A well-functioning democracy depends on healthy and trusted public and private institutions; an economy that provides broad-based opportunity and prosperity; tolerance and respect for one another and our differences; and a vibrant civic life. But democracy is undergoing a period of stress that some might even call decline. The challenges of our time raise questions about the role of philanthropy and whether the sector has acted aggressively and effectively to stem the decline of confidence in government, institutions, and one another.
To explore where philanthropy might make more of a difference, the Kettering Foundation and the Knight Foundation invited leading thinkers on the future of our democracy to write about the challenges and opportunities for American democracy and what role philanthropy can play in addressing those challenges.
All 20 essays are available on our website.
A Better, Stronger America: Together by David Mathews
Philanthropy’s Role in Strengthening American Democracy: A Diverse Agenda by Alberto Ibargüen and Sam Gill
Gathering: A Prerequisite for Democracy by Lucy Bernholz
The Conversations of a Self-Governing People by Emily Chamlee-Wright
Death and Democracy by Cathy J. Cohen
The End of Philanthropy by Mary Anne Franks
Comprehensive Public Sector Reform by Francis Fukuyama
Philanthropy’s Techno-Solutionism Problem by danah boyd and Janet Haven
Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the Twenty-First Century by Antonia Hernández
To Save Democracy, First Save Society by Brian Hooks
Fear and Loathing in American Politics by Shanto Iyengar
Fortifying Our Democracy in an Alienated Age by Yuval Levin
Building Civic Bridges through a Lens of Racial Justice by Martha McCoy
What Philanthropies Should—and Shouldn’t—Do to Save Democracy by Yascha Mounk
What Big Philanthropy Can Learn from Big Tech by Safiya U. Noble
An Agenda for Economic Democracy by K. Sabeel Rahman
The Enduring Insight of John Dewey by Melvin L. Rogers
“Defactionalizing” Science by Daniel M. Rothschild
Building Connective Democracy to Combat Polarization by Natalie J. Stroud and Gina M. Masullo
Conformity Culture by Janet Tran