With studies showing that Americans’ confidence in their government is at an all-time low, MacArthur has been exploring ways that grantmaking can help strengthen the institutions of U.S. democracy. A well-functioning, effective democracy is essential to good public policy which, in turn, is crucial to the Foundation’s success in most areas of its work, ranging from community development to conservation.
The Foundation awarded nine grants totaling $4.8 million to advance this work, which is particularly important during this election year. Several of these grants will help support nonpartisan organizations that analyze data on political campaign contributions, provide legal expertise to local and state officials on the public financing of campaigns, and monitor the federal agencies that have oversight responsibilities for elections. One grant supports informal and substantive policy discussions by members of Congress from across the political spectrum. Other grants seek to make the elections of judges more transparent and to address the reliability of voting systems and make polling place practices more secure.
“In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing disconnect between the policy solutions recommended by experts and the ability of our political system to address those ideas in a meaningful way,” said MacArthur Foundation President Robert Gallucci. “With these grants we add MacArthur’s voice and resources to those of others seeking to ensure that our government can respond more effectively to the issues that matter most to our collective well-being and future.”
The nine new grants are: