Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people.

Democracy Fund

About The Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund is a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that the American people come first in our democracy.

Pierre Omidyar created the Democracy Fund out of deep respect for the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s core democratic values. While no democracy is perfect, the American system has endured through times of severe stress and dramatic social change. This system has proven its value and continues to hold the promise of effective, representative governance. Today, technologies and innovations offer new opportunities for public engagement in a more vibrant democracy — even as serious challenges including hyper-partisanship, money in politics, and struggling media threaten the health of our political system.

We believe the best days of American democracy lie ahead. Bipartisan solutions can modernize our elections. Digital advances can help people engage in civic life. New incentives can encourage political leaders to find principled compromise and address our country’s greatest challenges.

The Democracy Fund is a resource for those who want to strengthen our nation’s democracy. We invest in change makers whose ideas and energy can make a difference. We advocate for solutions that can bring lasting improvement to our political system. We build bridges that help people come together to serve the nation, moving us closer to the ideal of a government of, by, and for the people.

Working on Democracy
We operate with a belief in new possibilities — along with an appreciation for the complexity of the dynamics involved in U.S. democracy, a commitment to learning and rigor in all we do, and a desire to collaborate with people and parties across the political spectrum.
Bridge building is a cornerstone of the Democracy Fund’s work. We believe that creating a vibrant, healthy political system is in the interest of all Americans and that finding achievable solutions to the complex problems facing our democracy will require voices, expertise, and ideas from across the political spectrum. Our board, staff, advisors, and grantees include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. The Democracy Fund is affiliated with Democracy Fund Action.
The Democracy Fund is part of The Omidyar Group and is funded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar. For more information about the Omidyars’ personal, professional, and philanthropic interests, visit www.omidyargroup.com.

Investment Criteria and Grantmaking

The Democracy Fund aims to play a catalytic role in improving our political system through grantmaking. We typically make a substantial investment in the success of our grantee organizations. The Democracy Fund DOES NOT accept unsolicited proposals. We proactively seek new grants based on strategic priorities and typically identify new grantee partners from within our network of allies and contacts. We work closely with grantee partners to help them achieve their goals. To have the greatest impact, we invest according to the following criteria:

  • Alignment. We look for organizations aligned with our mission of making democracy work better. We seek nonprofit organizations that use innovative approaches that are in keeping with our three programs and strategic priorities.
  • Impact. We identify organizations that produce significant outcomes by influencing 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. We prefer to work with nonprofits that are on a path toward operational sustainability where possible.
  • 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 paradigm, or pioneer services for untapped markets.
Working on Democracy
Partnering for Results, and Learning
We invest in the success of our grantee partners, collaborating with them to achieve shared goals while learning together. As appropriate to each partnership, the Democracy Fund team can help:
  • Provide knowledge on topics where we have expertise or experience;
  • Support capacity building in key areas, such as strategy, management, operations, human resources, legal matters, and communications;
  • Make introductions to relevant contacts in our network who might offer useful insights, practices, or resources;
  • Connect grantee partners to help them pursue synergies, build relationships, and share ideas.

Through each partnership, we expect to generate deeper understanding of the systems we seek to influence to improve democracy. We therefore value the mutual learning opportunities inherent in each investment we make.

The Democracy Fund Team

Staff

Joe Goldman

President

Natalie Adona

Research Associate, Elections

Adam Ambrogi

Program Director, Elections

Tony Bowen

Director, Grants Management and Operations

Hugo Castro

Operations Manager

Chris Crawford

Program Assistant, Governance

Tom Glaisyer

Program Director, Public Square

Srik Gopal

Vice President, Strategy, Impact, and Learning

Jessica Harris

Communications Associate

Betsy Wright Hawkings

Program Director, Governance

Roland Kennedy

Grants Management Associate

Mike Lally

Operations Assistant

Karla McLean

Networks Associate

Chris Nehls

Research and Systems Associate, Governance

Freddie Salas

Program Assistant, Elections

Stacey Scholl

Program Associate, Elections

Donata Secondo

Strategy, Impact, and Learning Associate

Estizer E. Smith

Program Assistant, Public Square

Josh Stearns

Associate Director, Public Square

Lauren Strayer

Director, Communications

Emma Thomson

Digital Communications Assistant

Paul Waters

Program Associate, Public Square

Margaret Yao

Chief People Officer

Fabienne Antoine

Intern, Elections

Haley Mankin

Intern, Public Square

Ronald E. Owens III

Intern, Communications

Sean Raymond

Intern, Governance and Strategy & Evaluation

Andrew Shaughnessy

Intern, Governance

Senior Fellows and Consultants

Terry Ao Minnis

Senior Fellow & Consultant, Elections

Paul S. DeGregorio

Senior Fellow & Consultant, Elections

Geneva Overholser

Senior Fellow & Consultant, Public Square

Jake Shapiro

Senior Fellow & Consultant, Public Square

The Democracy Fund Board

Pierre Omidyar

Founder and Chairman

Pat Christen

Board Member

Will Fitzpatrick

Board Member

Mike Mohr

Board Member

The National Advisory Committee

Hon. Robin Carnahan

Hon. Tom Davis

Mindy Finn

Juleanna Glover

Hon. Charles A. Gonzalez

Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Brett Loper

Spencer Overton

Hon. Deborah Pryce

Ben Rattray

Arturo Vargas

Ernie Wilson

Our Financial Information

The Democracy Fund has committed more than $30 million to support a healthy democracy. Established by philanthropist and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar in 2011 and incubated inside Omidyar Network, the Democracy Fund launched as an independent foundation in July 2014 and is a member of The Omidyar Group. These are our first financial documents as an independent organization. We also support and make our grantmaking data available to the Foundation Center’s Foundation Funding for U.S. Democracy tool.

We take seriously our commitment to transparency and will continue to share additional financial information as it becomes available.

View our most recent Annual Report, audited financial documents, and 990-PF below.

How To Contact Us

Democracy Fund
1200 17th Street NW
Suite 3000
Washington, D.C. 20036
PH: 202.420.7900

Contacts
General 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.

Employment
Please visit our Job Opportunities page. No phone calls please.