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

Network Grants 2016

The Democracy Fund Network Grants are an opportunity for grantees to access funds for pilot or experimental projects that highlight collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking.

Why We Invested

The Democracy Fund seeks to support a network of grantee organizations whose activity will collectively contribute to a stronger democracy. We believe that communication and partnership among the members of our network will strengthen the individual activities of each organization. The Network Grants Program offers funding to support new collaborations that build capacity, explore new directions, fuel action, and expand the knowledge base of our network, and deep impact. The Democracy Fund accepts proposals that involve at least two grantees of the Democracy Fund on a bi-annual basis.

What We Invested In

Resilient Democracy Coalition Building

Collaborators: Congressional Management Foundation, Voice of the People, Edward M. Kennedy Institute.

Amount: $49,900.

This project creates a coalition of experts from inside and outside of Congress to creative a constructive, cohesive vision for a resilient democracy.

U.S. Postal Election Administration Problem

Collaborators: Democracy Works, Bipartisan Policy Center.

Amount: $50,000.

This project provides state and local election administrators with a common location for reporting mail system problems. Facilitating the collection of that information will help create a comprehensive picture of the scope of election administration problems across the country.

Election Data Training for Local Officials

Collaborators: Democracy Works, Center for Civic and Technology Life, National Conference of State Legislatures.

Amount: $36,000.

This project helps give local election administrators the skills to make better use of their own election data by providing detailed training on how to collect, visualize data to make arguments about cost or efficiency.

Political TV Ad Archive

Collaborators: Internet Archive, American Press Institute.

Amount: $49,634.

This project trains journalists to use the Internet Archive’s new digital library resources of political ads and television news. By layering valuable information such as fact-checker ratings and editorial insights this project will strengthen public access to civic information.

Shedding Light on PACs & Major Donors

Collaborators: Fair Vote, Common Cause Educational Fund, Center for Responsive Politics.

Amount: $50,000.

This project creates greater understanding and transparency on how political donations affect the universe of viable candidates. This research will lead to developing messaging strategies that draw attention to the key role major campaign funders have in a citizen’s ability to shape electoral bodies and therefore eventual policy.

Civic Data

Collaborators: US Vote Foundation, Rock the Vote.

Amount: $50,000.

This project will increase the amount of information available through the U.S. Vote Civic Data Application Programming Interface (API). The effects of this change include increased access to information for organizations like Rock the Vote including state voter requirements, election dates and deadlines, and voting methods.

Youth Lead the Charge

Collaborators: Participatory Budgeting Project, Democracy Works, City of Boston.

Amount: $17,500.

This project strives to increase turnout in participatory budgeting (PB) processes by using TurboVote to provide consistent, streamlined election reminders for the City of Boston’s participatory budgeting program for youth, Youth Lead the Change (YLC).

Let’s Read The News

Collaborators: Institute for Non-Profit News, Bridge Magazine, Online News Association Detroit, Columbia Journalism Review.

Amount: $25,875.

The project “Let’s Read the News” will convene a group of people to form a journalism book club to pilot an experimental civic engagement program. It will include both journalists, people who care about the news, and a featured guest speaker to discuss relevant topics and issues. Available and advertised to the public, people can register in advance to receive in advance the journalism reading list.

Understating Engagement with Election Related News

Collaborators: The University of Texas Austin, Engaging News Project, American Press Institute.

Amount: $31,736.

The project seeks to understand how newsrooms can better optimize their engagement metrics, particularly with election‐related coverage. By analyzing news story type, instead of click traffic, this research will illuminate the types of articles that generate the most interest form communities.

Youth Engagement Research

Collaborators: The Monkey Cage, CIRCLE.

Amount: $15,000.

This project will highlight valuable new research on youth voting and political engagement for publication through the Monkey Cage and the political press. By making nonpartisan practitioners more aware of recent research relevant to youth voting and highlighting new and overlooked aspects of youth political engagement they hope improve the national conversation about youth as voters.

Total Commitment

In 2016, the Democracy Fund invested $375,645 in 10 network grants.