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

Our Investees

Research & Events

In Progress

Randomized Controlled Experiments on Campaign Finance Reform

Fordham University

Researchers at Fordham and other partner universities will conduct a series of field experiments to learn more about the role of money in the American political system and to assess the value of different reforms.

Using Technology to Improve Campaign Compliance with Small-Donor Matching Programs

Reinvent Albany

A group of technology and policy experts will produce a report that recommends how New York State could use technology to modernize compliance and reporting of campaign finance contributions under a proposed small-donor matching system.

Assessing Conservative Views on Campaign Finance Reform

Fund for the Republic

A research team working with Fund for the Republic will survey conservative leaders in order to better understand their attitudes and views about campaign financing and the US political system.

Best Practices in the Administration of Elections

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Leading researchers from MIT, Harvard, and several other universities will compile best practices in the administration of elections in order to inform the practices of local election officials as well as the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.

Mapping the Flows of Political Reform Funding


The Foundation Center will develop a common taxonomy to categorize the types of grants made to support political reform and develop an interactive map to show how nonprofits working on political reform in the US are funded.

Ranked Choices Voting and Its Effects on the Tone of Campaigning


A team of researchers from several universities will study whether ranked choice voting produces more civil campaign behavior by looking at current elections in 2013 and 2014, as well as historical records from elections in past cycles.

Fostering Conversation on Transparency and Governance

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Taxpayers for Common Sense will convene a series of meetings to explore commonalities and differences among a wide range of stakeholders interested in transparency and good governance.

Assessing Tea Party Views on Political Reform

The College of William & Mary

Researchers will conduct a survey exploring Tea Party members' views on political reform and the current state of partisan polarization.

Understanding Approaches to News Literacy


CIRCLE will lead a process to engage experts in the news literacy and civic education field to understand approaches that will have broadest possible support for strengthening informed participation through raising the news literacy of the public.

Understanding Deliberative Democratic Processes

The Pennsylvania State University

This project analyzes the deliberative democratic process and the influence of the citizens initiative review (CIR) on voters’ understanding of ballot initiatives.

Fostering Civic Engagement Through an Imagination Fellowship

Civic Hall Labs

Civic Hall Labs will create an Imagination Fellowship that explores new ways for the public to engage in American democracy through cultural events and trends.

The News Measures Research Project

Duke University

The News Measures Research Project focuses on developing tools to help a wide range of stakeholders (e.g., news organizations, funders, researchers) evaluate the needs and interests of news audiences, the quality of journalistic content, and the health of local media ecosystems.

Understanding the American Electorate

Ethics and Public Policy Center

The Ethics and Public Policy Center will convene a bipartisan group of experts to investigate how voting patterns are changing, support new research about the changing electorate, and publish analyses to help political leaders and experts better understand the implications for our political system.

Policy Innovation: A People’s Democracy in the Next Administration Project

Georgetown University

This project will explore innovation in policy making related to the federal government generally, and more specifically related to civic engagement, and participatory budgeting.

Civic Engagement and Elections Research Collaborative Fund

New Venture Fund

The Collaborative Fund, a joint effort of democracy funders at the New Venture Fund, seeks to strengthen the field of elections and voting research and provide funding for academic and policy research that supports the work of the philanthropic sectors.

Diversity in Journalism Research

University of North Texas Foundation

This study seeks to qualitatively evaluate the impact of diversity placement programs on the recruitment and retention of minority journalists in U.S. newspaper newsrooms between 2000 and 2015.

Reboot Congress Conference

Lincoln Network Inc

The conference seeks to bring together leaders from the technology industry and political institutions in Washington, D.C. to try to bridge the gap between tech and our government in Washington.

Robert H. Michel Retrospective and Study

Association of Centers for the Study of Congress

The ACSC, an independent alliance of organizations which promote the study of the U.S. Congress, seeks to commission a series of essays by scholars, historians, and political scientists to explain themes such as political polarization, congressional gridlock, and leadership dysfunction.

Interdisciplinary Study to Counteract Polarization in Congress

University of Maryland

A collaborative research initiative in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress and Millennial Action Project, aimed at exploring the behavioral and psychological aspects of political cooperation to counteract polarization in American government.

Platform Surveillance and Authoritarianism Research

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This project, lead by Zeynep Tufekci, aims to develop conceptual and practical tools to understand the power and pitfalls of data surveillance and the digital economy. With the help of our grant, this project will create a document that lays out the kind of roles researchers could play.

Media and Democracy Research Project

Social Science Research Council

This grant will support the Social Science Research Council's research, convenings, and communication tools on media and democracy, cutting across two areas of their existing work- Anxieties of Democracy and Digital culture.


Campaign Finance Institute Money in Politics Working Group


The Campaign Finance Institute is a non-partisan, specialized think tank committed to objective research and public education in the service of democratic participation and accountability.... Read More

2012 Impact Evaluations


Tuft University researchers evaluated a series of programs that intended to inform voters, expose them to alternative points of view, and reduce political deception during the 2012 election.... Read More

Business Perspectives on Campaign Finance

Committee on Economic Development

CED surveyed business leaders in order to better understand their attitudes about campaign financing and the US political system.... Read More

Experiments in Fact Checking and Civil Discourse

New America Foundation

Scholars from Dartmouth University, the University of Texas, and Georgia State University conducted real-world experiments to learn about how media can more effectively fact check political leaders and expose readers to more diverse points of view.... Read More

Faith, Politics, and Our Better Angels

Faith & Politics Institute

Twenty faith leaders from across the political spectrum came together in June 2012 to discuss the importance of promoting civility in the public sphere and find ways to work together.... Read More

At the Bridge: 2015 Congressional Pilgrimage

Faith & Politics Institute

The Institute will bring members of Congress, their staff, and national leaders together for dynamic experiences, such as the historic pilgrimage for the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, which help build bonds outside the context of partisan disagreements. ... Read More

End-to-End Verifiable Remote Voting Specification and Assessment Study

U.S. Vote Foundation

End-to-end encryption and election system scientists, usability specialists, audit and voting system testing experts will join with election officials to specify and evaluate a new approach to secure, online voting for military, overseas and disabled voters.... Read More

Assessing the Impact of the People’s Pledge Through Research

The Public Citizen Foundation

The People’s Pledge is unique candidate driven tool that seeks to remove the influence of outside money on elections. This grant explores the implications and effectiveness of the Pledge. ... Read More