Giving Compass' Take:
- Chris Jurgens urges businesses leaders to embrace greater political accountability, and outlines how philanthropy can help to make it happen.
- What institutional role do corporations play in America? How can philanthropy be impactful outside of charitable giving?
- Explore content about strengthening democracy.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
On January 6, we witnessed an unprecedented attack on American democracy — the culmination of a sustained campaign to undermine the integrity of the November 2020 election and, ultimately, overturn the will of the people. While our democracy withstood the assault, the insurrection revealed its underlying vulnerability.
Now more than ever, we need to defend democracy. The business community bears some responsibility for our current predicament and has an especially important role to play in upholding democratic norms. Philanthropy can help by holding corporate America to account for its role in degrading those norms, and by encouraging reforms that ensure that corporate political activity works for, not against, the public interest.
In the days following the attack on the U.S. Capitol, many CEOs, companies, and trade associations responded by condemning the assault and calling for consequences for those responsible. These statements and actions have been important. And yet it is deeply troubling that it took such a profound crisis for a critical mass of business leaders to express their concern about our broken politics and to condemn racist, anti-democratic actions. Paul Polman, former Unilever CEO and current chair of the B Team, said in the Harvard Business Review that CEOs "chose tax breaks and a booming stock market over ethical leadership," and concluded that "this silence — in the face of repeated assaults on common decency, respect and rule of law — helped to create an atmosphere that allowed the recent insurrection to occur.
Read the full article about business and democracy by Chris Jurgens at Candid.