Connecting Constituents to Representatives through Research and Development with Fireside21

Type of Activity: Project 
Grantee: Fireside21
Amount: $100,000 in 2018

What is Fireside21?

Just as President Franklin D. Roosevelt connected with individual citizens via radio with his “Fireside chat” broadcasts, Fireside21 believes politicians in the 21st century can similarly build close relationships with constituents using the latest technologies and strategies. With the help of our grant, Fireside21 will research and develop a constituent relationship management (CRM) software machine that seeks to improve the efficiency of congressional client offices to process email constituent communications. This is currently deployed in 150 offices of the House of Representatives.

Why do we think this project is important?

Members of Congress receive record numbers of constituent engagement every day. It becomes difficult for congressional staffers to manage the flood of mail, which decreases the potential response and action congressional members can make. Fireside21 has spent the last 10 years working on a fresh approach to how technology can be adopted by Congressional members for improved civic engagement. Efficiency among congressional offices through better technological advances can aid in providing not only better communications, but increased for political action to take place.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Fireside21?

In 2018, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $100,000 to Fireside21.

Republicans for the Rule of Law

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Defending Democracy Together
Grants Total: Updated to $2,550,000 in 2020 — originally approved as $2,050,000 in 2019

What is Defending Democracy Together?

Defending Democracy Together is a 501(c)4 organization for conservatives committed to defending democracy and preserving the rule of law.

Why do we think this organization is important?

Democracy Fund Voice supports voices across the political spectrum who stand up for our democratic norms and institutions. We believe that checks and balances and the rule of law are essential features of our constitutional system that help protect against abuses of power. 

Defending Democracy Together’s Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL) project encourages conservatives to uphold the rule of law and defend democratic norms, institutions and principles. By engaging with those on the right through media, op-eds, and advertising, RRL seeks to ensure that anti-democratic rhetoric and actions do not go unchallenged.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Defending Democracy Together?

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $2,050,000 for Defending Democracy Together’s project, Republicans for the Rule of Law. In 2020, an amendment was approved to increase the amount of the grant by $500,000, for a total of $2,550,000.

In 2018, Democracy Fund Voice approved a total of $1,600,000 in grants to general operating support for Defending Democracy Together and its Republicans for the Rule of Law project.

Bipartisan State Representative Networks

Type of Activity: Grant
Grantee: Bridge Alliance
Amount: Up to $90,000 over one year

What is Bridge Alliance?

Bridge Alliance, a bipartisan organization, is a growing movement of more than 80 civic action organizations working individually and together to transform the political terrain by putting country before self-interest. Bridge Alliance provides essential infrastructure and investment for their member organizations to connect and collaborate on projects that further shared goals and generate collective impact.

Why do we think this organization is important?

The political landscape of state legislatures tells an underlying story of lack of bipartisan cooperation, hyper-partisanship, and party polarization. Americans often feel forced to vote against candidates rather than for a candidate that truly represents them. Bridge Alliance works to find common ground between political parties to ensure a government that is of, by, and for the people.

With the help of our grant, Bridge Alliance will work to strengthen bipartisan, generational relationships among Millennial Action Project’s State Future Caucus Network members and among other networks in the field. This relationship and network building will help identify, seize upon, and amplify opportunities for bipartisan conversations in all 50 states. The impact of this national program will be measured by participant feedback, changes in process, and a tenor of civility achieved by state legislative leaders.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Bridge Alliance?

In 2017, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $90,000 to Bridge Alliance.

Demand Progress

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Demand Progress
Amount: $250,000 in 2019 over two years

What is Demand Progress?

Demand Progress, a fiscally-sponsored project of Sixteen Thirty Fund, is a charitable organization with two million affiliated activists focused on civil liberties and government reform-related issues. Demand Progress works to implement policy changes that keep the federal government accountable and support congressional reform.

Why do we think this project is important?

Demand Progress helps Congress make sense of the complex set of impediments that hold back its ability to innovate and hamper its legislative capacity. A modernized and more functional Congress can develop stronger policy solutions to the challenges facing the American people.

Democracy Fund Voice will provide support to Demand Progress to advocate for congressional rules changes and legislation to strengthen congressional offices’ policymaking abilities and allow for technological innovation that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of congressional staff. With the help of our grant, Demand Progress will be able to track all hearings, markups, and legislation related to congressional capacity, deepen relationships with congressional leadership, lobby new measures supporting Congress’s ability to do its job, and build upon existing coalitions to support grassroots mobilization.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting Demand Progress?

In 2019, Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to Demand Progress in the amount of $250,000. In 2017, a two-year grant of $200,000 was approved.