Announcing a New Fund for Investing in Faith in Democracy

Chris Crawford
June 3, 2019

Last year, I wrote a blog about Democracy Fund’s work to engage faith leaders and faith-based organizations in helping to strengthen our democracy. Since then, we continue to hunger for a more inclusive America in which our political system respects the dignity of every individual and serves the needs of the American people. To support this mission, we have continued to refine our approach and increase our investments in leaders and organizations across faith traditions that are promoting pluralism and reducing polarization in their communities.

Now, Democracy Fund is announcing an exciting new opportunity for organizations that are interested in exploring the ways that communities of faith can support democratic values and civic institutions, build bridges, and foster cooperation and civic engagement.

Democracy Fund and The Fetzer Institute have invested in a Faith In/And Democracy Pooled Fund that will be hosted and distributed by Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE).

PACE has issued a Request for Proposals for organizations from around the country to apply for grants to support their important work. Organizations selected for grants will be a part of a learning community that explores important questions facing our democracy:

  • How do communities of faith, religion, and/or spirituality prepare and train leaders to support democratic values and civic institutions?
  • What would it look like to have an effective multi-ethnic, religiously pluralistic democracy?
  • How can intra- and interfaith dialogue lead to actions that enhance civic life?
  • How do leaders reach “beyond the choir” to include participants who are not comfortable with or amenable to talking across difference?
  • How does faith intersect with other identifiers such as race, class, and gender, and how do those identities taken collectively influence participation in civic life?
  • What means, methods, and tools have faith, religious, or spiritual communities used successfully to bridge difference and foster cooperation and civic engagement?

This project is an important step in the development of the Faith in Democracy portfolio at Democracy Fund. After an initial round of investments in 2017 and 2018, we are excited to begin partnering with other funders to increase our impact in this important space. We are hoping that this partnership with our friends at The Fetzer Institute can serve as an example of how foundations can pool their resources to experiment, learn, and make change together.

A year ago, I wrote that Democracy Fund is interested in supporting bold leaders who are working to unify Americans and pr­­omote our shared values, and that we hope to experiment with and scale models to further strengthen and improve our democracy. The Faith In/And Democracy Initiative at PACE will identify and support those exact leaders around the country. As PACE makes their initial investments, we will be sure to share inspiring stories, lessons learned, and invitations to join this important work.

If you know an organization that PACE should consider, please encourage them to apply by clicking here.

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