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. 

Mission and Values

PACE’s mission is to deepen and enrich philanthropy’s practice and support of U.S. democracy and to amplify the importance of philanthropic investment in civic engagement.  The following values guide the PACE community in all aspects of our work:

Our community is diverse.  We believe the conversations we have about democracy should reflect the diversity of our nation.  Our community is inclusive, cross-partisan, and relationship-driven.

We believe in fellowship.  Our members represent institutions, but they are people first.  And their diverse perspectives come to the PACE table, animated by a shared belief that a healthy democracy is possible.  We believe that strong relationships enable us to be more creative, innovative, and honest as we work toward that vision.

We’re driven by a spirit of collaboration and learning. The learning that happens at the PACE table is unique, a result of the distinct alchemy of our membership.  A spirit of collaboration and shared commitment is central to democratic practice, and it’s how our community thrives: we value not just what we build together, but the learning that happens when we do it.

We believe equity is foundational. PACE and its members believe that the systems and structures of civic participation should be just, impartial, and fair, and that all people should have access to our democratic institutions, regardless of race, gender, class, ability, or any other identifier.  This belief shapes the way PACE brings people together, informs our voice, and animates our approach to building and sustaining a healthy democracy.

We ask tough questions–and have honest conversations.  We know that our democracy faces challenges, and we believe in creating space to tackle them with humility, curiosity, and goodwill.  We lead with questions, and build answers together.

Our work inspires action.  We make sure the learning that happens at PACE moves beyond our community.  We aim for our research, inspiration, and collaborations to deepen understanding of democracy broadly, and to inspire other funders to embrace civic engagement as a practice worthy of investment.

How We Work

PACE approaches its work by maximizing fellowship among members, tying this to learning and encouraging action. Our strategic roles are to:

  • Fellowship: Link people and information to each other
  • Learning: Help people see or think about things they may not otherwise
  • Action: Facilitate new intersection points and guide learning and information toward action

We provide a neutral, objective, and supportive platform to explore big questions around:

  • Places: What and who drives community success, and how?
  • Issues: How can civic engagement be a strategy to address societal challenges?
  • Values: Why does democracy matter today and how does our work reflect its precepts?

We provide direct benefits and services to the membership, and also seek to be a vehicle for these shared values into the broader fields of philanthropy and civic practice.

Where We’ve Been

For nearly a decade, PACE has provided member services and programming that allow foundations to build relationships that support and further their work and leadership. This includes convening member meetings and events, and working collaboratively on special projects of interest to our members. Over 50 philanthropic institutions have been directly involved in the PACE membership network to date, including national, family, community, and operating foundations located across the country.

We also seek to reflect the learning of our members more broadly so that more foundations may see civic engagement and democracy as fundamental to their strategies. PACE has published more than 15 studies, research, papers, and special events that aim to elevate understanding of the value of civic engagement and democracy within the philanthropic sector.


PACE aims to:

  • build a philanthropic network that encourages participation and inclusion in community, civic, and political life;
  • inspire and incubate strategic collaborations within philanthropy that bring together policymakers, nonprofits, business, and the media to support active citizenship;
  • increase the quantity and quality of philanthropic investment in civic engagement.