Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Rocky Mountain Activist

Two generations back, ketchup kings were archconservative bigots funding countless right-wing efforts. A new generation of late Baby Boomers has been coming down on the good side.

Tim Gill head shotOne of the latest to put millions where it can work is Denver's Tim Gill.

He founded Quark Inc. and put most of his millions into the Gill Foundation. It is a do-gooder group, with a concentration on GLBT projects. Not surprisingly, Gill is gay.

Then in August, he established the Gill Action Fund, described in the Denver Post as "national in scope and bankrolled entirely by the high-tech millionaire."

Note: Some of the best articles on his efforts are in the New York Times, but they require a subscription to Times Select to view them. If you have a sub, search for him by name.

Amusingly the best article on the subject "A Hands-On Generation Transforms the Landscape of Philosophy," is by everybody's favorite reporter, Judith Miller, from December 9, 1997. She notes that he began in reaction to the dreadful Colorado Amendment 2, which state voters passed to prohibit cities and towns from protecting homosexuals from discrimnation. Of that, the then head of the Foundation said, "Tim realized that he had to help educate people about gay and lesbian issues."

The Gill Action Fund "will oppose planned initiatives next fall to constitutionally bar gay marriage in Colorado, California and other states. The group also will seek to steer wealthy donors nationwide toward supporting candidates at the state and local level." Gill says that he wants to elect "our friends" and punish "the wicked," as he calls anti-gay politicians.

He gets considerable support from Jared Polis, another Colorado high-tech god, and Pat Stryker, billionaire heiress to a medical-supply giant.

Guys with big bucks trying to bring equality rather than hold down those unlike themselves has a history. But it is still odd enough that people are unsure how effective it will be. According to the Post article, Michael Brewer of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado said that Gill Action is a "step toward leveling the political playing field."

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