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Forum and IS Decry Senate Failure to Pass John Lewis Voting Rights Bill

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Independent Sector and United Philanthropy Forum decry the U.S. Senate’s inability today to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

The ability of all U.S. citizens to freely exercise the power and right to vote during democratic elections is essential to the health of civil society and fundamental to the charitable nonprofit sector in serving the nation’s diverse communities. This legislation, which builds upon the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, strengthens oversight of state and local voting laws to prevent barriers to voting before elections take place and takes critical steps toward protecting the ability of all U.S. citizens to have an electoral voice in the laws that govern their lives. 

Both Independent Sector and United Philanthropy Forum believe that policymakers at all levels are obligated to prevent barriers, intimidation, and discrimination in voting procedures, particularly within marginalized communities.  

Statement from Independent Sector

“It is a sad and searing reflection of the state of our democratic institutions that an issue as historically bipartisan as protecting the right to vote cannot advance in the United States Senate,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector. “In the shadow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the defeat of this legislation, now, underscores the work ahead. Voting in a democracy is an indicator of human thriving and a healthy civil society, especially in Black, Native, Latino, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, as well as communities with disabilities and rural communities. The U.S. nonprofit sector has a unique and trusted role in our democracy to ensure that meaningful voting rights legislation gets over the finish line. We remain undeterred.”

Statement from United Philanthropy Forum 

“It is deeply disappointing that today the United States Senate was not able to act to protect a core tenet of our democracy: the right to vote,” said David Biemesderfer, President and CEO of United Philanthropy Forum. “While participation in voting has increased, we have also witnessed systemic inequities in electoral processes and in recently passed laws making it more difficult for some Americans, specifically people of color, to vote. Philanthropy has a long record of standing up for voting rights, and we remain fully committed to ensuring that everyone can vote freely and fairly.”

Despite this setback, the two organizations remain committed to advocating for equitable voting rights during the 117th Congress. Both continue to call for swift passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and jointly urge nonprofit and charitable organizations to join a letter of support, which will be sent to Congress during the week of January 24.


About Independent Sector

Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse community of changemakers, nonprofits, foundations, and corporations working to ensure all people in the United States thrive. Learn more at

About United Philanthropy Forum

As the largest and most diverse network in American philanthropy, United Philanthropy Forum holds a unique position in the social sector to help increase philanthropy’s impact in communities across the country. We are a membership network of more than 90 regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs), representing more than 7,000 funders, who work to make philanthropy better. Our mission is to lead, strengthen, and inform a national network of organizations that advance philanthropy's impact for the common good.

Media Contacts:

Bradley Wong

Leslie Rose