Tom Steyer is committed to combating climate change, fighting for racial justice and putting people, and not corporations, in charge of our democracy.
After starting and growing a successful investment firm, Tom stepped down in 2012 to focus his energy and resources to these causes.
Tom, a self-made billionaire, and his wife, Kathryn Taylor, known as “Kat,” were among the first to sign the Giving Pledge — a commitment to give away the bulk of their personal fortune during their lifetimes.
In 2013, he founded NextGen America, a nonprofit group that combats climate change, promotes social justice, and increases participation in our democracy through voter registration and grassroots organizing.
“Steyer’s youth voter turnout campaign was critical and likely helped Democrats take back the House.”─ Forbes, Nov. 9, 2018
In 2017, Tom became the first major Democrat to rally millions of Americans with a public call to impeach Donald Trump.
Need to Impeach mobilized millions of its petition signers. All these voters contributed to Democratic wins that took back the House, won Senate seats and governorships, and captured seats in state legislatures and local races.
“We need the broadest democracy possible,” Tom says, “to take back our government from the corporations that now control it and have stolen the rights of everyday Americans.
Tom has laid out his vision for putting the people in charge of our democracy with a “21st century bill of rights” — a new set of 5 Rights that every American must have.
Only a broad-based grassroots movement can restore power, fairness, and prosperity to the people.
Across the country and in his home state of California, Tom has shown repeatedly that going directly to the people and raising their voices is the way to beat entrenched corporate interests and win fights for fairness.
He helped beat Big Oil to protect California’s landmark clean-air laws and he followed that up with wins for clean energy in Michigan and Nevada. He helped close a massive corporate tax loophole to generate at least $1.7 billion for public schools. He helped beat big tobacco companies and forced them to pay their share of healthcare costs for the harm their products have caused.
Tom and his wife Kat Taylor have devoted countless hours of their time and donated tens of millions of dollars to charitable projects that advance education, renewable energy, clean air and water, healthy food, sustainable agriculture, self-sustaining communities and more.
Investing to Make a Difference
Tom’s parents taught him that action always speaks louder than words.
Their charitable foundation powered the creation of “California Food for California Kids,” a program that now serves more than 300 million healthy meals yearly to the state’s school kids using natural food from California farms.
Another charitable project is Beneficial State Bank, which since 2007 has loaned money affordably to working people, small businesses and nonprofit community projects shut out by regular banks. Tom and Kat have given more than $120 million to building the bank, which reinvests any profits back into the communities it serves. Their support of the bank is ongoing.
Meet Kat Taylor
Wife, partner, mother, CEO, advocate, environmentalist, rancher
Kathryn Taylor graduated from Harvard University where she was captain of the track team. She met Tom while at Stanford University earning her law and business degrees — the two trained together for a marathon, and were married in 1986.
While raising three boys and a girl she sat on the board of directors for numerous nonprofits, including the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center for new immigrants and the Insight Prison Project, focused on restorative justice.
Kat and Tom co-founded Beneficial State Bank which serves low income individuals, people of color, and small businesses and has grown the bank to $1 billion in assets. She is also the founding director of the TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation, which promotes regenerative ranching practices on an 1,800-acre working cattle ranch.
His mother, Marnie, was a journalist and teacher who taught in the city schools and volunteered to tutor prisoners in a large city jail.
His father, Roy, interrupted his law career to join the Navy and serve on the legal team that prosecuted Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.
Tom graduated from Yale and earned his MBA at Stanford. Working on Wall St. was not for him, so he moved to San Francisco in 1986 and started his own small investment firm. Backed by two seasoned investors, Tom started managing the new fund, which began with $9 million in investments.
Over the years, Tom achieved double-digit returns for his investors — mostly universities, foundations and individuals. His success built the firm to $36 billion in investments at the fund’s peak.