Philanthropy Can Help Bring Together those Shut Out by the Political Process

"Responsive Philanthropy" examines how grantmakers can help foster democracy

Feb 09, 2016, 08:00 ET from National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the 2016 election already in full swing, the smartest people in philanthropy know that Election Day isn't the last stop on the road to political and social change.  Instead, the most effective strategies encourage people to get involved in the political process on every level, from local to global, especially those who are normally cut out of the political process. Released today, the latest edition of "Responsive Philanthropy" focuses on how foundations and grantmakers can foster U.S. democracy through such civic engagement strategies. NCRP's roster of authors share stories of success and how voter engagement, leadership development, direct political action and more can influence long-term change.

Systems Change in the Yakima Valley

George Cheung, EJ Juárez and Kristina Logsdon discuss the historic local elections in Washington State's Yakima Valley, which resulted in three Latinas winning seats on the City Council after years of political exclusion. The former Win/Win Network leaders emphasize that such efforts benefit from foundation support for a range of complementary strategies.

How Integrated Voter Engagement Builds Power and Changes Policy

PICO National Network's Kristee Paschall shows how year-round voter engagement can achieve success on key issues such as criminal justice reform and living wage, by offering two case studies from local PICO federations. IndyCAN in Indiana and CAFé in New Mexico both participated in PICO's Let My People Vote integrated voter engagement program, which combines leadership development with issue-based organizing to empower volunteers.

Democracy Is the Best Theory of Change

Drawing on data and analysis from his new book, "Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority," elections expert and political leader Steve Phillips gives evidence that the American population is becoming more diverse – creating a sizeable bloc of voters already aligned with progressive goals and values. He argues that it's more effective for philanthropists interested in progressive social change to focus their efforts on mobilizing this voter base than on changing hearts and minds among declining segments of the population not aligned with those values.

Control, Disruption and Democracy: Philanthropy's Role in Inclusive Civic Engagement 

Gara LaMarche, president of the Democracy Alliance and vice chair of NCRP's Board of Directors, encourages foundations interested in civic engagement that reaches marginalized communities to not only tolerate but also embrace direct action tactics and other strategies that disrupt the status quo. The piece is adapted from LaMarche's keynote address at the recent Funders' Committee for Civic Participation conference.

Member Spotlight: The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

This San Francisco-based foundation helps create transformative change by focusing on its core values of fairness, equality and opportunity. Haas, Jr. supported groups that were key players in the recent Supreme Court victory for marriage equality, and also works to build civic infrastructure in communities throughout California.

More Resources on Civic Engagement

The issue also contains information about important resources for philanthropists interested in supporting civic engagement efforts across the country, including the Alliance for Justice's "Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook," the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation Working Group and the Foundation Center's Foundation Funding for U.S. Democracy mapping project

These articles, along with articles from previous issues, are available for free on the Responsive Philanthropy Article Archive. Hard-copy subscriptions to "Responsive Philanthropy" are complimentary for NCRP members and cost $25 for non-members.

About NCRP

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in Washington, D.C., is a national watchdog, research and advocacy organization that promotes philanthropy that serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity, and is held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness. Visit


SOURCE National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy