For some time, people have been asking where Vanguard funding comes from. As our discussion from yesterday demonstrates, a little bit of knowledge is actually fairly dangerous. So I have broken down by sector the source of the 2016 revenue, ending July 31, 2016, which includes the entirety of the 10th anniversary event.
The biggest single chunk of money comes from advertising, which accounts for 30 percent of the Vanguard’s revenue this year. This was an election year which meant we got a lot in the way of revenue from campaigns. The Vanguard took advertising from Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (Assembly), Brett Lee, Matt Williams and Will Arnold from the City Council. It also took money for and against Nishi (but the vast majority of that money came from the Yes on A Campaign). Trackside did a single month ad while MRIC paid for six months of ads prior to its decision to disembark.
The vast majority of the other ads were from attorneys.
70% of the Vanguard revenue has come from donations. I have broken these into nine relatively well-defined categories.
The largest is social justice. These are individuals and occasionally groups who are donating to the Vanguard primarily because of our work in social justice, whether it be the court watch program, our work on police reform, or race and social justice. A lot of these are people that we covered when they or their family were involved in the system.
The next largest group of donations is from lawyers – some of these are criminal justice attorneys, but not all. The single largest contribution here came from Paul Boylan, who was the event sponsor of the tenth anniversary event. He donated $5000 to the Vanguard and has been a strong advocate for open government and free speech.
The next largest category is called “other.” Most of these are in the form of $10 recurring monthly donations. These are people who do not have a clearly identified interest, other than supporting the mission of the Vanguard.
Next we get to elected officials, who represent 8% of all donations. These are donations from people either elected to office or who have formerly been elected to office. It is worth noting, for example, each current member of the city council was a sponsor of the Vanguard 10th Anniversary event. Four of the five school board members have also donated to the Vanguard.
6% of our contributions directly came from developers. It is important to note that, while Nishi advertised on the Vanguard and was a sponsor in 2014 and 2015, they did not contribute any money to the Vanguard in 2016.
2% of our contributions came from people in either commercial or residential real estate. Another 2% of our contributions came from the business community.
In total, one might argue that, at most, 10% of the Vanguard’s revenue came from developers, real estate, or business interests. By comparison, 34% came from lawyers and social justice advocates.
There are two other categories. Our board has donated 5% of the revenue. And UC Davis, defined as administrative and non-faculty members, donated 1%. Last year, at the September event, UC Davis was a major donor as they donated the use of the UC Davis Conference Center, but this year, they have only made a few small donations.
Hopefully this will answer some of the questions, and we plan to update this at the end of the year, as well as file all necessary 501(c)(3) documents.
I would be remiss if I did not add that the Vanguard is an increasingly expensive ongoing operation and we are need of both one-time and recurring donors. Last year, we topped 500 donors for the first time – many of them simply making monthly $10 contributions. But it adds up.
—David M. Greenwald reporting