Supporting Democracy Dollars Is a Powerful Way Funders Can Protect Local Elections
An op-ed by Raúl Macías and Tiffany Mendoza
Democracy Dollars is an example of powerful 501(c)(3) support funders can deploy to protect democracy
Checking in with two Black Leaders: Kaci Patterson and James Woodson
Our conversations lift up important insights into what Black-led organizations driving the racial justice movement need right now to thrive for the long haul—and the critical role philanthropy can play.
Catalyzing this Moment for Justice and Equality
One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been that I’m more grateful—including for shifts we’re seeing in how people think about institutional racism and the stark inequalities around us.
American democracy is at a crossroads. In California and across the country, the growing diversity of the population still is not reflected in who votes and who leads government. Through the Haas, Jr. Fund’s Democracy program, we are working with partners to increase civic participation and representation for communities in California that have long been underrepresented in our democratic processes.
The foundations of American democracy are at risk. Barriers to participation and voting prevent too many of our neighbors from exercising their constitutional right to have a voice in government. Making matters worse, the unresponsiveness of an unrepresentative government creates a vicious cycle as people become less inclined to get involved or to vote because of their belief that the system is rigged or that true progress is unattainable.
California, which prides itself on its diversity and its history of social activism and inclusive public policy, is not immune from this reality. Voter turnout among people of color in the state consistently lags turnout among white people, and communities of color are significantly underrepresented in politics and civic leadership.
Despite these challenges, the Haas, Jr. Fund and our partners see many bright spots and significant opportunities in our state for advancing participation, inclusion, and justice.
The Haas, Jr. Fund’s Democracy program is grounded in our unwavering dedication to the vision of a home state and a larger society where there is no us and them, but a bigger we.
Over the last decade, we have seen remarkable gains in civic participation. From 2014 to 2018, Latino turnout has doubled in San Diego, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
For more than 15 years, the Haas, Jr. Fund has been investing in leadership development work. It is a key factor in the changes we are seeing in local communities and government. We know there are thousands of existing and proven leaders ready to step up and meet the challenges of the future.
We are increasing our investments to help create a fairer and more representative democracy in California. We are working with partners across the state to expand civic participation and create new pathways to political and civic leadership for all Californians.
Raúl leads the Fund’s development and launch of strategies for achieving the Fund’s goal of building a fairer and more representative democracy in California.
We’re playing the long game—and we know that when we tap into the creativity and engagement of all people, we are building a stronger, more enduring democracy with a government that truly represents everyone.Cathy Cha, President