A Toolkit for Strengthening Democracy

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

The organizations profiled in this guide and in “We the People: Nonprofits Making an Impact” provide a sampling of ways philanthropic funders and the nonprofits they support are working to strengthen democracy. For those interested in identifying philanthropic opportunities beyond what we provided as examples, the following resources can help:

National Funders and Affinity Groups

Democracy Fund is a private foundation created by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure our political system can withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Democracy Fund has invested more than $100 million in support of a healthy democracy, including for modern elections, effective governance, and a vibrant public square.

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) is a membership network of foundations and funders that invest in civic engagement and democracy. PACE’s mission is to inspire interest, understanding, and investment in civic engagement within philanthropy and to be a voice for philanthropy in larger conversations about civic engagement, service, and democratic practice.

The Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP) is a network of funders supporting non-partisan efforts to engage voters, eliminate structural barriers to voting, advance reforms to improve government and electoral systems, and inspire public involvement in civic life. The State Infrastructure Funders Table is a group based at FCCP dedicated to supporting state-based civic engagement efforts. FCCP also has active working groups on the Census, Money in Politics, as well as research and experimentation.

Media Impact Funders is a member-supported network of funders who seek to improve society through media and technology. In addition to its Media Grants Data Map, it provides information for grantmakers interested in using media to further their missions, convenes and connects funders and allies, and supports the ever-growing field of media that informs and engages.

Catalogues of Existing Grants and Funders 

Foundation Funding for U.S. Democracy is a free resource provided by Candid (formerly Guidestar and the Foundation Center) to catalog and visualize democracy grantmaking in the United States. With data available since 2011, grants are sortable by strategy (advocacy, organizing, etc.), population served, and geography.

Media Grants Data Map, a product of Media Impact Funders, provides a platform for finding foundations, recipients, and grants focused on media grantmaking.

The Council on Foundations Community Foundation Locator can identify community foundations—grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. As such, some may be effective partners or sources of information on related initiatives in your area.

Measuring Progress

The National Conference on Citizenship works with partners in government and civil society to help at multiple levels, including local, city, state, and national, to develop a Civic Health Index that can guide philanthropic efforts.

Integrating Civic Engagement into Existing Efforts

Nonprofit Vote provides resources for nonprofits to incorporate nonpartisan voter engagement into their ongoing programs and services.

GrantCraft’s guide on participatory grantmaking helps funders shift decision-making power to communities that funders aim to serve.

Grantmakers in Health provides information on how funders can formalize community input through a community advisory committee, which also provides the benefits of civic membership to those who serve on it.

Supporting Newsrooms

NewsMatch is a national matching-gift campaign that offers a simple, turnkey platform for all types of funders to support quality news. The 2018 campaign raised $7.6 million for 154 nonprofit news organizations. The organization also provides expert training and individualized coaching to help newsrooms develop their fundraising capacity.