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Piper Fund - Proteus Fund

We are in a fight for the soul of our democracy. Never has the threat to our fundamental rights and entire form of governance been more evident or the need for well-funded and coordinated action more urgent.

Our democratic norms and institutions are facing attacks on all sides. While elected officials at the state and national level as well as corporate and other special interests work to roll back voting rights, undermine elections, and control our judicial system, white nationalist and other authoritarian forces seek to silence and punish those who speak out for racial, gender, and queer justice. These dangerous anti-democratic assaults cannot be allowed to erode our most basic rights to protest, hold free and fair elections, and have a fair day in court. This critical moment demands a collaborative, coordinated response.

Piper Fund, an initiative of the Proteus Fund, connects and resources grassroots organizations dedicated to protecting our democracy and envisioning reforms to make it more inclusive and representative. We break down silos to support community-led coalitions and help build dynamic movements that produce powerful change.

Beyond grantmaking, we provide funders with strategic insight and partnership to strengthen the work of our grantees who are boldly leading activism on the ground.

  • Expertise – Through our extensive knowledge and deep relationships at the state and local level, we monitor trends across the country, engage with advocates in the field, and amplify the collective impact of our funders.
  • Grantmaking – In partnership with our donors, we invest in and incubate emerging organizers and organizations who share our vision of inclusive democracy. In partnership with grantees, we identify capacity and infrastructure gaps and design thoughtful grants to address them.
  • Field Coordination – We regularly convene grantees and other key stakeholders in the field to encourage collaboration, develop strategy, learn from each other and coordinate efforts.
  • Funder Education and Engagement – We regularly hold funder briefings and offer other opportunities for funders to learn about organizations and activists in our field, and to hear about grantees’ successes and challenges, in order to better inform and mobilize donors.
  • Communications and Narrative Power – We commission research and polling, and work collaboratively with grantees to offer spokesperson training, introductions to journalists and media producers, op-ed writing assistance, and rapid response talking points.
  • Grantee Safety and Security – We support not only our grantee’s often risky work, but their physical and digital security and health and wellness while doing it.

A true and robust democracy must include historically underrepresented communities. Piper Fund’s three initiatives are focused on ensuring that every voice is heard and represented in our democracy.

 

Money in Politics Reform 

Corporations and wealthy individuals funnel millions of dollars into our political systems each year to sway elections and influence policy outcomes. They invest in political power that will serve their own wealthy interests over the public good, stacking the deck against efforts to promote social, economic, and environmental justice. Our democracy should not be for sale. It’s time to stop corporate oligarchs and the wealthy from buying the political process and ensure that the voices and votes of all, particularly those who have been historically underrepresented in elected and appointed office and at policy tables, count.

Piper Fund supports community-based organizations that are advancing reform efforts to limit money in politics and build community power. We’re working with grantees who are successfully pushing for meaningful campaign contribution limits, public financing, and other critical election reforms in their states.

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Judicial Independence

A methodical effort to neutralize and control our judiciary is underway. Special and political interests bent on destroying judicial independence are targeting state courts, which decide an overwhelming majority of legal disputes in the United States. Emboldened by these deep-pocket groups and individuals, state legislatures are churning out countless bills aimed at weakening the courts’ traditional authority – putting not only our civil rights at peril, but democracy itself.

Piper Fund is the first and only national donor collaborative dedicated to judicial independence. We have been at the forefront of this fight since 2012, supporting advocates in states where these unprecedented, well-funded attacks are taking place.

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Protecting the Right to Protest

The right to peacefully assemble and voice concerns in a public forum is a cornerstone of democracy. Increasingly, that right is being threatened- particularly for communities of color and other marginalized groups. Movements calling for racial and environmental justice especially have been met with escalated attacks in the form of militarized policing and increasingly draconian anti-protest laws that all but eliminate the right to peacefully assemble and protest itself.

Piper Fund is committed to protecting our constitutional right to protest. Piper supports groups seeking to defend protest rights, with a priority on state and local efforts led by communities of color. We also work to counter the negative, often racist narratives perpetuated about protestors through messaging support and education.

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More than a dollar amount. We measure impact by how far we reached and whose lives were changed.

992

Total Grants

$43,258,283

Funds Distributed

277

Grantee Organizations

Together, we are stronger. It’s what we believe about our democracy and our donor partners.

Through our synergistic approach to grantmaking and related programming, funders benefit not only from our expertise but from being part of a community that’s deeply committed to the same cause. Grantmaker is only one of the roles we play in supporting funders’ philanthropic goals.

  • Convener: We create intentional opportunities for funders to learn together and engage with one another. Our semi-annual meetings and regular briefings feature impactful leaders, innovative approaches to grantmaking, and informative field reports to enhance funders’ knowledge and help them refine their strategies.
  • State-level expert: We track threats and opportunities in more than 30 states and hold relationships with organizers on the ground.  Their firsthand experience helps Piper and our donor partners respond quickly as urgent needs arise.
  • Field-builder: We identify gaps in the field and invest in community organizations and related initiatives to address these gaps, leading to better results for grantees,  our donor partners, and the democracy field overall.

Are you a funder interested in joining our work?

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