Giving Compass' Take:

• New Profit has selected seven social entrepreneurs for a new grant program that focuses on stimulating civic participation and engagement in communities. 

• As more organizations launch to address this country's "democracy dilemma," how can philanthropy play a supporting role?

•  Read about philanthropy in the service of democracy.

Democracy in the U.S., you may have noticed, has found itself on shaky ground. According to polling from last year, less than half of people in the country feel the current political system is effective at upholding their rights, and few people believe that elected officials are adequately held accountable for misconduct and failings.

This is not a great situation, and a number of organizations and nonprofits have recently launched in an attempt to address the root causes of the U.S.’s democracy dilemma.

New Profit, a venture philanthropy organization that funds social entrepreneurs, recognized this issue. Through a new grant program specifically for organizations addressing democracy issues called Civic Lab, New Profit selected seven nonprofits trying to build trust across communities and reengage people in democratic processes.

Seven democracy entrepreneurs that New Profit selected from a pool of around 150 potential candidates have been identified by the nonprofit. Each will receive a grant of $50,000, and a year of support from New Profit to grow the reach and impact of their organization. The Civic Lab cohort includes:

  • Sarah Audelo, through the Alliance for Youth Organizing, works with a number of youth-led advocacy efforts across the country to grow their impact.
  • Emily Cherniack‘s New Politics Academy encourages and trains citizens with a history of service–like veterans and former Peace Corps members–to run for office, the idea being that the commitment to service could bridge  partisan lines.
  • Katie Fahey‘s new organization, The People, aims to build a nonpartisan coalition of Americans interested in reforming government and ending questionable practices like gerrymandering and voter suppression.
  • Rev. Gregory Holston founded POWER, which currently only extends across parts of Pennsylvania, but unites faith-based communities to advocate for criminal justice reform, improved educational opportunities, healthcare, and more.

Read the full article about social entrepreneurs strengthening democracy by Eillie Anzilotti at Fast Company.