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During Peer-to-Peer review, each applicant will score and comment on five other applications using the four criteria included in the scoring rubric: transformative, innovative, feasible, and scalable. This is the same scoring rubric that the Evaluation Panel will use in their review.
Scores will be calculated using an algorithm that ensures a level playing field for all applicants. In addition to scoring each application on the four criteria in the scoring rubric, Peer-to-Peer reviewers will also provide a final numerical score, ranging between 0-100, representing an overall impression of the entire application. We ask that each Peer-to-Peer reviewer carefully read the applications given to them and provide meaningful feedback. The Peer-to-Peer review will result in a rank order of all valid submissions. Based on the rank order of scores, a subset of top-scoring applications will move forward to the Evaluation Panel.
Evaluation Panel judges will score and provide feedback on the applications assigned to them using the scoring rubric, and each valid application will receive five sets of reviews with scores that have been statistically normalized to ensure a level playing field. Informed by the resulting rank order of applications after Evaluation Panel review, up to five Finalists will be selected.
Samar Ali is a Research Professor of Political Science and Law at Vanderbilt University, the founding President and CEO of Millions of Conversations, and co-chair of the Vanderbilt Project on Unity & American Democracy. She received her JD and BA in Political Science from Vanderbilt University and holds 14 years of experience in international relations and legal practice. As a conflict resolution practitioner, she is a recipient of the White House Fellows IMPACT Award and Vanderbilt University’s Young Alumni Professional Achievement Award. Ali is a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Working at the intersection of civil rights, national security, and economic development, Ali served as a White House Fellow in President Obama’s administration and as Assistant Commissioner of International Affairs in Tennessee Governor Haslam’s administration. Ali is currently working on a memoir, From the Holy Land to the Heartland: Olives & Sweet Tea, about one family’s century’s long quest for peace through belonging.
Aimee Allison is founder and president of She the People, a national network elevating the voice and power of women of color. She brings together voters, organizers, and elected leaders in a movement grounded in values of love, justice, belonging, and democracy. In 2018, Ms. Allison was one of the primary architects of the “year of women of color in politics.”
In April 2019, she convened the first presidential forum for women of color, reaching a quarter of the American population. A democratic innovator and visionary, Ms. Allison leads national efforts to build inclusive, multiracial coalitions led by women of color. She leverages media, research and analysis to increase voter engagement and advocate for racial, economic and gender justice.
Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Hill, Essence, Teen Vogue and Newsweek. In the early 1990’s, Ms. Allison earned a rare honorable discharge from the U.S. Army as a conscientious objector and works today to support courageous, moral leadership.
Aimee Allison holds a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University. Author of Army of None, she has appeared in hundreds of outlets including MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, Associated Press and NPR.
She is building a political home for a million women of color, nationally and in battleground states. She was featured in Politico’s 2019 Powerlist.
Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University.
She is the author of several award-winning books, including Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African-American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944-1955, the New York Times bestseller, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide, and One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying our Democracy. In addition to numerous teaching awards, her research has garnered fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation, National Humanities Center, Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
She earned her Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University.
Nila Bala is the Senior Staff Attorney, Policing Project at NYU Law. Previously, she was the Assistant Director of Criminal Justice Policy at R Street Institute where she lead R Street’s criminal justice policy to advance reforms in juvenile and economic justice.
Nila previously served as an assistant public defender in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to handling more than 1,000 cases in her tenure, she also helped lead a bail reform project to address problems in the city’s money bail system. Earlier in her career, Nila clerked for Judge Keith P. Ellison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She also was a recipient of the Yale Public Interest Law Fellow, and she assisted juveniles with sealing their records.
Nila received her bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, graduating with distinction. She completed her JD at Yale Law School.
Daniella Ballou Aares is the Founder and CEO of the Leadership Now Project, a national membership organization of business leaders committed to fixing American democracy. Daniella began her career at Bain & Company, working across the firm’s offices in the US, South Africa and the UK. From there she became a founding Partner at Dalberg, where she led the Americas business. She spent five years in the Obama Administration as the Senior Advisor for Development to the Secretary of State, serving under Secretaries Clinton and Kerry. Daniella’s perspectives have been featured in the Harvard Business Review, the World Economic Forum, and Forbes, among others. Daniella is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was a 2014 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MPA from the Kennedy School and a BS in Operations Research and Engineering from Cornell.
Ian Bassin is the co-Founder of Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting attacks, from at home and abroad, on our right to free, fair, and fully informed self-government. Ian served as Associate White House Counsel from 2009-2011. In addition to counseling the President and senior White House staff on administrative and constitutional law, his responsibilities included ensuring that White House and executive branch officials complied with the laws, rules and norms that protect the fundamentally democratic nature of our government. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal and President of the American Constitution Society.
