Constructive Politics

Working Toward More Inclusive and Representative Governance

In a time of heightened polarization, it’s difficult for America to get anything done — even on priorities that are widely shared. And large portions of the population are underrepresented in decisions that affect us all. The Constructive Politics strategy promotes pluralism: the notion that everyone belongs, that differences make us stronger, and that public policy should serve the country as a whole.

American Pluralism

Quality discourse across differences has been part of the American experiment since the beginning. Our leaders and laws must account for wide ranging experiences and perspectives to faithfully represent American interests. Diversity of thought, informed dialogue, and principled compromise are critical to American innovation, resilience, and truly representative government.

But in a time of divisive rhetoric and hyper-partisanship, dialogue is shut down, people form factions, and nothing gets done — even on priorities most Americans share. What’s more, those in leadership positions do not reflect the wide range of American experiences, undercutting our claim to representative government and limiting what we can achieve together.

Our commitment to valuing everyone in our communities should not be partisan. All Americans, including conservatives and faith leaders, have a critical stake and role to play in shaping our diverse republic.

The Constructive Policy strategy pursues a pluralism that serves America’s shared interests and values. We fund collaborations, initiatives, and experiments intended to:

  • Support candidate development to accelerate representation of women in public office ​
  • Provide opportunities for underrepresented groups to join and thrive in the congressional workforce ​
  • Teach and spread bridge-building skills that guide brave conversations, productive arguments, and consensus building on high-conflict issues
  • Support conservative and faith leaders as they define a vision true to their values for cultivating greater belonging and connection across differences, and equipping them with the skills to carry out that vision

Joint Fund for Faith-Based Civic Engagement

Faith In/And Democracy is a pilot funding and learning initiative led by Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) to explore the ways faith and faith communities can support democracy and civic life. This pilot project was created with funding from Democracy Fund and The Fetzer Institute. Last year, after a competitive nationwide Request for Proposals, PACE selected a cohort of five grantees working to bridge divides and foster respect and cooperation in our democracy. In addition to funding their projects, PACE created a learning community to capture insights from these innovative initiatives. Year Two of the program was launched on June 10, 2020.

Learn more about this effort and how to join.

Explore Our Other Governance Strategies

Governance program strategies include efforts to strengthen congressional capacity to legislate and perform oversight, as well as measures to protect the rule of law and check executive power. They also include experiments to mitigate polarization, promote pluralism, and advance shared American priorities and values.

Learn more about our Governance program

Empowering Congress

As the first branch of government described in the Constitution, the U.S. Congress bears the greatest responsibility to represent the will of the people in our democracy. But stymied by partisan gridlock and drained of resources, personnel, and expertise, Congress has abdicated power to other branches of government in recent decades and falls short of fulfilling its constitutional duties.

Learn more about this effort
Special Project

Accountability and Oversight

The Constitution designed a system of checks and balances to protect against abuse or tyranny. However, decades of executive overreach, polarization, and lack of oversight have undermined this system, allowing some elected officials to put their own interests above the public’s. The special project on Government Accountability and Oversight pursues practical approaches to restoring the balance — and protecting the rule of law.

Learn more about this effort
Democracy Fund
1200 17th Street NW Suite 300,
Washington, DC 20036