8789de40-a528-401e-9164-a9f7139b4d32.pngDecember, 2017



How we spend our dollars is a true reflection of our values.



Slide from power point on measure – a work in progress

A dynamic coalition in Alameda County is planning a ballot measure for the June, 2018, election to fund child care and early education through a sales tax increase. The measure would generate $140 Million to provide care to homeless families and children on waiting lists; to raise early educator pay to $15 an hour; and to improve quality. If passed, this would be only the second early care measure in California (the first being SF’s Preschool for All). Funding the Next Generation is watching closely, as the organizers appear to have landed on a winning combination of partnerships for putting together a children’s measure:

  • Service providers, advocates and policy experts
  • Elected officials as champions
  • Labor – SEIU is a core partner
  • Parent Voices
  • A Community foundation as funder and endorser

Important little known fact: Community Foundations are their own unique category of philanthropic foundation. They are actually 501.(C)(3)’s with all the advantages of public charities – that private foundations do not have. That means they can donate to non-partisan issue-oriented political campaigns, within the same regulations as any other non-profit. This would be a good time for community foundations to stretch the ways they contribute to their communities. The East Bay Community Foundation is leading the way.

Fact sheet on measure

Powerpoint on measure



Parent Voices making their presence known at San Joaquin hearing on allocating marijuana taxes to kids

On November 14, the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors agreed to place a special tax on cannabis on the November, 2018 ballot. Half the funding will go to programs to serve children and youth! The other half would be divided between health services and code enforcement. If passed, we believe this would be the most extensive funding of children and youth services through marijuana taxes in the state.

The victory was over a year in the making. It involved getting the Board of Supervisors to create

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S.gif Dynamite organizer and Director of the San Joaquin Children’s Alliance, Christine Gilbert, preparing for hearing

a Children and Youth Task force, with over 50 organizations throughout the county participating. Children and youth needs, model programs, and funding options were all studied in depth. There was moving testimony at hearings, calls to elected officials, letters, petitions, media outreach and more. The story is told in the power point presented to the Board before the marijuana decision. (see below).

In the end, a poll conducted by the county at the recommendation of kid’s champion, Supervisor Kathy Miller, made the decision about the use of funds obvious. Early care and youth services were ranked voters’ highest priority by far, receiving double the support of any other option – and three times the support of law enforcement.

Poll on voter preferences for cannabis taxes in San Joaquin County – see to believe!

Power point presented to the Board of Supervisors by the Children and Youth Task Force – making the case


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Councilmember Martine Watkins – "Mother" of the new Santa Cruz Children’s Fund S.gif

Santa Cruz – Thanks to the leadership of Councilwoman Martine Watkins, the Santa Cruz City Council on November 28 increased its Cannabis Business Tax rate from 7% to 8%, and dedicated the new percentage to a Children’s Fund. The policy states: "The Fund will support enhancement and expansion of evidence-based programs to prioritize early childhood development, prevention and vulnerable youth programs, without supplanting existing City of Santa Cruz services or investments."

Sacramento – On Tuesday, November 28th, the Sacramento City Council unanimously adopted a proposal developed by an African-American coalition to insure that Black and Latino communities most impacted by past drug policies will benefit by the new wealth generated by the legal marijuana industry. This coalition, led by the California Urban Partnership, proposed changes in licensing and hiring and won $1 million in funding for the creation of a business incubator program. The group is also advocating that tax revenues should be primarily allocated to neighborhoods most impacted by the War on Drugs.

Advocates for education and prevention policies for children and youth are involved in meetings about cannabis throughout the state, from Los Angeles, to San Diego, to Monterey, to Humboldt. Advocates in Yolo and Mendocino are proposing special programs for early prevention, such as the "Thrive by Three" program adopted in Santa Cruz due to anticipated marijuana revenue.

Guidelines for campaigns and the expenditure of marijuana taxes on kids are emerging:

  • Focus benefits of tax revenue on communities and families that have been harmed by the war on drugs – Black and Latino communities suffered disproportionate arrest rates for marijuana-related crimes.
  • Prioritize services that help mitigate the potential negative health impacts on children, youth and pregnant and breast-feeding women
  • Build a diverse coalition to support needs of children, youth and families – independent of people’s positions for or against marijuana ("If taxed, then it should go to kids.")
  • Document public opinion about the use of tax funds through polling
  • If possible, use new revenue to seed the creation of a new local children and youth fund.
For more information, contact:

Margaret Brodkin

Founder/Director Funding the Next Generation



E-mail to arrange a speaking engagement or a consultation about the potential of your city or county to create dedicated funding for children, youth and their families — or just to share your thoughts and opinions.



