America has long struggled to deliver a fair and equitable democracy to all of its citizens. Our history of voting rights is a constant struggle, a repetitive cycle of expansion followed by restriction.
In a time when more than half of Americans are dissatisfied with the state of our democracy, the most powerful way to demonstrate and have our voices heard is through the vote. However, many Americans are still being denied access to their vote and their ability to fully participate in our democracy.
We believe the right to vote is sacred and should be protected, so that we can have an active and engaged citizenry that participates in our democracy year-round, not just during presidential election cycles. Our democracy is made stronger when we hear from all Americans on the issues of our day whether they be national or local. This must happen more than every four years, because there’s no offseason for democracy.
Our family foundation seeks to preserve and strengthen our democracy, and we’ve chosen this as one of our new collective areas of giving. We believe that voting rights are critically important, and our home state of Georgia is at the center of the struggle.
We don’t have the answers, but we are committed to listening and responding to the people who have made this their life’s work and to the citizens they serve. In Fall 2021, we launched our new Democracy program area with $10 million in grants – designed to strengthen key democracy organizations to be resilient for the long haul of this work. We expect to learn a great deal from these groups and have that learning inform our strategy on voting access and civic participation in Georgia and beyond.
The portfolio includes nearly $10 million in grants to 12 nonprofits that represent a diverse set of organizations with a strong presence in Georgia and the Southeast. Over the next two years (2021-2023), we will create an inclusive relationship with and among these grantees to share ideas, best practices, lessons and challenges.