A founding incorporator for the Institute, Edwin has been the executive director for more than a decade. He promotes the use of the Institute's comprehensive, highly credentialed state-level donor information by investigative journalists, scholars examining state elections and public-policy processes, and attorneys involved in campaign-finance litigation.
In 2012, Edwin was an expert witness for the Montana Attorney General's office in its defense of Montana's campaign-contribution limits.
Edwin emphasizes the need to break down barriers to public disclosure of campaign finance and related information in poor-reporting states, while pushing advances in cross-state issue analyses and web-based data aggregation and dissemination.
Edwin has been quoted extensively in major news outlets like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post, to name a few; has conducted money-and-politics trainings for news organizations like IRE and NICAR; and has been featured in two PBS investigations of the role money plays in our democracy.
Jocelyn Bissonnette (she/her) is the Director of Special Projects at the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP). She works to mobilize philanthropy to engage and invest around the 2020 Census and 2021 redistricting cycle, with a focus on historically undercounted and under-represented communities.
Jocelyn previously served as Director of Policy & Advocacy for the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS), where she represented public school district leaders before Congress and the administration.
Jocelyn holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of New Hampshire and a Masters in Policy Management from Georgetown University, where her capstone focused on the undercount risk of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the 2020 Census. She completed a policy fellowship with the Institute for Educational Leadership and an executive certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University. Jocelyn is based in Washington, DC, but remains a proud Rhode Islander.
Allen Blue is Vice President of Product Management and Cofounder of LinkedIn, the online professional network. At LinkedIn, he is responsible for LinkedIn's overall product strategy. He also sponsors LinkedIn's work and education products within the economic graph team, including the products and platforms supporting Skillful.com (a joint effort to close the middle skills gap in the United States between LinkedIn and the Markle Foundation). He advises several startups in Silicon Valley, most focused on improving health and education. He sat on the U.S. Commerce Department's Data Advisory Council, helping guide the Department's efforts to make its data broadly available to American businesses. Blue serves on the boards of the Hope Street Group, a non-profit which focuses on bringing economic opportunity to Americans through a combination of policy and practice, and Change.org, an online destination for making grassroots-driven change easier. Before LinkedIn, Blue cofounded SocialNet.com, an online dating service, and graduated from Stanford University.
Jean P. Bordewich has been a program officer for the U.S. Democracy Program of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation since 2014. She joined Hewlett after 20 years on Capitol Hill, including serving as staff director for the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, where she worked on elections, campaign finance, and Senate administration, procedures and technology. She also led planning for the 2013 Obama inaugural ceremonies. Earlier Jean served as an elected town council member and two-time delegate to presidential nominating conventions, candidate for Congress, U.S. House chief of staff, journalist and business executive. She is a graduate of Brown University (BA) and The George Washington University (MBA); she also attended Guilford College. Her plays about politics and history have premiered at the Capital Fringe Festival and been featured in readings in Washington, DC.
Alma Couverthie is the National Organizing Director for the League of Women Voters. In this role, Alma is responsible for building and developing the grassroots power needed to defend, expand, and protect voting rights for all to achieve true democracy reform. Prior to joining the League in 2019, Alma was the Deputy Field Director for Immigration at Community Change, home of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a nation-wide campaign to achieve bold and comprehensive immigration reform, working with a strong network of 45 grassroots organizations in 33 states. In that role, Alma managed the development and implementation of field strategies, base building, and leadership development, with a focus on race and gender equity.
Earlier in her career, Alma served as the Organizing Director of Workforce Development and Education at CASA, an organization at the forefront of the immigrant rights movement representing nearly 100,000 members. In that role, Alma led the organizing and leadership development efforts, and mobilized over 10,000 people to the White House on May Day 2017, to advocate for immigrant rights and workers justice.
Alma’s career started more than 20 years ago, organizing immigrant factory and textile workers with UNITE, and later with Lawrence Community Works, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, fighting for affordable housing and open space development, as well as launching a successful campaign for budget reform at the local level.
In her spare time, Alma enjoys baking, music, and taking her dogs for a walk. It's rumored that Alma makes the best flan in the world.
Jeffrey R. Davis, MD is the Founder and CEO of Exploring 4 Solutions, and an Executive-in-Residence at the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH). He serves on the advisory board for VentureLab, and as a member of the advisory council for Medical Bridges. Prior to Exploring 4 Solutions, Jeff served as the Director, Human Health and Performance, and the Chief Medical Officer for the NASA Johnson Space Center. Jeff received his B.S. degree in Biology from Stanford University, an M.D. degree from the University of California at San Diego, and a Master of Science degree from Wright State University.
Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University, and a professor by courtesy of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford. He is a core faculty member of FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, and co-leads the Global Digital Policy Incubator, based at FSI’s Cyber Policy Center. He also leads the Hoover Institution’s programs on China’s Global Sharp Power and on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region, as well as FSI’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy. He is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy. His most recent book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency, analyzes the challenges confronting liberal democracy in the United States and around the world and offers an agenda for strengthening and defending democracy at home and abroad.
Aaron Dorfman is president and CEO of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), a research and advocacy organization that works to ensure America’s grantmakers and wealthy donors are responsive to the needs of those with the least wealth, opportunity and power. Dorfman, a thoughtful critic, frequently speaks and writes about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy, the benefits of funding advocacy and community organizing, and the need for greater accountability and transparency in the philanthropic sector. Before joining NCRP in 2007, Dorfman served for 15 years as a community organizer with two national organizing networks, spearheading grassroots campaigns on a variety of issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Carleton College, a master’s degree in philanthropic studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and serves on the boards of Capital & Main, The Center for Popular Democracy and re:power.
Tiana Epps-Johnson is Founder and Executive Director with the Center for Tech and Civic Life. She is leading a team that is doing groundbreaking work to make US elections more inclusive and secure. Prior to CTCL, she was the New Organizing Institute’s Election Administration Director from 2012 to 2015. She previously worked on the Voting Rights Project for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.
Tiana is a recipient of the 2020 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and was selected to join the inaugural cohorts of Obama Foundation Fellows (2018) and Harvard Ash Center Technology and Democracy Fellows (2015). Tiana earned a MSc in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science from Stanford University.
Aria Finger is a globally recognized expert on youth, social impact and technology, most recently having spent 15 years building DoSomething.org into the largest global organization for young people and social change. During her time as CEO at DoSomething, she spearheaded their election and civic engagement work, registering over 350,000 young voters leading up to the 2020 election. Finger is also the Founder of DoSomething Strategic, a boutique consulting firm focusing on youth and purpose, with clients like Nike, Google & Spotify. During her tenure, DoSomething Strategic brought in over $10 million in revenue to fuel DoSomething.org’s social change work.
Aria graduated magna cum laude in economics and political science from Washington University in St. Louis, and completed the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. In 2016, she was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Nadia Firozvi is the Associate Director for the Just and Inclusive Society Project at Democracy Fund, an independent foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Nadia oversees strategy development and grantmaking, and provides expertise and guidance to grantees and more.
Nadia most recently served as a Policy Advisor in the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She was also Domestic Policy Coordinator at the Arab American Institute and Staff Attorney at the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center.
Nadia was a founding board member of Many Languages One Voice and currently sits on the board of More in Common.
Nadia holds degrees from Loyola University in Maryland, University of Baltimore School of Law, and American University Washington College of Law.
Ester R. Fuchs is Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science and Director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Fuchs is Director of Whosontheballot.org, an online voter education and engagement initiative. She is also a member of Columbia’s Just Societies Task Force, the Earth Institute, the Data Science Institute and its Smart Cities Center. She currently serves on the boards of the Fund for the City of New York and the Citizens Union.
Fuchs academic research is in urban politics and policy, American elections and civic engagement, smart cities and urban environmental sustainability policy. Fuchs served as Special Advisor to the Mayor for Governance and Strategic Planning under New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg from 2001 to 2005. She was the first woman to chair a NYC Charter Revision Commission in 2005. Fuchs advises non-profits, businesses and political campaigns and is a frequent political commentator. Fuchs received a BA from Queens College, CUNY; an MA from Brown University and PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago.
John Gastil (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and Political Science at the Pennsylvania State University, where he is senior scholar at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. Gastil’s research focuses on the theory and practice of deliberative democracy. The National Science Foundation has supported his research on the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review, the Australian Citizens’ Parliament, and American juries. His most recent books are Legislature by Lot (Verso, 2019) with Erik Olin Wright, Hope for Democracy (Oxford, 2020) with Katherine R. Knobloch, and the novel Gray Matters (John Hunt, 2020).
Joe Goldman is the President of the Democracy Fund, an independent foundation that champions the leaders who defend American democracy and challenge our political system to be more open and just.
Joe incubated Democracy Fund for three years inside Pierre and Pam Omidyar’s philanthropic investment firm – Omidyar Network – where he was an Investment Director. He then launched Democracy Fund as a private foundation in 2014, along-side Democracy Fund Voice, a sister 501c4 organization for which he also serves as president. Since its inception, Democracy Fund has invested more than $150 million to support organizations that are working to create a more vibrant and diverse public square, free and fair elections, effective and accountable government, and a just and inclusive society.
