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US Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Launches Nonprofit to "Rewrite" Economy

The entrepreneur founded Humanity Forward to further the ideals brought about by his campaign, such as universal basic income.

06.03.2020 | by Reve Fisher
By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America - Andrew Yang, CC BY-SA 2.0
By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America - Andrew Yang, CC BY-SA 2.0

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang has decided to found a nonprofit based on his revolutionary ideas as a US presidential candidate—Humanity Forward.

Although Yang already had a successful career as the founder and CEO of Venture for America, he has made a name for himself in recent months as the US presidential candidate who championed the idea of a universal basic income for every adult citizen in the United States. He also brought issues regarding data privacy and the future of work into the Democratic debates, including concerns about automation affecting working-class Americans.

“We stood on the debate stage and shifted our national conversation to include the fourth industrial revolution, a topic no one wanted to touch until we made it happen here with this campaign,” he said in the speech to end his campaign, as quoted by Venture Beat. “We highlighted the real problems in our communities as our economy is being transformed before our eyes.”

Soon after dropping out of the presidential race, US media network CNN “surprised” Yang by asking him to join the network as a contributor. Although Yang prided himself on being a non-traditional candidate, he realised that such a move might help him to keep his ideas alive among the American people.

“Familiarity really helps with electoral success, where people feel like they know you and they’re like comfortable with supporting you in some form,” he told Politico. “So I thought that this would be a really good step.”

In the meantime, along with his former campaign manager Zach Graumann, who started a nonprofit of his own before joining the “Yang Gang,” Yang decided to advance his revolutionary ideas through a new nonprofit organisation, Humanity Forward—based on Yang’s campaign slogan “Humanity First.” The duo explained that the idea for the nonprofit emerged once it was clear that Yang’s presidential campaign was about to come to an end.

“The only questions were exactly what form the new organisation would take,” Yang said. “The fact that there was going to be a new organisation, everyone sort of assumed.”

Graumann will head the nonprofit at the beginning, aiming to get the organisation started off on the right foot quickly.

“I can wait like four months and make this thing ‘perfect,’ but by then, you may have lost some momentum,” Graumann explained. “You may have lost some interest. A lot of people are really excited about him.”

To start, Humanity Forward will give one early supporter $1,000 a month to test its universal basic income premise. $500,000 will also be pledged to an unnamed city in New York to launch a universal basic income pilot programme.

The nonprofit also plans to help Americans take control of their data and receive compensation by big tech companies.

Furthering Yang’s influence on politics, Humanity Forward aims to endorse and support to political candidates who plan to advance universal basic income, “human-centred capitalism” and other policies associated with Yang’s campaign, as well as encourage US citizens who are disengaged from politics—such as young voters and the economically marginalised—to become more involved. Among other things, Yang plans to launch a podcast to achieve this goal—as an appearance on a podcast was a turning point for him during his campaign.

“I get why [young people] would just check out, because so much of it seems like bullshit and it’s really negative,” he said. “We need to present a vision that young people can see themselves in and get excited about. We have to speak to them in their own language, in their own environments. We think we can reach people in really fun and funny ways that will make politics seem exciting and relevant to them.”

Celebrities such as Dave Chappelle, Teri Hatcher, Ken Jeong and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian have given their support to Yang and his new venture.

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