Mission Critical: How Philanthropy Is Trying to Help Save Democracy
he Northwest Health Foundation has a full plate. It makes grants to education and health programs in Oregon and Washington State, advocates for people with disabilities, and tackles other issues to advance its mission.
But it recently decided to add another priority: It will spend $5 million over five years to boost turnout at the polls and help people, particularly minorities, get more involved in policy debates. That’s a significant sum for a fund with $55 million in assets, and a sign of how important it thinks it is to get more Americans to vote and show where they stand on a range of national and local public policy issues.
“Health is far more than health care,” says Jesse Beason, the foundation’s president. “The primary drivers of health are giant issues like education, economic opportunity, and racism.”
In other words, helping democracy work better, especially for the poor and disenfranchised, isn’t mission creep for Northwest Health; it’s mission-critical.
Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy