Now, as Senior Director for Hirsch Philanthropy Partners, I listen to and collaborate with philanthropists and community partners on critical issues every day. I offer my expert perspective, encourage support, and advise families to take calculated risks. Often our interests align but if they don’t, I’m not here to impose my passions and priorities on the families I work with. Until now.

Today, I’m putting a stake in the ground.

You know the context already: America is in crisis. Gun violence and mass shootings in what should be our safe spaces—schools, churches, hospitals, and supermarkets. A global pandemic. Rampant misinformation in a fragmented digital environment. Declining access to local journalism. Suppression of voting rights. Threats to election administrators. The January 6th insurrection. A public education crisis. Dismantled reproductive rights. Destabilizing inequality. White supremacy. Racial violence. Global democracies under attack, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine the most dire and tragic manifestation.

You already give generously to education, health care, college access, the arts, racial justice, reproductive rights, gun violence prevention, mental health, homelessness, climate change, disaster relief, and so much more. Devoting more funding to shore up a well-functioning and responsive democracy will improve America’s ability to make progress on all of these issues. In fact, progress on these issues depends on a functioning democracy.

Just look at a few hot button issues—reproductive justice, gun safety, and health care. 64% of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, 88% of Americans support background checks on gun sales, and a well-functioning democracy improves health outcomes, life expectancy and even health care coverage. However, policies don’t match the public interest or public opinion because our representative democracy is failing us.

Democracy is a foundational issue that must be solved and we have an opportunity in this crisis to reimagine and create a more just, multi-racial democracy that works on behalf of everyone, including BIPOC communities who have been excluded for too long but whose full and vibrant participation are necessary for a stronger democracy.

Read the full article about investing in democracy by Adrienne Bousian at National Center for Family Philanthropy.