In 2017, PACE announced three strategic questions around which we would seek to demonstrate leadership; they served as guideposts for our work and programming through December 2019:

How can philanthropy make investments in civic engagement that increase health and safety outcomes in communities? 

At the heart of our nation are its people and the communities they live in. Their vibrance, strength, and resilience are mirrors of our American civic landscape — and a natural connection point for PACE and its members to explore. We wanted to delve into the relationship between civic engagement and health and safety outcomes in American communities, in hopes this exploration could deepen the impact of civic engagement funders, as well as those whose mission primarily involves health and/or safety initiatives. Civic engagement is a worthy end in itself, but is also a critical means to advance health and safety outcomes that matter to all Americans.

How can philanthropy create spaces for people to come together around complex and divisive issues?

At PACE, we have always believed in the power, potential, and responsibility of people to come together to discuss, address, and solve the problems they see around them. The seeming intractability of the divisions in our society  present a challenge and an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the civic divisions facing our democracy — and what philanthropy can do to help. It has become increasingly clear that we are experiencing symptoms of a deeper affliction affecting our democracy. Public discourse reflects the health and wellness of our democratic system, and PACE and its peers have had a unique opportunity to help guide our sector’s response to this challenging moment. 

How can philanthropy invest in information and education that prepares people for active civic participation and sustains their involvement over time?

PACE believes not just in active civic engagement, but informed engagement — and in the critical role of both quality information and education in creating the foundation for a robust and resilient democracy. Our investment and support of these topics within and beyond philanthropy have taken shape in a variety of ways, including through exploring the interconnected relationship between information, technology, and engagement, as well as a sustained focus on supporting access to civic education for all our nation’s young people.