Democracy Fund aims to play a catalytic role in improving our political system through grantmaking. It typically makes a substantial investment in the success of its grantee organizations. Democracy Fund DOES NOT accept unsolicited proposals.
It proactively seeks new grants based on strategic priorities and typically identifies new grantee partners from within its network of allies and contacts. It works closely with grantee partners to help them achieve their goals. To have the greatest impact, it invests according to the following criteria:
- Alignment. It looks for organizations aligned with its mission of making democracy work better. It seeks nonprofit organizations that use innovative approaches that are in keeping with its three programs and strategic priorities.
- Impact. It identifies organizations that produce significant outcomes by influencing practices among existing institutions, shifting incentives and behavior of political leaders, building effective sectors, and altering public attitudes and behavior.
- Potential for Scale. It looks for organizations with significant growth potential, and the ability to scale operations to influence the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. It prefers to work with nonprofits that are on a path toward operational sustainability where possible.
- Leadership. It invests in management teams with a proven track record in their field of operation and an ability to articulate a clear vision and strategy, reinforced by a viable business plan. The organization must practice exemplary governance with operational efficiency and controls, transparent practices, and disciplined financial planning.
- Innovation. It seeks organizations that employ creative, entrepreneurial strategies to accomplish their goals. Grantees may disrupt the status quo, establish a new paradigm, or pioneer services for untapped markets.
Please note that Democracy Fund policy allows up to 10 percent of university project expenses to be for indirect costs.