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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. 

On May 14, we brought together digital, policy, and philanthropic experts to address threats to a functioning democracy, the concrete ways to protect election integrity in the United States and around the world, and the role of funders. We met at at the Hewlett Foundation, which recently pledged $10 million to study social media and digital disinformation.

Our featured speakers discussed the impetus for the new law, how it might affect underrepresented communities, and how election offices, community organizations, and others are working together to prepare voters for the change. They also discussed the funding landscape and opportunities to start planning for statewide rollout in 2020.

The Census happens just once every 10 years but its outcomes have serious ramifications. In our October 18 program, we heard from an expert panel of speakers who shared insight on all things Census.

With our expert panel, we had an informed, nonpartisan dialogue about the legal, political, practical, and charitable routes toward fairer redistricting. We discussed what solutions could work better, and how funders can support a redistricting process that is independent, transparent and ensures that communities are fully and fairly represented locally, at the state level, and in Congress.  

After a long and ugly ride, what are the key takeaways from the election? Where will these results take us? And what are the long-term strategies that will fuel the growing movement for a direct and participatory democracy?

As we head into the final stretch of the 2016 presidential election, how can grantmakers boost participation in the political process through voter engagement? What is our role in restoring the core values of American democracy? Does having an accountable election system that serves the public interest matter to funders?