She’s battled a rare form of brain cancer. Now she wants to take on systemic racism.
Liberal philanthropist Susan Sandler, marking a four-year milestone fighting an aggressive type of brain cancer, has created the Susan Sandler Fund to combat racial injustice — giving $200 million to kick it off.
Sandler, who was diagnosed in 2016 with glioblastoma, explained her decision in a post on Medium, saying the only way to effect change “is to change the climate and environment in which decisions are made.”
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“When our government, corporate, and other societal institutions are responsive to — and, frankly, fearful of — the people who most bear the brunt of inequality and injustice, then better priorities, practices, and policies follow,” she wrote.
Her investments are targeting areas across the South and Southwest, former slave-holding states that are currently experiencing seismic demographic shifts.
“As the composition of the electorate in those states comes to reflect the full racial diversity of the population of those states, the social contract … can be rewritten in ways that improve the lives of millions of people,” she wrote.
Sandler’s donations will initially benefit nine progressive organizations working to register voters from underrepresented groups, including the New Florida Majority, New Virginia Majority and the Texas Organizing Project. Her hefty donation is a sign that the wave of support for Black Lives Matter protests around the country are not just a passing trend.
The Susan Sandler Foundation, started by her billionaire parents Herb and Marion Sandler — her mother was the longest-serving female CEO of a Fortune 500 company — has backed nonprofit investigative journalism outlet ProPublica and had a hand in creating groups such as the Center for American Progress.
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Sandler emphasized her commitment to her parents’ liberal causes.
“I am well aware that even as someone who is battling cancer, I am in an extremely privileged position,” Sandler wrote. “I have worked hard to use that privilege to do what I can to make this world a better place.”
She added that she is acutely aware that life is short — and advised people to think about their own contributions.
“In ways big and small, each of us can establish a legacy,” she wrote. “I’m grateful that I’ve been given the time since my cancer diagnosis to establish mine. I urge each of you not to wait to work on establishing yours.”