Achieving racial equity and sustaining a viable democracy go hand in hand. NCG defines democracy as the processes, systems, and structures for historically marginalized and underrepresented community members to participate in a political system that fulfills the promise of an equitable multi-racial society. As a region, Northern California can model a viable democracy, ensuring that people of color and other communities fully engage in the democratic process.
NCG is building on three approaches to make this condition a reality.
Deepen Analysis:NCG believes investing in democracy is an investment in the success of thriving and resourced communities. While there are foundations leading the way in funding this way, the majority of foundations have yet to change their grantmaking. To support this, NCG is sharing learnings, resources, and wisdom from movement groups so we can deepen the consciousness of democracy investments.
Sharpen Practice: NCG believes that philanthropy must shift how and what it funds to support the lifecycle of democracy. By doing this philanthropy can give movement groups the freedom needed to lead the way. To support this, NCG is identifying and promoting tools for foundations interested in funding this way. Our newest Community of Practice, the c(4) Learning Community brings teams of foundations together to understand the art and craft of c(4) and aligned c(3) investments to build power for movement groups.
Mobilize Progressive Investments: NCG believes progressive local and statewide policy investments in California are key to transforming power structures. By investing in movement groups working to strengthen democracy, philanthropy can build on the wisdom of local communities and invest in confidence. To support this NCG amplifies intersectional policies and voices that are creating a functional democracy.
How to Engage
NCG creates and supports programming, communications, and organizing efforts that support the life cycle of a functional democracy, from equitable access to fair elections to governance to policy implementation, holding decision-makers accountable with emphasis on investing in movement builders to strengthen these systems. We recognize policy is a powerful tool to advance equitable change and believe philanthropy has a vital role to invest in power-building organizations.
As ever, this work cannot progress alone. NCG relies on a number of informal and formal partnerships to play its part effectively, including a formal partnership with One4Democracy that intentionally works to increase direct investment in the democracy ecosystem with an eye to increasing both individual and institutional giving to movement groups in the region.
Victoria Rodarte, Senior Democracy Fellow, Northern California Grantmakers
To learn more and engage with our democracy and policy work, contact: