The pillars of American democracy are under attack. Across the country, lawmakers and powerful interests are seeking to suppress the votes—and the voices—of communities who are historically underrepresented due to systemic discrimination and marginalization. These forces are peddling disinformation and cynicism, manipulating congressional districts, and dismantling pro-voter policies that expand voting access for all.
As a nation, we should be making it easier—not harder—for ALL citizens to participate in our democracy, and especially communities of color, young people, and other underrepresented voices. At the Tides Healthy Democracy Fund, we are working to advance and defend everyone’s right to a voice and a vote—because a just and equitable society depends on it. We believe we can only solve the big issues of our time—economic inequality, racial justice, and climate change—if we have a democracy that is responsive to all of its people.
Four Main Priorities for 2021
- Build the enduring strength of community-led, multi-issue civic engagement groups so they can break free from the boom-and-bust cycles of election-year funding and achieve lasting gains in power and representation for their communities.
- Go on the offense to protect and advance pro-voter reforms in states where gains are possible, while defending against a wave of voter suppression laws targeting people of color, young voters, and other groups.
- Ensure a fair redistricting process following the 2020 census by fighting partisan gerrymandering and ensuring that district lines are drawn in ways that protect the power of communities of color and other underrepresented groups.
- Counter disinformation campaigns that seek to sow division, create uncertainty and doubt, and reduce support for policies that can help all communities thrive.
In the wake of people exercising their power in record numbers in 2020, we are seeing governments create oppressive policies to restrict voting access. Off-cycle funding is critical to our efforts to organize and build power in support of a racially just and accessible democracy.
Ashley Marshall, Deputy Director, Forward Justice
New Georgia Project
Activating the “Super Voters”
“If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” Nse Ufot, who leads the New Georgia Project, says that’s the number-one lesson from a 2020 election cycle when multi-issue civic engagement groups like hers helped spur record turnout among voters of color and other targeted groups. As Georgia lawmakers moved quickly in early 2021 to pass laws that would suppress voting, the New Georgia Project rapidly had to shift gears. Read more.
Make the Road Pennsylvania
Activating Voters Via One-on-One Organizing
For the organizers and activists at Make the Road Pennsylvania, building power in immigrant and Latinx communities requires nonstop engagement and outreach. In the lead-up to 2020, Make the Road was an important player in Pennsylvania’s enactment of reforms that expanded access to mail-in voting and no-excuse absentee voting. Now, Director Maegan Llerena and her team are keeping a watchful eye on proposals from state lawmakers to dilute and dismantle Pennsylvania’s pro-voter policies. Read more.
Many people of color do not see government or the process working for them. Fair redistricting can foster greater participation, increase trust, and ensure that public officials better represent communities’ interests.
Cathy Duvall, Initiative Manager, Fair Representation in Redistricting
Building a More Just and Reflective Democracy
The Healthy Democracy Fund (HDF) is a Tides Foundation charitable fund that partners with social justice donor networks and movement leaders focused on building a more just and reflective democracy by investing in long-term civic engagement efforts in historically underrepresented communities, especially communities of color, young people, and the economically disadvantaged. Since September 2019, the fund has directed more than 70 grants totaling over $5 million to 50 organizations nationwide.
During the 2020 election cycle, the Healthy Democracy Fund supported grantee partners to educate and mobilize voters and achieve important wins on these and other issues. Now we are working to protect those gains and ensure lasting improvements in representation and voice for communities that have been shut out of the halls of power for too long.
Help Protect Our Democracy
Whether you choose to donate to the Healthy Democracy Fund or partner with us on direct grants from your donor-advised fund, we share the same urgency and mission: protecting our democracy and moving the needle toward justice.
To learn more about our priorities email [email protected].