Gracia Goya is Vice President for Latin America at Hispanics in Philanthropy, a transnational network of donors. At HIP, Gracia builds bridges among US-based regional and international funders to advance transnational philanthropy and promote social justice across the Americas.
A seasoned expert in transnational philanthropy, Gracia has extensive experience working with the private and corporate sectors in environmental affairs and public policy as well with multinational agencies. Gracia has a deep understanding of the philanthropic and impact investing fields in both Latin America and the US. During her 14 year career at HIP, Gracia has moved from program manager to Vice President for Latin America.
Under her leadership, HIP Latin America significantly expanded it’s work on gender equity, migration and forced displacement, and the use of technology to democratize philanthropy with HIPGive.org.
Committed to a vision of a Latin America where individuals and communities thrive, Gracia has dedicated her professional career to social justice efforts.
Amanda Hollis-Brusky is Associate Professor and Chair of the Politics Department at Pomona College, where she teaches courses on American politics and constitutionalism. She is the author of Ideas With Consequences: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution (OUP 2015) – winner of the 2016 C. Herman Pritchett Award – and Separate But Faithful: The Christian Right’s Radical Struggle to Transform Law & Legal Culture (OUP 2020). Hollis-Brusky is a go-to expert in the media on the Supreme Court and the conservative legal movement and an editor at The Monkey Cage, a widely-read political science blog hosted by The Washington Post. She recently provided expert testimony on the threat of “court capture” before the House Judiciary Committee of Congress. A passionate advocate for democracy and girls’ leadership, Hollis-Brusky serves on the board of her local chapter of the League of Women Voters and co-leads both her daughters’ Girl Scout troops.
Lee-Sean Huang is a Taiwanese American designer, educator, and podcaster based in New York. He is the co-founder and creative director of Foossa, a community-centered design practice. Foossa's work focuses around social innovation, service design, design thinking, and futurecasting. Lee-Sean has taught courses in design, innovation, and storytelling at New York University, the Parsons School of Design, and the School of Visual Arts. He previously taught at Cornell Tech and the College of Staten Island. He hosts the Design Future Now podcast, which is produced by AIGA, the professional association for design. He also hosts and produces a food and culture podcast called Easy Cook Bear. Lee-Sean earned a bachelors in Government from Harvard and a masters in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU. He currently serves as a board member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program Alumni Association of New York (JETAANY).
Jaylani Hussein is currently the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) . Hussein leads efforts on civic and community engaging. Hussein also works to empower Minnesota Muslim Community and works to challenge Islamophobia, address racial and social inequalities in the state of Minnesota. Since the killing of George Floyd and before, Jaylani has worked on addressing both federal and local law enforcement accountability. Hussein is a sought out public speaker and consultant in the areas of diversity and inclusion.
Hussein appears regularly on Minnesota's local television and radio stations. He has also appeared on national and international outlets including ABC News, CNN, FOX BUSINESS, NPR, BBC among other outlets.
Hussein's family emigrated from Somalia to Minnesota in 1993 and he is trilingual (English, Somali, Arabic). Hussein holds degrees in Community Development and City Planning from St. Cloud State University and Political Science from North Dakota State University.
Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson is a spiritual entrepreneur and executive with Bridge Alliance. Johnson is nationally respected for his leadership and strategies around social and racial justice issues. Recognized as a scholar-practitioner, author of Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community, whose writing and lecturing credits range from TIME Magazine, USA Today, National Public Radio, commentaries and anthologies to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History Culture. Trained in education and nonprofit management, Johnson’s 20 years of professional experience informs his counsel to activists, practitioners, faith-base leaders and institutions as well as social and civic nonprofits. He is a Walker Leadership Institute Fellow and former Vosburgh Visiting Professor of Ministry and Social Engagement at Drew University’s Theological School. Johnson is senior minister of Living Tree Church and adjunct faculty at Methodist Theological School of Ohio.
John T. Jost is Professor of Psychology, Politics, & Data Science and Co-Director of the Center for Social and Political Behavior at New York University. His research, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation, addresses stereotyping, prejudice, social justice, political ideology, social media, and system justification theory. He has published over 200 articles and chapters; his work has been cited over 45,000 times (h-index = 88). Awards include the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize, Erik Erikson Early Career Award in Political Psychology, Society for Personality and Social Psychology Theoretical Innovation Prize, Society of Experimental Social Psychology Career Trajectory Award, Carol & Ed Diener Award in Social Psychology, and the Morton Deutsch Award for Distinguished Contributions to Social Justice. Jost is a fellow of several professional societies and serves on numerous editorial boards. He is a Past President of the International Society of Political Psychology and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2018. His most recent book is A Theory of System Justification (Harvard University Press, 2020).
