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Campaign for Stronger Democracy

Run from February 2011 through July 2013, the Campaign for Stronger Democracy was a U.S. coalition of advocates, scholars, civic organizations, public officials and concerned citizens who are working to create a strong, vibrant democracy, rooted in a belief that our democratic institutions can rise to the challenges facing our nation.

The Campaign emerged from a series of convenings, called Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy, that brought together a diverse group of democracy reformers working on campaign finance reform, collaborative governance, electoral reform, immigrant civic inclusion, media reform, public deliberation, transparency, and other aspects of our democracy. The meetings — organized by AmericaSpeaks, Demos, Everyday Democracy and faculty from Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Innovation and Governance — sought to increase communication and collaboration across the democracy reform community.

A small group of participants from the Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy conferences came together to form the Campaign out of the recognition that an ongoing partnership is needed to support collaboration and create a stronger reform movement.

On February 2, 2011, the Campaign’s website, strongerdemocracy.org, was launched with a message from interim director Joe Goldman:

This web site will serve as the temporary home for the Campaign as we work with our many partners to figure out who we are and how the Campaign will work.

Our hope is that this site will become a hub for information about the many aspects of democracy reform. You will be able to come here to learn about new efforts to combat the influence of money in politics as well as efforts to make government information more transparent and to encourage greater civic participation in our communities.

The Campaign for Stronger Democracy will be what we make of it. We hope you’ll work with us to create a more powerful reform movement that ensures that people’s voices matter.

Later that day, Joe published another blog post that dug in deeper:

Thousands of local and national organizations across the country are dedicated to making our democracy work better. Some are working on eliminating barriers to electoral participation. Others are working on making more information available to the public so that people can make more informed judgments through efforts to make government more transparency and to strengthen media institutions. Some are helping to ensure that new immigrants are welcomed into the civic fabric of our communities. Still others are focused on volunteerism and civic education to foster greater involvement in the civic life of our communities and nation.

We are all doing the work of strengthening our democracy. And it’s a shame that so few of us are aware of each other. When we work in silos, we lose the opportunity to collaborate, support each other, and celebrate one another’s victories. That’s what the Campaign for Stronger Democracy is about. Alone, we are less powerful and effective. And unless we can make progress on every aspect of our democracy, our political system will still be broken.

At the Campaign for Stronger Democracy, we have developed a broad view of what it will take to create a strong, healthy democracy (though in our interconnected world, it certainly could be broader). The reform agenda page on this website summarizes these 12 fields, beginning with collaborative governance also the way to youth engagement.

As of February 2011, partners for CSD were:

The Campaign for Stronger Democracy is a new coalition with a growing list of partners from across the democracy reform movement.

Advancement Project
Archon Fung, Ash Center for Democratic Innovation and Governance
Asian American Justice Center
Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
Common Cause
Deliberative Democracy Consortium
Everyday Democracy
Fair Vote
Kettering Foundation
Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights  Under Law
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials
National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
National Conference on Citizenship
National Congress of American Indians
OMB Watch
Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement
Points of Light Institute
Proteus Fund
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Rock the Vote

On July 3, 2013, staff members Peter Hardie and Brandon Lee added a final blog post to the site, stating:

Regrettably, we must announce that the Campaign will no longer be staffed effective July of 2013. Brandon will be continuing his work at the Midwest Democracy Network, and Peter will be on assignment with Greenpeace USA in connection with the Democracy Initiative.

This is not an end to the Campaign, but rather a reimagining. The groups that have participated plan to continue working together and keep pushing for widespread, inclusive, and holistic democracy reform. Plans are afoot….

The work of democracy is visionary and gradual; think of the years of effort leading up to women’s suffrage and civil rights. I feel as though we have done great work with the Campaign and we hope that some of you out there have found some inspiration in what we have shared over the last few years.

Resource Link:  www.strongerdemocracy.org

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