Type of Activity: Grant
Grantee: Demand Progress Action
Amount: $200,000 in 2017 over two years
What is Demand Progress Action?
Demand Progress Action, a fiscally-sponsored project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, is a charitable organization with two million affiliated activists focused on civil liberties and government reform-related issues. Demand Progress Action works to implement policy changes that keep the federal government accountable and support institutional reform.
Why do we think this project is a good idea?
At a time when few civil society organizations lobby on issues relating to congressional capacity, Demand Progress Action has emerged as a leader in helping Congress become a more resilient and functional 21st-century institution. Demand Progress Action 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 Action 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 Action 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 Voice supporting Demand Progress Action?
In 2017, Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to Demand Progress Action in the amount of up to $200,000.
Type of Activity: Advocacy Grant.
Grantee: Bipartisan Policy Center Advocacy Network, Inc.
Amount: $415,000 in 2017 over two years. $150,000 in 2016.
What is the Commission on Political Reform?
The Commission on Political Reform was launched by the sister organization of the Bipartisan Policy Center Advocacy Network (the Bipartisan Policy Center) in 2013 to investigate the causes and consequences of America’s partisan political divide and to advocate for specific reforms that will improve the political process in a polarized atmosphere. The Commission proposed 24 recommendations to strengthen the electoral process, the process by which Congress legislates and manages its own affairs, and the ability of Americans to plug into the nation’s civic life through public service. These reforms and solutions, championed by both ends of the political spectrum, include reinvigorating the central role of the congressional committee and reestablishing bipartisan interpersonal contact.
Why do we think this is a good idea?
We believe that bringing together a coalition of organizations to support bipartisan political reform can increase the likelihood and the impact of those reforms. BPCAN is uniquely positioned to develop and implement a strategy for this work because of its powerful voice in congressional bipartisan policy. They will promote an ongoing conversation about how to overcome political divides and make our government work better.
How is DFV supporting BPCAN?
In 2017, Democracy Fund Voice approved a two year grant to the Bipartisan Policy Center Advocacy Network in the amount of $415,000 to facilitate coordination with other organizations advocating for recommendations of the Commission on Political Reform and other congressional reforms. A previous grant of $150,000 was made in 2016.
Type of Activity: Advocacy Grant
Grantee: The Congressional Institute
Amount: Up to $339,000 in 2015 – 2017
What is the Congressional Institute?
Founded in 1987, the Congressional Institute is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to helping Members of Congress better serve their constituents, and help their constituents better understand the operations of the national legislature. The Institute sponsors major conferences for the benefit of Members of the U.S. Congress as well as a number of smaller gatherings, all devoted to an examination of important policy issues and strategic planning.
The Congressional Institute’s latest project, the Joint Committee on a Modern Congress, encourages Congress to convene a bipartisan commission on procedural reform to restore confidence and comity in the legislative process. The project has recommended procedural changes that are the result of months of discussions and collaboration among several organizations dedicated to the effective operation of the Congress.
Why do we think the Joint Committee on a Modern Congress project is a good idea?
The bipartisan Commission on Political Reform recently found that “Congress is simply not performing the job it is required to do—passing budgets, responsibly managing the nation’s finances, making the decisions necessary to ensure that government functions at a basic level of efficiency.” Congressional job approval has dropped to near record lows following ongoing gridlock that has damaged the institution’s reputation with the American people.
The Congressional Institute’s efforts to establish a bipartisan venue through which our Congress can identify and adopt measures to improve the legislature branch’s ability to fulfill its core responsibilities represents an important opportunity to restore public confidence in our governance process.
How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting The Congressional Institute project?
Democracy Fund Voice approved a two-year grant to the Congressional Institute in the amount of up to $339,000 in 2015 to support efforts to advocate for the establishment of an ad hoc Joint Committee on a Modern Congress to make recommendations on the organization of the Congress, its processes and procedures, and the behavioral patterns that currently drive congressional action.