Giving Compass' Take:

• Jeff Raikes, writing for Forbes, explains how philanthropy can enhance democracy rather than replace it, by funding causes that directly support more equitable and representative systems. 

• During this crisis, essential workers are the most vulnerable and deserve a democratic system that cares about their needs. How can philanthropists work with officials and leverage collective power to help those who are suffering most?

• Here are suggestions and recommendations for how donors can respond to coronavirus. 

At a time of chaotic, divisive and ineffective leadership from the White House, it’s understandable that the American people would look to others for guidance during this frightening and uncertain time. Many governors around the country are filling the void. Here in my home state of Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee acted early and decisively, and the curve is flattening, allowing him to share unused resources with other states. Governors on the east and west coasts, as well as in the Midwest, are collaborating within regions to make decisions about how to carefully bring life somewhat back to normal in the coming months.

But governors cannot tackle this alone. And justifiably, wealthy people and philanthropists, who have benefitted from the unequal society we are seeing in such vivid detail during this crisis, are being asked to step up during this global emergency.

While these efforts are welcome, urgent and important, philanthropy cannot stop here. People with wealth and power – the types who get their calls returned by members of Congress – need to use every lever of influence available to us in the coming year and beyond to ensure we build the society we should have had all along: resilient, equitable and humane. And we have little chance to do that without a functioning multi-racial and pluralist democracy.

Philanthropy isn't and shouldn't be a substitute for an effective and representative government. It shouldn’t be a stand-in for a far more equitable tax structure that asks much more of people like me. So we philanthropists need to be willing to step out of our usual lanes to give voice to and fund these cornerstone issues: whether it’s ensuring we get a fair and accurate census; preventing voter suppression; or the need to dramatically ramp up access to mail-in voting, so we can all safely cast a ballot in November and know it will be counted.

Read the full article about philanthropy democracy by Jeff Raikes at Forbes.