What will happen?

Groundbreaking change — or new nightmare on the horizon.

Advocates for democratizing California tax law celebrated the August 28 California Supreme Court decision (California Cannabis Coalition vs. City of Upland) which made a distinction between revenue measures placed on the ballot by voter initiatives and those placed on the ballot by elected bodies. The majority of justices held that voter-initiated revenue measures only needed a majority vote, compared to the 2/3 needed when elected government bodies placed tax measures on the ballot. This Court opinion was a groundbreaking development, offering increased flexibility in how California voters could raise tax dollars. While the Court opinion was somewhat unclear, many legal experts felt that the above interpretation would hold. The highly respected San Francisco City Attorney concluded that a 2/3 vote would no longer be required for voter initiatives. His detailed opinion has been widely circulated throughout the state. GREAT NEWS!

OOOPS – NOT SO FAST. On November 22, a proposed constitutional amendment was submitted to the Attorney General that would not only render the Upland opinion moot, but would come down hard on the 2/3 requirement – basically NEVER allowing for a majority vote on any type of tax or "tax-like charge" in California.

Determining how to proceed if you are considering a tax for the ballot depends on the types of risk you want to take, and your political analysis about the future of the constitutional amendment.

If you would like to discuss the implications of all this for measures for kids, contact Margaret Brodkin

fc3bba85-bff2-4a50-805d-f841cd8cdee8.jpgSAD NOTE Think what the combination of the tax bill that just passed the US Senate and the Taxpayer Protection Act will do to California’s ability and willingness to raise the public dollars needed for our state. We have our work cut out for us. We must double-down – not back off.



Funding the Next Generation is preparing a policy proposal that would democratize local level tax policy in California. It is based on our experience to date, and the frustrations folks have had passing local revenue measures for children and youth – despite the fact that polls have repeatedly shown that the majority of voters support revenue measures for kids.

Challenges people working for Children and Youth Funds have faced:

  • Motivation of elected bodies to prioritize resources for children and youth in their revenue raising opportunities
  • 2/3 voter threshold for special taxes in California
  • Legal restrictions on General Law counties
  • Weakness of strategies that rely on only advisory methods to determine how funds are spent


There is an overwhelming need to give California voters the ability to determine in a democratic way how, and for what, they want to tax themselves. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that when it comes to children, voters are particularly motivated to support taxes. Therefore, we propose the following ideas for a California constitutional amendment for discussion:

  1. Give school boards the authority to place revenue measures on the ballot related to education, including early care, preschool, afterschool, school-based and school-linked health and violence prevention services, and career development programs and opportunities.
  2. Allow taxes placed on the ballot for education purposes by boards of education to pass with a 55% voter threshold.
  3. Create a mechanism to ensure equity, so that communities with limited taxing potential are not financially disadvantaged (much like Prop 49).

Rationale – The public has already voted to give school bonds a lower voter threshold (55%). Our proposal would be a modest expansion of the policy in an area (education) that has already demonstrated strong public support. Boards of Education are committed to the well-being of children, so are in a stronger position to implement the public’s desire to prioritize children when it comes to public spending. There are also school boards at a county level, as well as a city levels, thus giving communities the chance to determine which jurisdiction would be most effective in providing services.

This is the beginning of our thinking. Let us know what YOU think. Contact Margaret Brodkin to share your thoughts:




Topics include:

*Deciding which election

*Creating your Steering Committee

*Selecting your campaign consultant



*Calculating your win number

*Digital communication

*Direct voter contact

*Volunteer recruitment

*Staffing and responsibilities

Free download – click here

For hard copy ($25), e-mail margaret

Funding the Next Generation is a project of SF State University, School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement

Partner organizations include Children Now; California Childcare Resource and Referral Network; Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice; 50+1 Strategies; FM3 Research; Partnership for Children and Youth; Partners in Prevention; Prevent Child Abuse California; Social Change Partners;The Forum for Youth Investment; First 5 Association of California; Youth Forward; Youth Leadership Institute;The Children’s Partnership.

Margaret Brodkin and Associates, 45 Graystone Terrace, San Francisco, CA 94114
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