Gates Foundation supports for-profit youth prisons?


I’m Rashad Robinson of the organization ColorOfChange, and I started a petition to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes, which says:

An awareness of and opposition to private prisons is growing. States and companies previously invested are recognizing the uniquely devastating impacts of private prisons and choosing to disassociate completely. But the Gates Foundation—one of the world’s largest private funds, which aims to promote the health and well-being of communities across the world—continues to support an industry responsible for immeasurable human suffering.

Sign Rashad’s petition

For years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has supported the shameful for-profit prison industry, investing millions of their vast wealth to finance companies that profit from locking Black and Brown youth in some of the most dangerous and inhumane conditions in the country. 

ColorOfChange has urged the Gates Foundation to do the right thing and divest, but executives with the power to do so have refused to act. Now, it’s time for the public to get involved. 

Please sign the petition to urge the Gates Foundation to live up to their mission and end all support of for-profit prisons.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.


–Rashad Robinson

This petition was created on MoveOn’s online petition site, where anyone can start their own online petitions. ColorofChange didn’t pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the list.

Hard to Resist


More GOP-Led States Are Moving To Expand Medicaid

A successful first open enrollment period with 8 million enrollees. The uninsured rate at a record low 13.4 percent. Insurers clamoring to join state exchanges for next year. Health insurance premiums for 2015 beating expectations. The successes of the Affordable Care Act are clear.

Supporters of the law in competitive races have taken notice, and are increasingly running on, not from, the ACA. But they are not the only ones acknowledging the changing political landscape; the ACA’s opponents have also seen it, and are taking action. In particular, some GOP-led states who have been putting politics over people by opposing Medicaid expansion are now taking steps to accept it. Here are some of the latest to change their tune:

Pennsylvania: The Keystone State will become the 27th state, and the 12th Republican-led state, to expand its Medicaid program in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. The Obama Administration announced last Thursday that it had granted a waiver and reached agreement with the state to provide health care coverage to 500,000 low-income residents through private insurance. Gov. Tom Corbett (R), the deeply unpopular Pennsylvania governor, has previously fought against expansion but trails in his re-election bid by 25 points while 59 percent of voters support expanding Medicaid.

Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslem indicated late last week that the state will likely submit a Medicaid expansion plan this soon. “I think we’ll probably go to [the Obama Administration] sometime this fall with a plan … that we think makes sense for Tennessee,” Haslem said. While he did not comment on any further details, the move could mean health coverage for 162,000 Tennesseans.

Wyoming: After initially rejecting Medicaid expansion that would provide health insurance to 17,600 low-income Wyoming residents, Gov. Matt Mead has now said he is now in negotiations with the Obama Administration to find a way to expand the program next year. The LA Times reports that “the reason for Wyoming’s wavering is clear: It’s money.” The state stands to save $50 million per year by expanding. Meanwhile, Wyoming hospitals are losing $200 million per year by treating people who lack insurance.

Another thing for these states, and all other conservative-led states who continue to deny health care to their low-income residents, to consider: they are sending hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to other states who are expanding Medicaid, and receiving nothing in return.

BOTTOM LINE: As candidates who support the ACA increasingly embrace it on the campaign trail, conservatives nationwide are downplaying their opposition to the law. In the latest sign, more conservative states are finally changing course by pushing forward with Medicaid expansion to provide health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income working people and save billions of dollars.

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Bill Gates: End your investment in private prisons

Immediately withdraw your $2.2 million investment in the GEO Group.

Sign’s petition

One of the world’s biggest social good foundations is contributing to one of society’s biggest ills — the private prison industry. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust has invested more than $2 million in GEO Group, one of the largest and most abusive private prison corporations in the United States.

GEO makes a business of jailing those with the fewest resources, profiting from their labor, stripping them of their dignity, and leaching precious human capital from already-distressed communities.

GEO Group and other private prison companies have a perverse profit motive to drive criminal justice and immigration policy towards more incarceration of citizens and immigrants in prisons, jails, and immigrant detention centers. They spend millions of dollars — dollars provided in part by investors like the Gates Foundation Trust — lobbying local, state, and federal governments to institute longer sentences, to incarcerate more people for mi nor crimes, and to terrorize immigrant communities.

If that weren’t bad enough, GEO’s prisons are notorious for their awful treatment of prisoners. Accounts of sexual assault, physical abuse, medical neglect, rotten and inadequate food, forced signing of immigration papers, and death have been well-documented at GEO facilities. A federal judge called the inhumane conditions at GEO’s now-closed Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, “a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world.”

In light of this evidence, it is shocking that the Gates Foundation Trust would maintain its investment in the GEO group. The Gates Foundation prides itself on the good it does in the world. But this investment fundamentally contradicts the Foundation’s stated mission: to “ensure that all people — especially those with the fewest resources — have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.”

If enough of us speak out now, we’ll be able to create a powerful media narrative that exposes this contradiction and shames the Gates Foundation Trust to withdraw its investment.

Join Presente, Enlace, and 25 other organizations in calling on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust to immediately withdraw its investment in the GEO Group.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.



This petition was created on MoveOn’s online petition site, where anyone can start their own online petitions. didn’t pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the list.

Empty Gesture


Conservatives Are Trying To Muddy The Water On Their Records On Reproductive Health

It’s no secret that conservative leaders think women shouldn’t have the economic freedom to make their own reproductive health care decisions. In voting repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they would remove the law’s provision to provide birth control without a co-pay, and go back to the days when being a women was a pre-existing condition. By supporting the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, they approve of the notion that a boss has a role in the health care decisions of his or her employees. And many continue to support a personhood amendment which is not only unconstitutional by prohibiting abortion but would even ban certain methods of birth control.

All that has — surprise! — made them quite unpopular with women. Recently, their latest strategy has revealed itself: try to muddy the waters on their real positions by saying they support providing over-the-counter birth control to women. Here are some examples of conservative Senate candidates offering their support for this policy:

To be sure, efforts to expand access to birth control including by making some forms available over-the-counter are good. But when it comes to these politicians and other conservatives saying they support it, it is an empty gesture.

In reality, their decision amounts to a tax on women. The simple fact is that if you want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, you want to make birth control more expensive. Thanks to the birth control benefit in the ACA, women saved $483 million over the past year alone. And 48 million women nationwide already benefit from ACA-covered preventative care like contraception. What’s more, birth control is not one size fits all. Many women do not use the pill — the form supported by these candidates to be provided over-the-counter. The most effective types of birth control cannot be provided over-the-counter and would therefore still require insurance coverage.

For many women, high out-of-pocket costs make birth control an economic issue as much as a health one. Whether or not some forms of birth control are made available over-the-counter, women still need the birth control benefit in the ACA that conservatives are committed to taking away. Women deserve the freedom to make their own reproductive health decisions.

BOTTOM LINE: Don’t be fooled by some conservatives who are trying to obscure their position on reproductive health by saying they support over-the-counter contraception. Their records clearly oppose the ability for women to make health care decisions for themselves, and their suggestion amounts to a tax on women that the ACA strives to eliminate.