[Washington, D.C. September 15, 2020]— Faith In/And Democracy is a funding and learning initiative led by Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) to explore the ways faith and faith communities can support democracy and civic life. 

Today, PACE announces six grantee partners selected to be part of the second year cohort of this effort. Each organization receives a grant from PACE and will participate in a year-long Learning Community to grow their skills and expand their networks. Collectively, this cohort will seek to understand how faith communities are viable sites to help people build relationships and work with people who come from different racial, religious, cultural and/or political backgrounds and perspectives. 

“We are excited and honored to support these important projects that demonstrate how faith and faith communities are invaluable civic assets,” said Angela Graham, Interim Director of Ally Development at the Fetzer Institute, which is one funder of the initiative. “At a time of great division and challenge, we want to see faith realized as a tool for bridging divides and stitching a stronger social fabric for all.”

Faith In/And Democracy 2020 Grantee Partners:

America Indivisible; Washington, DC  (@america.indivisible on Instagram)

Public Leaders for Inclusion Fellowship: The vision of this work is to cultivate American communities that have the religious and civic literacy they need to be truly resilient, especially when confronted by forms of hate. This Fellowship supports the development of religiously literate leaders who will go on to pursue careers in government service, and to help public servants build inclusive civic networks within the communities they serve, including among diverse faith communities. Specifically, the 2020-2021 Fellowship will work with higher education institutions and government agencies to create a public service partnership. It will also create opportunities for students of religious and interfaith studies to apply their knowledge and skills to public service projects.

Chicago Theological Seminary; Chicago, IL (@CTS_Chicago on Twitter)

InterAct: Engaging Diverse Faith Communities in Anti-Racist Work: The vision of this work is to support religious leaders and faith communities to combat the forces of racial division and domination. It does this by drawing from their spiritual traditions and teachings in order to build bridges across differences and strengthen the capacity of democracy to achieve justice. This project will improve upon CTS’ theological education to better prepare seminarians to lead in a multi-racial, multi-faith society; it will also expand partnerships to foster interreligious anti-racism training in spiritual communities around the country–linking the work to the role of faith in strengthening democracy.

Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition; Fairbanks, AK (@FBXClimate on Twitter)

Faith, Democracy, and Climate Change in Alaska: The vision of this work is to foster responsible stewardship of the earth, strengthen democracy, and facilitate climate action in Fairbanks, Interior Alaska, and beyond. This project will increase capacity for the FCAC Interfaith Working Group to continue its work to build shared understanding of climate impacts and solutions. The Working Group expects to work closely with 15-20 faith communities who are committed to ongoing dialogue, trainings, and gatherings to develop locally-supported, meaningful climate actions.

Faith in Action Alabama; Birmingham, AL (@faithinactionAL on Twitter)

The vision of this work is to honor God by dismantling systemic racism to create pathways of opportunity for all Alabamians. The organization utilizes a multi-faith, multi-racial faith-based community organizing approach to ensure Alabama’s democracy truly represents its people. Specifically, the nonpartisan Freedom Vote 2020 campaign seeks to engage 160,000 infrequent voters by increasing registration and turnout, explaining mail-in voting, and educating those who were formerly incarcerated on their voting rights. This will serve as the on-ramp to civic engagement during the 2021 legislative session.

NM Comunidades en Accion y de Fe (CAFe); Las Cruces, NM (@OrganizeNM on Twitter)

Southern New Mexico Clergy Cohort: The vision of this work is to co-create and shape a faith-based moral narrative with and for New Mexico communities. This project will engage a cohort of diverse multi-faith and multi-racial clergy and faith leaders from across four counties. Cohort trainings and gatherings will include theological shared reflections, economic and racial analysis of their communities, exploration of policy opportunities, and lessons in how to powerfully share their stories, how to build their own justice teams with other clergy and lay leaders, and how to best bridge the differences amongst leaders of faith through the lens of justice.

One America Movement; Washington, DC (@One__America on Twitter)

Shaping the Evangelical Church’s Response to Our National Moment: The vision of this work is to combat toxic polarization by equipping leaders to shape the actions, norms and behaviors of their own groups while improving relations across divides. One America’s Religious Leader Training Program trains, equips, and networks conservative, Evangelical Christian pastors to resist toxic polarization, navigate difficult divisions within their churches, and combat racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Muslim sentiment. Specifically, the work associated with this project will provide training for pastors to understand division and the science behind it and to then create strategic and effective interventions within their church, their communities and across the country.

The 2020 application process received 149 Letters of Interest spanning 34 states and the District of Columbia. Of those, 30 were invited to complete full proposals, which totaled $1.5 million in requests. In the pilot year in 2019, 132 applications were received.

“The response to the initiative confirms the great volume of important work happening at the intersection of faith and democracy and the need for more resources,” said Kristen Cambell, Executive Director of PACE. “PACE takes to heart our opportunity to expand interest and advocate for more investment; that will be a major focus of our learning and sharing this year.”

This is the second year of the initiative, which follows a successful pilot that concluded in August 2020. There will be a third year of the initiative that will run from 2021-2022; details will be announced at a later date.

The initiative was catalyzed in partnership with the Fetzer Institute, the Democracy Fund, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, the Ford Foundation, and a program Advisory Committee. In addition to providing over $320,000 in grant funding, PACE will administer a cohort-based, year-long peer Learning Community for those engaged with the initiative. This Community will act as a “laboratory” to test key questions about learning and impact, and reflect those learnings to funders, nonprofits, and other fields more broadly.  To learn more about Faith In/And Democracy, please visit PACEfunders.org/faith.