^
  30. Bipartisan Policy Center, Inc. IRS Form 990. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://pp-990.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/01_2020_prefixes_72-74/731628382_201812_990_2020011517035319.pdf?response-content-disposition=inline&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIA266MJEJYTM5WAG5Y%2F20210319%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20210319T204358Z&X-Amz-Expires=1800&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=fdc254a04f94dbbd0ddbd8cc8f9fc40012724b02e3cf61b0cff1925ceb923d67 ^
  31. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. Heising-Simons Foundation. 2018. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/260/799/2018-260799587-17040220-F.pdf?_ga=2.172021347.1717283725.1602968262-658054072.1598817496 ^
  32. “Our People.” Heising-Simons Foundation. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://www.hsfoundation.org/about/our-people/ ^
  33. Mark Heising. Heising-Simons Foundation. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.hsfoundation.org/person/mark-heising/ ^
  34. “Summary: Heising-Simons Foundation: 2018.” Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets). Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/heising-simons-foundation/summary?topnumcycle=2018&contribcycle=2020&lobcycle=2020&outspendcycle=2020&id=D000068814&toprecipcycle=2018 ^
  35. “Summary: Heising-Simons Foundation: 2020.” Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets). Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/heising-simons-foundation/summary?id=D000068814 ^
  36. “Individual Contributions: Mark Heising: 2019-2021.” Federal Election Commission. Accessed March 22, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=mark+heising&two_year_transaction_period=2020 ^
  37. Tolan, Casey. “Obama in Bay Area for Atherton fundraiser where tickets go up to $237,300.” The Mercury News. June 29, 2018. Accessed March 13, 2021. https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/06/29/obama-bay-area-atherton-fundraiser/ ^
  38. Heising Mark W. and Elizabeth: Donor Detail 2018. Open Secrets. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/donor_detail.php?cycle=2018&id=U0000003087&type=I&super=N&name=Heising%2C+Elizabeth+D. ^
  39. Caroll, Rory and Woolf, Nicky. “Hillary Clinton heads to California for closed-door meetings with donors.” January 7, 2016. Accessed March 13, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/07/hillary-clinton-fundraising-california-hollywood-silicon-valley-money ^
  40. Heising Mark W. and Elizabeth: Donor Detail 2016. Open Secrets. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/donor_detail.php?cycle=2016&id=U0000003087&type=I&super=N&name=Heising%2C+Mark+W.+%26+Elizabeth ^
  41. Heising Mark W. and Elizabeth: Donor Detail 2014. Open Secrets. Accessed March 12, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/donor_detail.php?cycle=2014&id=U0000003087&type=I&super=N&name=Heising%2C+Mark+W.+%26+Elizabeth ^
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