The healthy democracy framework was developed through an iterative and participatory process, led by Democracy Fund staff and consultants and guided by an eight-member, bipartisan academic advisory group. We began with a comprehensive literature review of more than 70 books, articles, and popular press pieces, which informed a series of semi-structured interviews with field experts, as well as our staff and board. The emerging framework was then workshopped over multiple sessions with Democracy Fund staff and board members. The academic advisers weighed in at multiple points in the process, providing guidance and pushing for clarity.
A key moment in the development of the framework occurred during the Democracy Fund National Advisory Committee meeting in early 2017. Over the course of a day and a half, National Advisory Committee members provided targeted feedback, debated the nuances associated with certain words and phrases — especially with regard to partisan and polarizing language — and connected the language and intent of the framework back to Democracy Fund’s mission and values. Our staff and board members emerged from that meeting with a deeper appreciation for the inherent tensions embedded in the framework and, more broadly, in our democracy.
The framework, as it stands, today has greatly benefited from these various pieces of input, advice, and guidance, and we are deeply grateful to our advisers, partners, staff, and board members. It represents the best of our thinking at the moment, yet we recognize it is not perfect and will continue to evolve as time goes by and as new lessons and insights become more apparent.
Members of the Academic Advisory Group:
Richard Boyd, Georgetown University
Pat Christen, DF Board Member
Archon Fung, Harvard Kennedy School
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, University of Pennsylvania
Frances Lee, University of Maryland
Spencer Overton, George Washington University
Rakesh Rajani, Ford Foundation (formerly)
John Samples, Cato Institute
Attendees of Democracy Fund’s 2017 Winter Strategy Retreat:
National Advisory Committee
Kristen Soltis Anderson
Hon. Robin Carnahan
Hon. Tom Davis
Hon. Charles A. Gonzalez
Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Hon. Deborah Pryce
Anthea Watson Strong
Charles J. Sykes