Philanthropy’s Necessary Role in Advancing an Inclusive, Multiracial Democracy
At a time when democracy is being challenged, both at home and abroad, finding avenues to support an inclusive and multiracial society has become tantamount.
American democracy is under siege in three key areas:
- Threats to free and fair elections
- Threats to accurate population data
- Threats to fair representation
It is in this climate that authors Gary D. Bass, Ph.D., and Gaurab Bansal, J.D. write their essay, “Philanthropy’s Necessary Role in Advancing an Inclusive, Multiracial Democracy.”
Dr. Bass is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership, consultant to the Bauman Foundation and its Executive Director Emeritus. Gaurab Bansal is Managing Director in the family office of Jeff and Tricia Raikes in Seattle, WA, where he supports their grantmaking to advance an inclusive, multiracial democracy and build a more equitable economy.
Bass and Bansal argue that while philanthropy is no substitute for a healthy democracy, the sector has a necessary role to play. They highlight three actions funders can take to help strengthen democracy and provide specific examples:
- Talk with your grantees about democracy.
- Partner with foundation and other philanthropic peers.
- Support democratic participation in your communities.
Fundamentally, philanthropists are in a unique position to respond nimbly and quickly to the needs of their communities, particularly around the state of American democracy. As Bass and Bansal explain, “the goal should be to improve our democracy so that all members of society – those of different races, religious beliefs, economic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and identities – have equal abilities to participate and be fairly represented whether that involves voting or other forms of civic engagement.”
Source: Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership
Additionally, on March 22, 2022, the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership hosted a discussion between John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University, and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. In his opening remarks, President DiGioia acknowledged, “For a quarter century now, the Center has worked to strengthen and further our understanding of how nonprofits can impact inequality and injustice through signature programs like the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate.” This event furthers the Center’s work to build the leadership of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. During the conversation, Darren Walker focused on three central themes: understanding the history of philanthropy, the threat of inequality to a strong democracy, and that everyone must be engaged in order to change our organizations, our communities and our nation.