Tom Kalil is Chief Innovation Officer at Schmidt Futures. In this role, Tom leads initiatives to harness technology for societal challenges, improve science policy, and identify and pursue 21st century moonshots. Prior to Schmidt Futures, Tom served in the White House for two Presidents (Obama and Clinton), helping to design and launch national science and technology initiatives in areas such as nanotechnology, the BRAIN initiative, data science, materials by design, robotics, commercial space, high-speed networks, access to capital for startups, high-skill immigration, STEM education, learning technology, startup ecosystems, and the federal use of incentive prizes.
Joshua Kalla is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University with a secondary appointment as Assistant Professor of Statistics and Data Science. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. His research studies political persuasion, the effects of political campaigns, prejudice reduction, and decision-making among voters and political elites, primarily through the use of randomized field experiments. He is the winner of the Robert B. Cialdini Prize for the publication that best explicates social psychological phenomena principally through the use of field research methods from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology for his paper, "Durably reducing transphobia" and the Leamer-Rosenthal Emerging Researcher Prize for Open Social Science from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences for his work on "Irregularities in LaCour (2014).”
Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld advises governments, philanthropists, and activists on how democracies make major social change. As a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, she focuses on countries facing serious violence, polarization, democratic decline, and other problems of poor governance.
In 2010, Time magazine named Rachel one of the top 40 political leaders under 40 in America for her decade as the founding CEO of the Truman National Security Project, which assisted campaigns, advocated for legislation, and fostered a new generation of military veterans and national security leaders to enhance global security, democracy, and human dignity. In 2011, Hillary Clinton appointed Rachel to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, which advised the Secretary of State quarterly, a role she served through 2014. She currently serves on the board of Freedom House and advises a variety of organizations that support democracy and dignity.
Rachel is the author of three books. Her TED talk on violence in democracies has been translated into 17 languages and viewed more than a million times. She received her B.A. from Yale University and her M.Phil. and D.Phil. from Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes scholar.
Rachel was raised in a log house in Fairbanks, Alaska, works in Washington, D.C., and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with two fierce young daughters and her husband, a sculptor.
Peter Laugharn (pronounced LAW-harn) serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Peter is a passionate leader with 25 years of foundation and nonprofit experience internationally, with a focus on improving the well-being of vulnerable children. Previously, he was executive director of the Firelight Foundation, which identifies, funds, and supports promising African nonprofits serving vulnerable children and families in the areas of education, resilience, and health. Prior to Firelight, Peter served as executive director of the Netherlands-based Bernard van Leer Foundation, whose mission is to improve opportunities for children up to age 8 who are growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances. Peter began his career at Save the Children, where he worked in a variety of roles. A graduate of Stanford and Georgetown Universities, Peter holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of London. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco from 1982 to 1984. Peter was a co-founder of the International Education Funders Group and the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS, and he serves on the boards of the Council on Foundations and the Pacific Council on International Policy.
Daniel Jae-Won Lee served as Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, which supports pioneering social change globally in the areas of HIV/AIDS, worker rights and well-being and social justice. His board service includes La Cocina, Global Health Advisory Council of Open Society Foundations, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Astraea Foundation, Council on Foundations, Funders Concerned about AIDS and Massachusetts Asian AIDS Prevention Project; and advisory council of Global Fund for Women. Previously, he was Senior Program Officer for Asia Pacific at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. He received his AB in religion from Princeton and Master of Divinity from Harvard.
Eli Lehrer is the President of the R Street Institute, a right-of-center free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C. with offices in Georgia, Texas, Ohio and California. He oversees all R Street operations, makes major strategic decisions, works closely with R Street’s supporters and is ultimately responsible for all of R Street’s products. Having previously served as vice president for Washington, D.C. operations at the Heartland Institute, overseeing its D.C. office, Eli co-founded R Street in June 2012. Earlier in his career, he worked as a speechwriter to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.); as a project manager for the Unisys Corp.; as senior editor of The American Enterprise magazine; and as a fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Eli started his career as a reporter for The Washington Times. He is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, and The New York Times, among other publications. Eli also serves as a contributing editor of National Affairs. He loves science fiction television, visiting museums, hiking and pirates. Eli graduated cum laude from Cornell University with a bachelor’s in medieval studies. He received his master’s in government with honors from The Johns Hopkins University.
Michael J. Malbin, is Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He was also the Founding Director of the Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) from 1999 through 2020, when he retired from that position. (CFI became part of the National Institute on Money in Politics in 2018.) One of the country’s leading scholars in the field, his books include: The Election after Reform: Money, Politics and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and The Day after Reform: Sobering Campaign Finance Lessons from the American States. Recent work has focused on small donors, independent spending, and political parties. Before SUNY he was a reporter for National Journal, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and held positions in the House of Representatives and Defense Department. Concurrent with SUNY, he has been a member of the National Humanities Council, a visiting professor at Yale University and a guest scholar at The Brookings Institution.
