[Washington, D.C. May 30, 2019] Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) has launched a pilot funding and learning initiative to invest in and promote engagement at the intersection of faith and democracy. The Faith In/And Democracy initiative will provide about $300,000 in grant support to 5-7 projects that explore this driving question: How can faith be a means to bridge divides and foster respect and cooperation in our democracy? The Request for Proposals opens today; applications are open until July 1, 2019.
PACE is a community of funders that invest in the sustaining elements of democracy and civic life in the U.S. “This exploration is a natural extension of PACE’s mission to deepen and enrich philanthropy’s support of democracy and civic life in the U.S.” said Kristen Cambell, Executive Director of PACE. “Faith communities have been a vibrant part of our civic fabric throughout the history of our nation. With this project, we hope to uncover ways in which faith can serve to ease the divisions that plague our political, civic, and social processes.”
At this important moment in our democracy, many civic engagement funders and practitioners have redoubled efforts to bridge social and political divides. This new initiative focuses on a largely unexplored connection point for bridge building: the power and potential of faith as a catalyst. In order to thrive, our democracy requires understanding, tolerance, and empathy across difference; this initiative seeks to uplift efforts to shift divisive perceptions of faith communities and build narratives about the power and potential of faith to bolster engagement in democracy and civic life.
While many institutions seek to engage people of faith in bridge-building and pluralism efforts, few organizations are funding specific interventions to engage people of faith in using their faith to support the well-being of democracy. Fewer still are considering the ways in which faith can serve to ease divisions that plague our political processes. This pilot initiative led by PACE represents a meaningful step toward filling this gap. “We see this as a new mechanism of support to our members, as well as a vehicle for PACE to contribute learning and leadership to our field,” added Cambell. The initiative is inspired by PACE members and catalyzed in partnership with the Fetzer Institute and the Democracy Fund, as well as additional members of an Advisory Committee.
Embracing the exploratory nature of the initiative, a central aim of the effort is learning: in addition to funding 5-7 projects, PACE will launch a cohort-based, year-long peer Learning Community for those engaged with the initiative. This community will serve as a “laboratory” to test key questions about learning and impact, and enable us to reflect those learnings to funders, nonprofits, and our fields more broadly.
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PACE (Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement) is a community of funders that invest in the sustaining elements of democracy and civic life in the United States. Our members share a belief that America will be healthier and more successful, resilient, and productive, if democracy is strong and the office of citizen is treated as central to how it functions. We believe that American democracy will thrive when all of its people are informed and engaged in the process of creating it. Visit: PACEFunders.org; follow @PACEFunders