Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in social entrepreneurs working to ensure that our political system is responsive to the public and able to meet the greatest challenges facing our nation.

Democracy Fund

About Democracy Fund

Of, By, And For The People

The Democracy Fund aspires to the highest ideals of the American republic — government of, by, and for the people. We invest in social entrepreneurs working to ensure that our political system is responsive to the priorities of the American public and has the capacity to meet the greatest challenges facing our country.

The Democracy Fund was created to respond to a troubling array of problems facing our nation’s political system. Trust in our governing institutions has reached historic lows as Congress’ approval ratings sinks into the single digits. Gridlock and hyper-partisanship have paralyzed our governing bodies, resulting in the least productive Congress in recent history and a political climate that makes problem solving all but impossible. The public’s voice is increasingly drowned out as political leaders become ever-more dependent on a relatively small group of large donors and special interests.

At the heart of our vision for the future are three core commitments to a strong, healthy political system.

  • First, the American people must have the ability to make informed choices, as they engage in the civic life of their nation and their communities.
  • Second, the American people must have confidence that their voices are the primary influence shaping the outcomes of policy debates.
  • Third, the American people need to know that their government has the ability to solve important problems despite deep differences of opinion.

Vigorous nonpartisanship is a cornerstone for the Democracy Fund’s work. We believe that creating a vibrant, healthy political system is in the interest of all Americans, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, Independents or otherwise. We pursue solutions that have the broadest possible support in order to achieve our goals.

A catalyst for change, the Democracy Fund supports risk-taking innovation and strategies that shift the incentives driving political behavior. Our approach is further distinguished by our commitment to work across the aisle to find common ground on issues of national concern.

The Democracy Fund was created in 2011 by eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar. It is a project of Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives by helping to scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. For more information about the Omidyars’ personal, professional, and philanthropic interests beyond Omidyar Network, visit www.omidyargroup.com.

Grant Making

And Investment Criteria

The Democracy Fund aims to play a catalytic role in improving our political system through our grant making and investing. We typically make a substantial investment in the success of our grantee organizations. We work closely with our grantees and investees to help them achieve their goals, seeking a governance role where appropriate.

To have the greatest impact on our grantee and investee organizations and our mission, we invest according to the following criteria:

  • Alignment. We look for organizations aligned with our mission of creating a government of, by, and for, the people. We seek nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies that use innovative approaches that are in keeping with our three strategic priorities.
  • Impact. We identify organizations that produce significant outcomes by influencing policy or practices among existing institutions, shifting incentives and behavior of political leaders, building effective sectors, and altering public attitudes and behavior.
  • Potential for Scale. We look for organizations with significant growth potential, and the ability to scale operations to influence the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people, across the nation. We prefer to work with nonprofits that are on a path toward operational sustainability and for-profits with highly successful business models.
  • Leadership. We invest in management teams with a proven track record in their field of operation and an ability to articulate a clear vision and strategy, reinforced by a viable business plan. The organization must practice exemplary governance with operational efficiency and controls, transparent practices, and disciplined financial planning.
  • Innovation. We seek organizations that employ creative, entrepreneurial strategies to accomplish their goals. Grantees may disrupt the status quo, establish a new business paradigm, or pioneer services for untapped markets.

The Democracy Fund does not accept unsolicited proposals. We proactively seek new grants based on our strategic priorities and typically source deals from within our network of partners and contacts.

Value to Our Portfolio

Our grantees’ success is our success. We support and collaborate with portfolio organizations to help them grow and reach their full potential. We provide value in the following ways:

  • We take a long-term view on our investments and offer a range of financing options, including grants, venture capital, debt, and program-related investments.
  • We provide in-depth expertise, bringing knowledge and direct experience to bear on our grantees’ operations.
  • We offer our grantees insight and guidance in areas such as strategy, management, operations, human resources, legal matters, and marketing.
  • We open doors to a vast network of business and philanthropic contacts outside of our organization, encouraging the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and best practices.
  • We connect organizations within our portfolio, helping them take advantage of synergies, build relationships, and share ideas.

The

Democracy Fund Team

Pierre Omidyar Pierre Omidyar

Pierre Omidyar

Founder

Joe Goldman Joe Goldman

Joe Goldman

Director

Tom Glaisyer Tom Glaisyer

Tom Glaisyer

Investment Principal

Adam Ambrogi Adam Ambrogi

Adam Ambrogi

Investment Principal

Justin Anderson Justin Anderson

Justin Anderson

Operations and Program Administrator

How To

Contact Us

Democracy Fund Office
1333 New Hampshire Avenue, Ste 730
Washington, DC 20036

Contacts
GENERAL DEMOCRACY FUND INQUIRIES:
info@democracyfund.org
MEDIA INQUIRIES:
media@democracyfund.org

The Democracy Fund does not accept unsolicited business plans, proposals, or personal requests. Any materials marked proprietary or confidential will be discarded.