2016 has proved to be an exciting year so far for the whole team here at the Democracy Fund. Since our launch, we have been hard at work building our new organization – setting up internal systems, approving new grants, refining our strategies, and so much more. We are proud of how much progress we’ve made so far, and are thrilled to see much of our planning work begin to reach the implementation stage.
As an organization, we believe that strengthening our democracy requires the involvement of diverse voices from across the political spectrum and from all walks of life. The Democracy Fund team is a group of remarkably passionate, dedicated people who strive every day to make our democracy work better. We are delighted to welcome several new members to our team:
- Pat Christen is the newest member of the Democracy Fund’s board of directors. Pat is a managing director of The Omidyar Group, and serves as a senior advisor to Pierre and Pam Omidyar. She brings curiosity, a sense of humor, and a commitment to high accountability to her role, which focuses on cultivating environments of learning, innovation and impact across all Omidyar Group organizations and initiatives. Prior to joining The Omidyar Group, Pat served as President and CEO of HopeLab. She was President and Executive Director of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation for 15 years and also served as President of the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation She has written, studied, and lectured on social and health issues both in the U.S. and abroad. Pat is a graduate of Stanford University, where she studied biology and political science. She is also a mother of four, a role that deeply inspires her work.
- Terry Ao Minnis joined us as a Senor Fellow & Consultant for our Responsive Politics Program, bringing valuable insight into the current voting rights community and important dynamics shaping our elections. Terry serves as the director of the census and voting programs for Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), co-chairs the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Census Task Force, and sat on the U.S Department of Commerce’s 2010 Census Advisory Committee from 2002 through 2011. Terry has been counsel on numerous amicus briefs filed before the Supreme Court on voting rights cases, including Shelby County v. Holder and was one of the key leaders in campaigns on reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and on Census 2010. She received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from American University Washington College of Law and her Bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Chicago.
- Hugo Castro joined us as our Operations Manager from the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund, where he provided financial, accounting, tax, and human resources services to over 400 entrepreneurs and business owners. He graduated from the University of South Florida Business School with a Bachelors in International Business and a minor in Marketing.
- Chris Crawford joined us as a Program Assistant for our Governance Program from the Susan B. Anthony List, where he worked as a government affairs associate. During the 2014 midterm elections, Chris was Assistant National Field Director for the organization’s Super PAC, leading a GOTV operation that made over 1 million live voter contacts across four states He has worked on multiple campaigns at the local and federal level in his home state of New Hampshire and graduated from The George Washington University with a B.A. in Political Science.
- Jessica Harris joined us as a Communications Associate from Third Way, where as marketing manager, she ran the distribution network that pumped organizational ideas into the policy world, amplified the debate using digital media, and oversaw the planning and execution of hundreds of highly regarded events on Capitol Hill and across Washington, D.C. aimed at advancing the case for a pragmatic, solutions-oriented U.S. politics. Jessica has worked on multiple campaigns at the local and federal level in her home state of Colorado and graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in Political Science.
- Roland Kennedy joined us as a Grants Management Associate from the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program where as a contract and grants associate he gained domestic and international grant making experience and worked with diverse grantee organizations and donors. Roland obtained his BA in Global Studies from Villanova University, an MS in Global Studies from Northeastern University, and is a candidate for an MPhil from the University of Pennsylvania.
- Karla McLean joined us as a Network Associate on our communications team, having previously served as as an Intern and then Special Projects Coordinator here at the Democracy Fund. She also gained experience through internships with the Media, Culture, and Special Initiatives division of The MacArthur Foundation and the Illinois State Senate Policy and Budget Committee, where she helped draft legislative bills, communicated with stakeholders and senators, and analyzed the state budget. Karla graduated from the University of Chicago with a Masters in Public Policy.
Looking ahead, we expect to continue to add talent and capacity across the organization. The Democracy Fund is in the process of recruiting and hiring for several positions and we will keep you updated as we continue to grow.