Answers to the most frequently asked questions.
The Stronger Democracy Award is a public competition sponsored by Additional Ventures, with support from philanthropists Cipora & Vlado Herman and ICONIQ Impact, and managed by Lever for Change. Additional Ventures will award $10 million over up to five years to one initiative that strengthens American democracy across one or more of three main areas listed below. In addition to the $10 million grant, Cipora & Vlado Herman will award $2 million to one of the remaining Finalists with a promising solution.
(1) Voting & Elections
Implement structural reform around voting rights and access, redistricting, voting architecture, and campaign finance.
Strengthen legislative processes and tools to improve bipartisan relationships among politicians, increase access to policy expertise through nonpartisan think tanks and research engines, and promote the passing of policies representative of the broader electorate.
(3) Civic Engagement
Improve civic education and participation to support citizens, communities, and society as they inform policies and hold representatives accountable.
Eligible lead applicants must be based in the United States and include:
Lead applicants who are 501(c)(4) organizations are required to include a 501(c)(3) organization as part of the project team that is eligible to receive funds from a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). While individuals, for-profit entities, and government agencies are not eligible to apply, these entities may be members of the applicant team led by an eligible lead applicant. Use the Organizational Readiness Tool to find out if you’re a good fit for the Award, refer to the Rules for a complete set of eligibility requirements, and please contact us with any Award-related questions.
We are seeking innovative, long-term, and scale-ready solutions that drive structural reform to help the US government to more fully and effectively represent its people. Strong solutions will address systemic barriers and advance structural reform with the objective of incenting the government to be more responsive to the broader electorate, and ensure government is staffed with high-quality, high-functioning institutions and people.
You must first assess your fit and eligibility for the Stronger Democracy Award, and then register no later than Tuesday, June 22, 2021, at 5:00 PM Pacific. Registration is required and is a simple two-step process. First, create a username and password and then check your inbox to confirm your registration. Next, complete the online registration form. Once you are registered, submit your application online no later than Thursday, July 22, 2021, at 5:00 PM Pacific.
Once the submission deadline passes, the Stronger Democracy Award team will perform an administrative review to confirm each submission meets the rules and application requirements before advancing to the required Peer-to-Peer Review.
During Peer-to-Peer Review, each lead applicant will be required to score and comment on five applications from other organizations. Top-scoring applications will move on to the Evaluation Panel and receive an additional review and comments from five judges. All reviewers will use the scoring rubric, and all scores will be statistically normalized to ensure fairness.
We will review the top-scoring submissions and request additional information as needed to 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 donors will make the final determination of the five Finalists and the recipient of the $10 million Stronger Democracy Award and $2 million Finalist award.
We are prioritizing evidence-based solutions delivered by highly qualified teams. The most compelling solutions will be backed by evidence using one or more of the following methods of evaluation:
Solutions in early development or pilot stages without results that demonstrate impact are unlikely to be competitive. Successful proposals will be in one of the following project stages:
Funds must be used for the solution described in the application, and may not be used for:
Lobbying activities are an allowable expense, and any lobbying activities must constitute less than 50% of the $10 million budget.
Advocacy activities are not considered lobbying and are an eligible use of funds with no budget limitations or requirements.
Refer to our Lobbying Policy for clarification.