Hint: it’s not who you think. Think back, far far back, to the 1992 Presidential Election. Were you even alive back then? Remember Texas independent Ross Perot? Conservative on gun control and in favor of small government, though staunchly pro-choice, his platform was very interesting, garnering 18.9% of the popular vote before fading into political obscurity by the time the 1996 election rolled around.
He’s still around, of course. Eighty-three and still kicking, he sold off Perot Systems to Dell in 2009 for $3.9 million. Forbes ranks him as the 101st richest person in America, with a net worth of $3.5 billion. His Perot Foundation, founded in 1969, has been making gifts in support of pro-choice initiatives since the beginning, and this latest $1 million gift to the Texas arm of Planned Parenthood is an extension of that trend. “Our family has supported this nonprofit for many years because we are impressed with the work they do — providing birth control, scientifically-based education, breast health exams, and basic life-saving healthcare for women who cannot afford services otherwise,” said Perot’s wife Margot, in a statement.
In January, 2013, Texas transitioned away from providing state funding to Planned Parenthood, and as a result, claims filed fell by 23%. “Women across the state are suffering due to the state’s unprecedented and dangerous cuts to funding for basic, preventive health care for Texas women,” said Ken Lambrecht, president and chief executive of the Greater Texas affiliate. “We are thrilled that this generous gift will enable us to continue providing basic, preventive health care,”
There’s a definite lesson here for anyone seeking money from philanthropists: Don’t make assumptions. Our own knowledge of Perot was admittedly murky, but still, we were stunned to see his foundation had supported Planned Parenthood. Wasn’t this guy a conservative? People aren’t made in molds, and apparently neither are philanthropists: Don’t let assumptions about someone’s political leanings scare you away. Do your own research and figure things out for yourself.