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For the People: Protecting and Restoring Faith in Our Democracy

Thursday, April 18, 2019 -
10:00am to 12:00pm PDT
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360 | San Francisco, CA 94105
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On March 8, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, which is perhaps the most comprehensive political reform proposal in a generation by our elected representatives. The “For the People Act” seeks to restore faith in our republican democracy as a genuinely representative system open to broad participation and protected from corruption and the outsized influence of special interest money. The provisions of the bill would make it easier for people to vote and strengthen campaign finance & ethics laws. 

H.R. 1 became the first bill filed by the new Congress in large part due to a broad-based collaboration of more than 130 organizations, Declaration for American Democracy, which came together to build the public will needed to advance democracy reforms. The coalition, made up of civil rights, environmental, labor, faith-based, health, gun safety, immigration, science, choice and reform organizations, was fueled with philanthropic support from Open Society Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation and the Piper Fund.

Join three champions of this movement — Trellis Stepter, Lisa Gilbert and Emma Greenspan — for a closer look at how policy leaders, advocates, and philanthropic organizations are collaborating to push for a representative government that truly reflects the promise of American democracy.


Lisa GilbertVice President of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen

Lisa is Public Citizen's Vice President of Legislative Affairs. Previously, she served as the deputy director and then director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. She advocates for government transparency and integrity, financial reform, civil justice and consumer protection. Before coming to Public Citizen, she was the Democracy Advocate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, where she focused on good government, ethics, and campaign finance reform. Prior to U.S. PIRG, Gilbert was a campaign director who organized outreach campaigns to pass legislation on social justice and environmental issues for organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, Sierra Club and Environment Washington.

Gilbert has testified before Congress and been quoted in publications such as The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fox News and NPR. She was also a featured contributor to the National Journal's "Expert Blog" on lobbying and ethics, is a contributor to the Hill, and writes frequently for The Huffington Post and Yahoo Finance among other publications.

Emma Greenman, Director of Voting Rights & Democracy, Center for Popular Democracy

Emma directs CPD’s national Voting Rights and Democracy program, working with state partners and national allies to protect and increase access to the ballot and strengthen the voice of the New American Majority in the electoral process. Emma manages strategy, policy development, legal and strategic research and issue campaigns to drive CPD’s work on voting rights and elections, money in politics, redistricting and other democracy reforms. Emma has over 15 years of experience working on democracy and election law issues as an attorney, a policy expert and a political advocate. Before joining CPD, Emma practiced law as a public defender and as a civil litigator at Maslon LLP where she also served as pro bono counsel to the ACLU-Minnesota on voting rights litigation and the Minnesota Land Trust on conservation litigation. While in law school, Emma worked on appellate campaign finance litigation at the Brennan Center for Justice, interned at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and directed a national youth voting rights institute.

Emma received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law; her M.P.A. from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was awarded the Kennedy School Public Service Fellowship; and her bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, from The George Washington University. She serves on the board of the American Constitution Society - Minneapolis-St. Paul Lawyer Chapter and as a member of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

Trellis Stepter, Program Officer, Mertz Gilmore Foundation

trellis stepter serves as Program Officer for the Mertz Gilmore Foundation’s Democratic Values and Climate Change Solutions programs. He brings 15 years’ experience working on racial, social, and economic justice policy in the public and philanthropic sectors. trellis served as the program officer for Money in Politics at the Piper Fund, a funder collaborative and initiative of the Proteus Fund. In 2011, he was selected to participate in a yearlong distinguished fellowship program at the Proteus Fund to engage diverse and entrepreneurial leaders to enter the field of philanthropy. Previously, trellis worked in public service in both the executive and legislative branch. He served as Director of Government Affairs for the Secretary of Transportation in the administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. He also served as chief of staff to the Assistant Majority Leader in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Originally from New Orleans, trellis is a graduate of the Juilliard School Drama Division.


This program is co-sponsored by the Bay Area Democracy Funders.

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This event is open to members and non-members. 

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