Travis Moore is the Founder and Executive Director of TechCongress, which places computer scientists, engineers, and other technologists to serve with Members of Congress on tech policy matters through its Congressional Innovation Fellowships and the Congressional Digital Service Fellowship. Travis worked on Capitol Hill for six years and was the Legislative Director for Rep. Henry A. Waxman, the former Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Travis is the Co-Founder of the Congressional Staff Alumni Council and #CongressToo, a group of 1500 former Congressional staffers that brought the #MeToo movement to Capitol Hill and spearheaded a reform overhaul signed into law in late 2018. He also serves as a professional development trainer for New Leaders Council.
Anne Moses has 20+ years' experience in social justice and political organizations. In 2010, Anne founded IGNITE, a nationally recognized 501c3 that is building a movement of women who are ready and eager to become the next generation of political leaders. Under Anne’s leadership IGNITE has grown rapidly to become the largest and most diverse young women’s political leadership program in the country. Anne's previous senior leadership positions as Chief Operating Officer for Emerge America and Majority Council Director for EMILY’s List informed her passion and expertise in the arena of gender parity in political leadership. Throughout her career, Anne has also worked as a consultant in the non- profit and philanthropic arenas and has served as Principal Investigator on a number of federal, state and local evaluations. Anne holds a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley.
Nancy Neiman has taught at Scripps College since 1993, where she has held positions in the Politics and Economics Departments and the Mary Wig Johnson Chair in Teaching. Professor Neiman’s previous work includes States, Banks, and Markets: Mexico’s Path to Financial Liberalization in Comparative Perspective (Westview, 2001). Her research covers a wide variety of topics, including neoliberalism, dollarization, financial crises in Latin America, fair trade coffee in Africa, alternative education in the U.S., and politics of the global food movement. Her recently published book Markets, Community and Just Infrastructures (Routledge, 2021) represents a culmination of years interdisciplinary teaching, research, and community engagement focused on markets and their relationship to social justice. Her current research focuses on pastoralist women political organizing and food sovereignty in Gujarat, India.
Daniel G. Newman is a national expert on government accountability and money in politics. He is president and co-founder of MapLight, a nonpartisan nonprofit fighting online political deception. Newman has led MapLight to numerous awards including a Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism, a James Madison Freedom of Information Award, and a Library Journal Best Reference award. Newman has appeared in hundreds of media outlets, including CNN, CBS, MSNBC, FOX Business, and NPR. He led a ballot measure campaign establishing public funding of elections in Berkeley, California, and was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. Most recently, Newman is the author of the graphic novel Unrig: How to Fix Our Broken Democracy, with artist George O’Connor. Newman received an MA in political psychology from U.C. Berkeley and a BA from Brown, and was a Fellow at the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Adav Noti is Senior Director, Trial Litigation & Chief of Staff of Campaign Legal Center. He directs and manages CLC’s strategic litigation, and has conducted dozens of constitutional cases in district courts, courts of appeals and the United States Supreme Court. As Chief of Staff, Adav also coordinates all of CLC's programmatic activities, overseeing CLC's efforts to reform the campaign finance system, protect voting rights, ensure fair redistricting, and promote government ethics. In addition to his litigation and policy practice, Adav regularly provides expert analysis for television, radio, and print journalism. Prior to joining CLC, Adav served for more than ten years in several capacities within the Office of General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission, including as Associate General Counsel for Policy from 2013 to 2017.
Nick Nyhart (former President and CEO, Public Campaign/Every Voice Center) is a longtime democracy advocate. For nearly 20 years, he led Public Campaign (later Every Voice Center), which supported groundbreaking local, state, and national efforts to design, win, and implement innovative systems of publicly financed elections. A consultant since 2019, he remains an expert on small dollar donor public financing programs and related policies to improve American democracy by making politics more inclusive and equitable. Nyhart began his career as a community organizer in Boston before co-directing Connecticut’s grassroots electoral table, LEAP, in the 1980’s. Turning to campaign finance reform across New England in 1993, he became a co-founder of the Washington DC-based Public Campaign in 1997. Nyhart is a graduate of Stanford University.
Jhody Polk is the Founder and Director of the Legal Empowerment and Advocacy Hub aka LEAH, Florida’s first Participatory Defense Hub and home of the National Jailhouse Lawyers Initiative. She is recognized as a 2018 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow, 2019 Peacebuilder of the Year, & 020 Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. Legacy award recipient. Ms. Polk works in areas of peacebuilding, legal empowerment, and human rights to abolish and transform systems of injustice into people centered justice. She served as a central Florida Organizer on the campaign to restore voting rights to over 1.5 million Floridians with felony convictions. She previously served as the Director of Community Justice at the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, the Alachua County Reentry Coalition and she Founded the Florida Council for Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. Ms. Polk currently serves on the Board of Community Spring and GraceMarket Place located in Gainesville, Florida.
