Democracy Fund Invests $23 Million to Ensure Our Elections Are Free, Fair, and Representative

May 29, 2024

Philanthropy’s typical “wait and see” approach has proven to be too little, too late for fast-moving election cycles. With primary elections underway, the pro-democracy organizations working to protect free, fair and representative elections need support now to prepare and execute planned strategies.

In February, Democracy Fund worked with dozens of other philanthropies to launch the nonpartisan 501(c)3 All by April pledge. Nearly 200 foundations, individual donors, philanthropic advisors, and pooled funds signed on, agreeing to commit funds earlier and move them sooner than we have in the past.

Democracy Fund has fulfilled our All by April commitment by:

  • Expediting the distribution of $23 million by the end of April in election-focused grants for this election cycle. This includes new grants awarded in 2023 and 2024 and early distribution of committed 2024 funding for multi-year grantees.
  • Streamlining grant processes as much as possible, particularly for renewal grants.
  • Providing as many general support grants as possible so grantees can be responsive to evolving opportunities and threats to free and fair elections.

“Year after year, pro-democracy field organizations tell us that money from philanthropy arrived too late to be used effectively and efficiently. We took action on that learning this year by rallying the field through All by April. Getting unrestricted dollars to grantees faster means they are better able to plan, hire, and train staff and build the networks needed for this election cycle and beyond. All by April is proof of the positive impact philanthropy can have when we join together and listen to what our grantees tell us they need.” – Joe Goldman, president, Democracy Fund

Philanthropy Should Move at the Speed of Grantees

The grantees we support work year-round to ensure our elections are free, fair, and representative.

“For organizations like New Georgia Project whose work is critical every year, not just in election years — early and ongoing investment is not only needed, but essential. We already have to contend with the boom-and-bust cycle of funding that follows major election years, and having resources to start the year allows us to have an impact immediately and plan for the future. Because of early investment in 2024, we have already helped more than 13,000 Georgians register to vote, knocked on more than 84,000 doors, and talked to thousands of Georgians about voting this year. We build power year over year and knowing early that we have resources to support our work gives us the stability we need to have the greatest impact we can have.” – Kendra Cotton, CEO, New Georgia Project

The organizations receiving expedited and additional support as a result of the All by April campaign are the cornerstone of our democracy. Whether they are fighting to reduce barriers to voting, combating misinformation, recruiting poll workers, or protecting voters and election administrators — these nonpartisan groups help connect voters to the ballot and promote a more equitable democracy. They need fast, consistent, and flexible dollars to do their best work.

“Philanthropic funding is critical to the success of election protection, GOTV, and other strategies to advance free and fair elections and protect our democracy. Unfortunately, this funding often comes too late to meet local needs. That’s why we were thrilled to learn about the All by April campaign led by Democracy Fund. This effort has raised awareness of the need for speed in democracy funding for the sector and helped us to achieve our fundraising goals for Public Rights Project’s Election Protection Hub.” — Jill Habig, founder and CEO, Public Rights Project

The need for free, fair, and representative elections won’t stop after this year. Pro-democracy field organizations will continue to work tirelessly to protect free, fair, and representative elections, and philanthropy has a responsibility to modernize our grantmaking approach for the long-term. Early funding provides strong benefits to grantees and the positive impact on our democracy is clear.

“Getting ahead of the election cycle with time to plan is critical to our success in the big presidential election years. We’ve had an early renewal that provided both early and extra funding to help make sure voters have useful, well-designed information and tools that invite them to participate in our democracy.” — Whitney Quesenbery, director, Center for Civic Design

How Democracy Fund Drives Support for Elections & Voting

To guide our grantmaking, we will continue to deepen our conversations with grant recipients and their communities. In addition to this year’s All by April grants, we are committed to investing in:

  • Grassroots organizations that are working to build power in their communities.
  • Support for our election systems and administrators.
  • Structural changes to equalize voters’ power and address the fairness and legitimacy of the election system.

We will continue to invite peer funders to help us create a stronger pro-democracy field that values and protects everyone’s right to an election system that consistently produces trusted results, fairly represents the will of the majority of voters, and reflects equitable participation — especially among communities of color. Together, we can improve our philanthropic practices to better support the building of an inclusive, multiracial democracy.

*Please Note: Democracy Fund does not accept unsolicited business plans, proposals, or personal requests. For general inquiries, contact Check out our website to learn more about our work and our grantees.

Democracy Fund
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