Person

Paul Brest

Nationality:

American

Organizations:

Stanford University, Mind the Gap

Paul Brest is a Stanford Law School professor, the former head of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and a co-founder of Mind the Gap.

Brest is known for opposing “originalism,” an initially derogatory term for judges who support a reading of the Constitution and laws based on the meaning of legal language at the time of a law’s adoption.

Career

After graduating from Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, Paul Brest clerked for Judge Bailey Aldrich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and Justice John M. Harlan of the U.S. Supreme Court. He later did civil rights litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. In 1969, Brest became a professor at Stanford Law School; he served as dean from 1987 through 1999. He helped to launch the school’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society. [1] [2]

From 2000 through 2012, Brest was the president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. [3] Tech Crunch wrote that Brest “transform[ed] philanthropy” for his use of objective deliverables and data. [4] Brest was succeeded by Larry Kramer, another former dean of Stanford Law School. [5]

Brest is on the board of the Climate Policy Initiative [6] and the advisory board of IIX Global. [7]

Mind the Gap

Paul Brest and fellow Stanford University colleagues Graham Gottlieb and Barbara Fried are the co-founders of Mind the Gap, a “secretive Silicon Valley” PAC that supports Democratic candidates. [8]

Mind the Gap is known for its secretive operations, where it attempts to quickly gather donations over a short period of time to prevent Republicans from mobilizing their own donors in response. [9]

In 2021, Brest donated $20,000 to Mind the Gap. [10]

Money Well Spent

In 2018, Paul Brest and Energy Innovation CEO Hal Harvey published Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy, a comprehensive guide for spending philanthropic money efficiently. The book was influenced by Brest’s time at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. [11] [12]

Political Donations

Since 1990, Paul Brest has given $67,352 to Democratic candidates and aligned organizations. Aside from his $20,000 contribution to Mind the Gap, Brest’s largest donation was for $5,000 to the Vote Tripling PAC. [13]

References

  1. “Paul Brest Interview.” Alliance Magazine. December 1, 2003. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://www.alliancemagazine.org/interview/paul-brest-interview/. ^
  2. “Paul Brest.” Stanford Law School. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://law.stanford.edu/directory/paul-brest/. ^
  3. “Paul Brest.” Stanford Law School. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://law.stanford.edu/directory/paul-brest/. ^
  4. Bade, Scott. “How the Valley can get philanthropy right with former Hewlett Foundation president Paul Brest.” Tech Crunch. September 12, 2019. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/12/how-the-valley-can-get-philanthropy-right-with-former-hewlett-foundation-president-paul-brest/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAKr334z01JLjRoEp98Sj0qedGHLn3Yx3IxLSBjRl9BfscGppYPDHWbDoCQ-XF9D821pwAxXiAjKtx1VSuzW9lLoYG24xxjmbFZBmml2S-06Jt8xA6tSc4ZnM0XiCngwmr3Ry2bsDHtu8sEu68Go_jggyg6jL07kNYpdSYJioQfca. ^
  5. Kain, David. “Unelected Infections: Paul Brest and Mind the Gap.” Medium. May 3, 2021. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://medium.com/newsdive/unelected-infections-paul-brest-and-mind-the-gap-81a6d0dd51ee. ^
  6. “Paul Brest.” Climate Policy Initiative. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://www.climatepolicyinitiative.org/people/paul-brest/. ^
  7. “Paul Brest.” IIX Global. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://iixglobal.com/paul-brest/. ^
  8. Schleifer, Theodore. “Inside the secretive Silicon Valley group that has funneled over $20 million to Democrats.” Recode. January 6, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/6/21046631/mind-the-gap-silicon-valley-democratic-donors-stanford ^
  9. Schleifer, Theodore. “Inside the secretive Silicon Valley group that has funneled over $20 million to Democrats.” Recode. January 6, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2022. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/6/21046631/mind-the-gap-silicon-valley-democratic-donors-stanford. ^
  10. “FEC Search: Paul Brest.” Federal Election Commission. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=paul+brest&contributor_employer=hewlett&contributor_employer=stanford+law+school. ^
  11. “Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy, Second Edition (2018).” Stanford PACS. Sep 2018. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://pacscenter.stanford.edu/publication/money-well-spent-a-strategic-guide-for-smart-philanthropy-2018/#:~:text=Money%20Well%20Spent%2C%20an%20award,grant%20is%20a%20smart%20strategy.. ^
  12. Kain, David. “Unelected Infections: Paul Brest and Mind the Gap.” Medium. May 3, 2021. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://medium.com/newsdive/unelected-infections-paul-brest-and-mind-the-gap-81a6d0dd51ee. ^
  13. “FEC Search: Paul Brest.” Federal Election Commission. Accessed May 25, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=paul+brest&contributor_employer=hewlett&contributor_employer=stanford+law+school. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. MTG Research (Non-profit)
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