As I read your story “Can Billionaire Philanthropists Replace the Federal Government?” I realized that Amy Schiller clearly does not know the Arnolds that I have come to know through their progressive vision. Outside of the spotlight on their foundation’s efforts, John and Laura Arnold are effecting real change on the key civil liberties issues of our time. Just this year, the Arnolds became important ACLU supporters through a multimillion-dollar gift to help advance reproductive freedom. Mentions of private, personal gifts to other progressive organizations in Schiller’s article would have painted a holistic picture of the Arnolds’ philanthropy. In my twelve years as ACLU’s executive director, I’ve been privileged to witness the breadth of philanthropic giving. My time spent getting to know the Arnolds reinforced my believe that true philanthropy is not a one-dimensional political statement but rather part of a holistic expression of a shared vision with causes and organizations. The Nation’s readers would do well to get to know the Arnolds I know—kind and genuine people.
Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union
New York City
Oct 25 2013 - 5:10pm