Zeenat Rahman is the Executive Director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago whose goal is to build the next generation of political and public service leaders. Prior to this role, she led the Inclusive America Project at the Aspen Institute where her work focused on how faith communities play a key role in fostering pluralism, building bridges across differences, and supporting a strong civil society and a vibrant democracy.
Zeenat previously served as a Presidential Political Appointee, as a Special Adviser to Secretaries Clinton and Kerry on Global Youth Issues at the U.S. Department of State on Global Youth Issues. In this position, she encouraged foreign governments to respond to youth issues through policy change, and created opportunities for young people to pursue their economic and civic aspirations. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the United States Agency for International Development. In this role, she led external engagement efforts with various faith based and community organizations to build support for USAID priorities.
Zeenat is a board member of IREX, a global development and education organization that works in more than 100 countries on issues such as education, leadership, information, and youth. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Truman National Security Fellow, and a working group co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Systemic Inequalities and Social Cohesion. She received a master’s degree in Middle East studies from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois.
Rakesh Rajani, a Tanzanian, is VP of Programs at Co-Impact. He brings three decades of experience in human rights, education, governance, and philanthropy.
Rakesh formerly served as Director of Civic Engagement and Government at the Ford Foundation. He has founded and led several civil society organizations in East Africa, including Twaweza, Uwezo, HakiElimu, and the Policy Forum. Rakesh is a founding member of the Open Government Partnership, a global partnership of 75 governments and hundreds of civil society groups, and has consulted for Google.org, Hivos and UNICEF, among others. He serves on the Boards of the Hewlett Foundation, International Budget Partnership, and Innovations in Poverty Action, and is an advisor to Luminate. Rakesh studied at Brandeis and Harvard.
Nell A. Richardson is a retired teacher, public administrator, and attorney. She holds a B.A. in English (University of Houston), M.A. in English (Middlebury College), Certificate in Public Administration (Briarcliff College), and J.D. (University of Houston Law Center). After teaching English and history at the secondary level, she held public service positions in the areas of housing and child abuse prevention, after which she attended law school and practiced as a civil litigator. She has been an active volunteer with the League of Women Voters, Planned Parenthood, and Child Advocates (CASA). Through her church in downtown Houston, she helped establish non-profit organizations addressing issues of homelessness, low-income housing, women's incarceration, and children's health. She has also served her church as a member of the Vestry, Mission Outreach Council, and choir. Nell and her husband live in a retirement community; they have a combined family of six children and five grandchildren.
Micah L. Sifry is co-founder of Civic Hall and currently serves on the boards of Consumer Reports and the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. He is the author or editor of nine books, most recently Civic Tech in the Global South; A Lever and a Place to Stand: How Civic Tech Can Move the World and The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet). He is a regular contributor to The Nation, The New Republic, and The American Prospect and writes a newsletter on democracy, movements, organizing and tech, called The Connector.
Danielle Silber is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) where she leads a team to develop corporate partnerships to support the organization’s fundraising, marketing, communication and advocacy objectives. In the wake of the Muslim Ban and increasing threats to voting rights, racial justice, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and the very foundation of our democracy, companies are beginning to internalize the cost of democracy in order to protect the rights of their employee, customer and broader community customer stakeholders.
Previously she headed up Corporate Alliances for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) where she had the privilege of designing cause marketing campaigns with brands like HBO’s Game of Thrones and TripAdvisor to destigmatize and support refugees in the United States and abroad.
Before joining the IRC, Danielle taught International Studies at Washington University in St. Louis and in her spare time, served on the board of COLAGE, a national youth advocacy and education organization by and for people with one or more Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and/or Transgender parents.
Josh Silver is co-founder and CEO of RepresentUs, a post-partisan, nonprofit organization advancing election and campaign finance reforms that foster political integrity, competition and moderation. RepresentUs has built the largest digital and grassroots communities in the democracy reform field, with a focus on advancing policies at the intersection of policy impact and political viability.
Josh is co-founder and former CEO of Free Press, an advocacy group that promotes critical journalism and Internet openness. He has run statewide democracy reform ballot initiatives, and publishes widely on democracy, media, election, campaign finance and a range of other public policy issues.
