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

OUR

PRIORITIES

Of The People

We will work to create a more responsive political system by making government more accountable to the public and by finding common ground solutions to improve our campaign finance system.

By The People

We will seek to foster a more informed and active electorate by arming voters with the information and skills they need to make informed choices, by reducing deceptive campaign tactics and by encouraging active civic participation.

For the People

We will support and encourage our political system to solve our most pressing problems by fostering dialogue across the ideological spectrum and by supporting reforms that decrease the incentives for hyper-partisanship.

Of The People

A Responsive Political System

Government “of the people” requires a political system that responds to the priorities and needs of the American public. While organized interest groups are easily heard in the halls of Congress, the general public has fewer avenues to ensure that its priorities are reflected in the policy making process. We need to find ways to make government more accountable to the public and less accountable to political donors.

To create a more responsive political system, the Democracy Fund will explore a range of strategies aimed at increasing the public’s voice in our political process and reducing the demands placed on political candidates that make them more dependent on large donors. We will also look to increase public awareness about how donors influence the political process and create political will for change.

The Democracy Fund will pursue bi- and non-partisan research, dialogue, and negotiation about political reforms that may improve our campaign finance system and reduce corruption. Our aim is to understand how different types of reform work and to build political consensus around those that work best.

The Democracy Fund has invested in the Campaign Finance Institute in order to identify the most important research questions that scholars must address in order to make better decisions about campaign finance reform policy. By convening a diverse group of scholars from across the political spectrum, CFI and its partners will develop a nonpartisan research agenda for campaign finance reform.

By The People

AN INFORMED ELECTORATE

Government “by the people” depends on voters having the information and skills needed to govern. Media must combat misinformation, expose voters to different points of view, and inform the public debate. New technology must provide the public with better access to information and better filters for making sense of the news. Our education system must equip citizens with the skills required to decipher the messages they hear from political leaders and through the media.

To create a more informed electorate, the Democracy Fund will champion truth-seeking journalism that holds political leaders accountable for what they say and provides voters with adequate context to draw conclusions about the choices in front of them. We will work with media reformers to increase the diversity of viewpoints to which the public is exposed and foster more sustainable and effective journalistic institutions.

Additionally, the Democracy Fund will seek out new innovations in technology and media, while exploring opportunities for the public to engage in dialogue about the greatest challenges facing our nation.

The Democracy Fund has invested in the Annenberg Public Policy Center's Flackcheck.org (sister site to Factcheck.org) in order to experiment with ways to reduce the impact of deceptive campaign ads on voters. During the 2012 election, Flackcheck.org encouraged tv stations to reject misleading 3rd party ads and to run Ad Watches during their news programs. The organization also produced parody videos that highlighted and made fun of deceptive claims in campaign ads.

Read More

For the People

BIPARTISAN PROBLEM SOLVING

Government “for the people” requires our political process to have the capacity to rise above our differences and find solutions to our most pressing problems. Unfortunately, the polarization of American politics has often left our political institutions paralyzed and unable to function. New political institutions are needed to support authentic dialogue and collaborative problem solving among citizens, advocates, and leaders. And political reforms are needed to create a greater incentive to reach across the aisle and work towards principled compromise.

The Democracy fund seeks to foster better, more trusting relationships among political leaders and encourage greater civility to increase their capacity to work together to solve problems. We will study reforms to our electoral system and to Congressional procedures in order to reduce the institutional influences that produce hyper-partisanship.

Finally, the Democracy Fund will build up the political infrastructure needed to support collaborative problem solving by creating more political will for leaders to reach across the aisle.

The Democracy Fund has invested in the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Democracy Program in order to identify and assess bipartisan solutions that reduce political polarization and make American democracy work better. In 2012, BPC produced recommendations about how Congress could work better through a set of procedural reforms and analyzed the effectiveness of different types of nonpartisan and bipartisan redistricting reforms.

Read More