Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations 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 organizations 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.

Nonpartisanship 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.

A catalyst for change, the Democracy Fund supports risk-taking ideas and strategies that shift the incentives driving political behavior. We value evidence-based learning both in developing and reflecting on our work. As a collaborative organization, we endeavor to be transparent and to build the capacity to provide our partners with a broad range of resources to support our shared goals. 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 as an initiative of Omidyar Network. In 2014, the Democracy Fund became an independent private foundation. 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

Grant Making

And Investment Criteria

The Democracy Fund aims to play a catalytic role in improving our political system through our grant making. We typically make a substantial investment in the success of our grantee organizations. We work closely with our grantees to help them achieve their goals, seeking a governance role where appropriate. To have the greatest impact, 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 that use innovative approaches that are in keeping with our three 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, across the nation. 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.

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 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.


Democracy Fund Team


Joe Goldman


Natalie Adona

Research Associate

Adam Ambrogi

Program Director

Tony Bowen

Director of Grants Management & Operations

Hugo Castro

Operations Manager

Chris Crawford

Program Assistant

Luke Farrell

Policy Intern

Tom Glaisyer

Program Director

Jessica Harris

Communications Associate

Betsy Wright Hawkings

Program Director

Roland Kennedy

Grants Management Associate

Mike Lally

Operations Assistant

Karla McLean

Networks Associate

Chris Nehls

Associate for Research and Systems

Freddie Salas

Program Assistant

Stacey Scholl

Program Associate

Donata Secondo

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Associate

Lauren Strayer

Director of Communications

Emma Thomson

Digital Communications Assistant

Paul Waters

Program Associate

Margaret Yao

Chief People Officer

Senior Fellows and Consultants

Marvin Ammori

Senior Fellow & Consultant

Terry Ao Minnis

Senior Fellow & Consultant

Paul S. DeGregorio

Senior Fellow & Consultant

Geneva Overholser

Senior Fellow & Consultant

Jake Shapiro

Senior Fellow & Consultant


Democracy Fund Board

Pierre Omidyar

Founder and Chairman

Mike Mohr

Board Member

Will Fitzpatrick

Board Member

Pat Christen

Board Member


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


Financial Information

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations 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. Established by philanthropist and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and incubated inside Omidyar Network, the Democracy Fund launched as an independent foundation in July 2014. These are our first financial documents as an independent organization. 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 Office
1333 New Hampshire Avenue, Suite 730
Washington, DC 20036
Ph: 202.420.7900

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

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