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United Philanthropy Forum Supports the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Earlier this year, United Philanthropy Forum’s Board of Directors approved our first ever Public Policy Principles, a guide to the Forum’s advocacy approach for the 117th Congress. Our Public Policy Principles aim to help the Forum address racial inequities, advocate on behalf of the sector and identify practical public policy solutions that catalyze a just and equitable society where all can participate and prosper.

Specifically, the Public Policy Principles outline a commitment to championing racial equity and strengthening democracy. The Forum believes the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act aligns with this commitment and is critical to creating equitable outcomes for communities across the country by eliminating racial discrimination in the voting process.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore the strength of the 1965 Voting Rights Act by requiring jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination in voting to receive approval from the Department of Justice before making changes to their voting rules. This provision was eliminated by the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

In the wake of the onslaught of misinformation after the 2020 elections, several states across the country have passed or drafted laws limiting access to the ballot box. While this country has made strides in the past to rectify racial discrimination, the Supreme Court decision combined with intentionally restrictive voting laws represents a shift backward in our quest for equity and justice for all.

The Forum Public Policy Principles state, “[T]he Forum endorses positive, practical solutions that seek to eliminate economic, social, health, and educational barriers, and replaces them with policies that are fair, just, create equitable opportunities and outcomes, and diminish racial and ethnic disparities.” By restoring the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a common-sense public policy proposal that will accomplish these goals.

United Philanthropy Forum supports the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and will advocate for its passage because we cannot afford a shift backward. We must act today and urge others in the philanthropic sector to join us in these efforts.

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.

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