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The cornerstone of our country’s democracy is the administration of free and fair elections, where every U.S. citizen of voting age has the right to vote. During this election cycle, Americans have come out to exercise this right in record numbers. Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, nearly 150 million Americans have voted in this election—more than any election in the history of this country. Voters’ collective action to make their votes count and have their voices heard, and the resulting peaceful transfer of power that will now take place, serve as a powerful indicator that our nation’s democracy remains intact.

But much work remains to address the serious threats to our democracy that have been exposed during this election season, and philanthropy has an important role to play. United Philanthropy Forum urges philanthropic leaders and institutions to use all of your moral, civic, and social capital to voice your strong and vigorous support for preserving and strengthening our democratic institutions. We also urge you to use your financial capital to invest in organizations that are working year-round to improve the key pillars of our democracy, including free and fair elections and systems of representation, an informed and active electorate, and laws to adequately protect all voters’ rights.

As we head into 2021 and the seating of a new administration and a new Congress, the Forum continues to envision a courageous philanthropic sector that catalyzes a just and equitable society where all can participate and prosper. We stand ready to work with the Biden-Harris administration and members of Congress by advocating for legislation and regulations that address inequities across the country, recognize systemic racism, and seek to rectify social injustices. We will also continue to work to strengthen our democracy by supporting a participatory civil society with fair representation for all. 

In her keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Honorable Barbara Jordan (D-TX) spoke about the concept of building a national community: 

“We are a people in a quandary about the present. We are a people in search of our future. We are a people in search of a national community. We are a people trying not only to solve the problems of the present… but we are attempting on a larger scale to fulfill the promise of America. We are attempting to fulfill our national purpose, to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal.”

With the election now behind us, the Forum understands that much uncertainty remains: a global pandemic, a nonprofit sector in need of significant financial relief, and ongoing divisions that plague our country. Through all of this, the Forum and our members remain UNITED in our pursuit of that national community, equality for all, and the common good.

David Biemesderfer, President & CEO
United Philanthropy Forum

Kiran Ahuja, CEO
Philanthropy Northwest

Celeste Amato, President
Maryland Philanthropy Network

Amanda Misiko Andere, CEO
Funders Together to End Homelessness

John L Barnes, Executive Director
Funders Concerned About AIDS

Kurt R. Bauman, Executive Director
Northeastern Pennsylvania Grantmakers Forum

Ronna D. Brown, President
Philanthropy New York

Susie Brown, President
Minnesota Council on Foundations

Phil Buchanan, President
Center for Effective Philanthropy

Kyle Caldwell, President & CEO
Council of Michigan Foundations

Kristen Cambell, Board Member
United Philanthropy Forum

Celine Coggins, Executive Director
Grantmakers for Education

Kevin Dean, CEO
Momentum Nonprofit Partners

Ashley Heath Dietz, President & CEO
Florida Philanthropic Network

Aaron Dorfman, President & CEO
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy 

Deborah Dubin, President & CEO 
Gateway Center for Giving

Kathleen Enright, President & CEO 
Council on Foundations 

Christine Essel, President & CEO 
Southern California Grantmakers

Karla Fortunato, President 
Connecticut Council for Philanthropy

Sean Gibbons, CEO
The Communications Network

Sidney R. Hargro, President 
Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia

Judy Hatcher, Executive Director
Biodiversity Funders Group

Ruth LaToison Ifill, Interim President & CEO
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Joanne Kelley, CEO
Philanthropy Colorado

Laurie Liles, President & CEO
Arizona Grantmakers Forum

Sammy Moon, Executive Director
Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Daranee Petsod, President
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees 

Jeffrey Poulos, CEO
Philanthropy Massachusetts

Laura Seaman, CEO
League of California Community Foundations

Pat Smith, President & CEO
The Funders Network

Rusty Stahl, President & CEO
Fund the People

Erik R. Stegman, Executive Director
Native Americans in Philanthropy 

Alexandra I. Toma, Executive Director 
Peace and Security Funders Group

Deborah Aubert Thomas, President & CEO
Philanthropy Ohio

Maria Vizcarrondo, President & CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers

Kristina Wertz, Acting President
Funders for LGBTQ Issues

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