Anne-Marie Slaughter is the CEO of New America and the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. From 2009-2011 she served as the director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State, the first woman to hold that position. Prior to her government service, Dr. Slaughter was the Dean of Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs from 2002–2009 and the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School from 1994-2002. She has written or edited seven books, including “The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World”, “Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family”, and “The Idea That Is America: Keeping Faith with Our Values in a Dangerous World. She is also a frequent contributor to a number of publications, including The Atlantic, the Financial Times, and Project Syndicate. In 2012, she published “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” in The Atlantic, which quickly became one of the most read articles in the history of the magazine and helped spark a renewed national debate on the continued obstacles to genuine full male-female equality. She is married to Professor Andrew Moravcsik; they have two sons.
Pamela Smith is Past President of Verified Voting (2007-2017), playing a national leadership role in safeguarding elections and building working alliances between advocates, election officials and other stakeholders. She developed and shepherded an extensive trusted information resource on election equipment and the regulations governing its use at the federal level and across the 50 states. She provides information and public testimony on verified voting issues at federal and state levels throughout the US, including to the US House of Representatives Committee on House Administration. Ms. Smith is the author of and contributor to numerous key reports and issue briefs on protection of secret ballots, principles of post-election audits, state voting readiness, voting system testing and certification, accessible ballot marking principles and other matters relating to election administration and verification. Prior to her work in elections she was a nonprofit executive for a Hispanic educational organization working on first language literacy and adult learning, and a small business and marketing consultant.
Jon Steinman is a communicator at Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit working to prevent American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government. Jon focuses on disinformation, technology, media, and culture issues as they impact our democracy. During the 2020 election cycle, he also staffed the National Task Force on Election Crises and led its work with the social media platforms. A former government and politics reporter, Jon helped launch the U.S. Office of Congressional Ethics, where he led communications and outreach efforts for the office and secured its reauthorization for continued operations. He founded his own communications consultancy focusing on nonprofits and served as the COO of another DC-based communications firm. Following the 2016 election, he co-founded a cybersecurity startup dedicated to government and nonprofit clients.
Jasmine Sudarkasa is the Executive Director of the Curve Foundation, a new foundation dedicated to investing in lesbian and queer women’s culture.
Prior to joining Curve, Jasmine served as the program Fellow for the Effective Philanthropy Group at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation where she supported the foundation’s approach to effective philanthropy. In 2020, she designed and led a $15 million anti-racist grantmaking effort, a personal and career highlight.
Jasmine has been a capacity builder, development officer, trainer and cheesemonger – sometimes all at once. Before philanthropy, she served as a senior trainer on behalf of Girls Educational & Mentoring Services where she led a national training and technical assistance program on best practices for identifying and serving commercially sexually exploited and domestically sex-trafficked youth.
Dr. Tomicah Tillemann is the Executive Director of the Digital Impact and Governance Initiative (DIGI) at New America, where he develops open source technology platforms to power the public sector. Prior to New America, he served as Senior Advisor to two secretaries of state, leading a team of experts that built 20 major initiatives in 55 countries. He joined the State Department in 2009 as Hillary Clinton's speechwriter and collaborated with her on over 200 speeches. Previously, he spent four years on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee working with Joe Biden, John Kerry and Barack Obama.
Tillemann is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the United Nations World Food Program Innovation Advisory Council, the Lantos Foundation Board of Trustees, the International Advisory Council of MOSIP, and the board of the Global Blockchain Business Council. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University and holds a Ph.D. with distinction from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Vanessa Tucker is a Program Officer for U.S. Democracy at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. She leads the foundation’s grantmaking to support trustworthy elections and counter digital disinformation.
Prior to joining the foundation, Vanessa served as vice president for research and analysis at Freedom House. In that role, her work included in-depth democracy research, exploring distinct threats to democracy posed by disinformation, and collaborating with a network of ideologically diverse organizations and experts. She previously held positions at the Belfer Center and the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.
Vanessa’s family roots are in Oklahoma, where she is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She grew up in Texas and the United Arab Emirates. She earned her bachelor’s degree in international development at McGill University and holds a master’s degree in international relations from Yale University.
Jason has built social change campaigns with a traditional and new media focus for over a decade with special attention to impact as measured against a Theory of Change.
Jason’s work looks at the ways media coverage, entertainment and visual content drive public attitudes and social shifts. He recently worked with news outlets to combat misinformation during the 2020 U.S. Election as votes were counted and a project to share communication best-practices with public health officials during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is now leading a team testing and sharing messaging to promote COVID-19 vaccination and access.
In partnership with Lever for Change, the Selection Committee will review the top-scoring submissions and select up to five Finalists based on considerations that may include, but are not limited to, Evaluation Panel resulting rank order, organizational capacity, geographic diversity, and feasibility. The Selection Committee will select up to five Finalists and the recipients of the two $10 million Stronger Democracy Awards while Cipora & Vlado Herman will select the Finalist recipient of the $2 million grant.