Billionaire activist uses her wealth to be an agent of change
By LA Stories Staff San Pedro
PUBLISHED 5:00 AM PT Nov. 14, 2022
Billionaire activist and philanthropist Kat Taylor has made it her life mission to bring equity to underserved and underrepresented communities across the country.
While her husband, Tom Steyer, rose to fame during his run for president in 2020, Taylor worked behind the scenes as an agent of change. As the co-founder and board chair of Beneficial State Bank, she aims to make banking more accessible to under-resourced communities in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.
What makes Beneficial State Bank unique is that it is fully owned by nonprofits with the mandate to redistribute excess funds to the Bank’s communities.
“We realized that banking is a very powerful determinate of societal outcomes. It drives every other industry,” Taylor said. “And it should be allegiant to public interest and the values of the people who make up their deposit base. A lot of the big banks forget that.”
In this episode of “LA Stories,” host Giselle Fernandez profiles Taylor, who discusses how she is not only fighting for equity through banking, but also through a variety of sectors, such as agriculture, media and community philanthropy.
Taylor is co-founder of TomKat Ranch, a 1,800-acre working cattle ranch that focuses on humane treatment and sustainable practices. In coalition with other farms and ranches, she helps bring local, healthy, organic food to millions of school children in California.
“It’s proof of what can happen in the future for other positive progress,” she said. “And that will shift our food supply chain in favor of racial, gender and environmental justice as well.”
As co-founder of TomKat MeDiA, Taylor hopes to help lift unheard voices that she says haven’t been properly represented in storytelling or media.
“Media is so powerful, we need to put them front and center and get their stories out,” she said.
Through all of her various endeavors, one thing is clear: Kat Taylor has an optimistic outlook on the future of California.
“It’s harmed people who harm and healed people who heal, but I believe people are born good. And bad things might happen to them, and they should shine their light out from under the bushel because if we all get on the game board fully and contribute our ideas and vision, we could do astounding things.”