Paper Release

Posted in News Story

March 24, 2022

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:

  1. Threats to free and fair elections
  2. Threats to accurate population data
  3. 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:

  1. Talk with your grantees about democracy.
  2. Partner with foundation and other philanthropic peers.
  3. 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.”