Dreaming Big For Democracy's Next Chapter

Host Organization: Democracy Funders Network


American democracy is under threat, and many pro-democracy actors have been appropriately focused on defending it. The problem is that defense, while critical, is insufficient. It can narrow our aperture of what’s possible and, eventually, lead to burnout and disengagement. There are also limits to using fear and threat to motivate the public. Put simply, preserving the status quo is unlikely to be a durably winning strategy, especially at a time of accelerating and disruptive change.

How can a field so focused on defense learn to add an offense that inspires and energizes the American public? In this program, we’ll share the findings of our new report, Imagining Better Futures for American Democracy, which tackles this question head on. In this conversation we will hear from democracy experts and practitioners, and we’ll discuss the perils of not being aspirational or imaginative enough and what it would take to start shifting the mindset of the pro-democracy community.

This program is for funders who are interested in expanding their thinking about the future of America’s democratic experiment, becoming more aware of the narrative and structural constraints that make it hard to imagine better futures ahead, and learning about the people and organizations who are thinking boldly and longer term about the future.


  • Farbod Faraji, Counsel, Protect Democracy

  • Nils Gilman, Senior VP, Programs, Berggruen Institute

  • Suzette Brooks Masters, Lead, Better Futures Project, and report author

  • Julia Roig, Founder & Chief Network Weaver, Horizons Project

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