PIPER FUND: Judicial Independence

The judiciary plays a critical role in preserving our rights. We trust that when we stand before a judge we will have our fair day in court; that the judge will rule without bias, free from external pressure or influences.

Unfortunately, the current political climate has emboldened politicians to undermine the role of the judiciary—mounting unprecedented attacks at the state and federal levels. Moreover, wealthy special interests have been spending millions to try to influence our courts and twist them in their favor. Judges are not politicians: they should be free from intimidation and be able to impart justice independently.

Piper Fund has been at the forefront of the fight for judicial independence since 2012—in states across the country, from Alaska to Florida—by helping judicial independence advocates protect our courts, seemingly against all odds.

Judicial independence is not just about protecting courts, it’s about protecting our rights. Piper’s support for advocates’ tireless work guarantees that issues we care about—voting rights, fair housing, civil rights, racial justice, environmental justice, and women’s rights, to name a few—are heard and protected by a fair judicial system.

We believe that winning reform and protecting judicial independence requires a broad and powerful movement. Piper is building this movement through:

  • Investments in community-based groups that can quickly and effectively counter attacks against the courts;
  • Support to state and national advocates in order to build strong networks, and to engage the public on the critical importance of judicial independence; and
  • Strategic convenings with advocates and funders to quickly and effectively determine how to best strengthen the field.

Updates from Piper’s Judicial Independence

Judicial Independence is key to all of our work—and it’s under attack

Critical decisions are being reached at every level of our judiciary that could fundamentally reshape our country. Many funders and advocates have anxiously awaited the US Supreme Court’s rulings on a number of important cases: the constitutionality of the Muslim Ban, the right to refuse service based on religious beliefs, and the legality of extreme partisan gerrymandering, to name just a few. At the same time, groups in many states have awaited critical decisions from both federal and state supreme courts, for example, cases connected to Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship voter law, and Pennsylvania’s map of congressional districts.

Benefits of Joining the Piper Fund

When funders pool resources and draw on collective ideas and energy, we have maximized investments and achieve a broader impact towards strategic change. For this reason, we integrate a collaborative approach in our major initiative work. By joining Piper, you will benefit from:

Piper’s collaborative grantmaking can amplify your impact by supporting collective actions across the country, where it’s needed most. Especially now, when reform is most attainable at state and local levels and when attacks against democratic norms and institutions are escalating, Piper brings extensive firsthand knowledge of key states. Our staff currently monitor more than 30 states, regularly engage advocates and policy influencers, and conduct site visits to identify opportunities, monitor threats to our democratic institutions, evaluate reform efforts, and actively learn from both wins and temporary setbacks. Our relationships allow us to reach out to the field, proactively prepare for possible scenarios, and develop a comprehensive approach.

Piper’s leadership goes beyond grantmaking. We use a broad-based approach towards cohesive, lasting reform that includes: field-building, communications development, trainings and leadership development, rapid response strategies, expedient research, as well as lobbying investments through our (c)(4) affiliate Piper Action Fund. Piper’s vision of building an impactful, intersectional democracy movement has led us to invest in the organizational infrastructure of community organizations, with positive, tangible results. We regularly convene grantees and other key stakeholders in the field for collaborative planning and learning, an approach that helps inform the broader grantmaking portfolios of our donor partners.

Piper’s collaborative approach can help you maximize your investment with an efficient grantmaking process. Our nimble structure allows us to rapidly mobilize funds to capitalize on opportunities and contend with challenges as they arise, even moving needed funds to grantees within days. This approach allows funders to leverage resources in a cost-effective way, create breakthrough reform, and protect democratic institutions. In recent years, Piper has shifted its grantmaking to focus on groups led by the New American Majority. By building sustained power for historically disenfranchised communities, we have increased participation in the democratic process and strengthened efforts to defend our democracy.

Piper is a learning community in which funders share knowledge, expertise, and have strategic conversations about how to best strengthen our democracy. At our semiannual meetings and regular funder briefings, you can hear from the most innovative and impactful leaders in the field, to inform both immediate and long-term grantmaking strategies. Our extended network gives you early access to emerging threats to democracy and reform efforts, as well as innovative approaches to grantmaking within the wider philanthropic community, to build a flexible and adaptable roadmap for success.

  • Proven expertise within states

    Piper’s collaborative grantmaking can amplify your impact by supporting collective actions across the country, where it’s needed most. Especially now, when reform is most attainable at state and local levels and when attacks against democratic norms and institutions are escalating, Piper brings extensive firsthand knowledge of key states. Our staff currently monitor more than 30 states, regularly engage advocates and policy influencers, and conduct site visits to identify opportunities, monitor threats to our democratic institutions, evaluate reform efforts, and actively learn from both wins and temporary setbacks. Our relationships allow us to reach out to the field, proactively prepare for possible scenarios, and develop a comprehensive approach.

  • Expertise in field-building

    Piper’s leadership goes beyond grantmaking. We use a broad-based approach towards cohesive, lasting reform that includes: field-building, communications development, trainings and leadership development, rapid response strategies, expedient research, as well as lobbying investments through our (c)(4) affiliate Piper Action Fund. Piper’s vision of building an impactful, intersectional democracy movement has led us to invest in the organizational infrastructure of community organizations, with positive, tangible results. We regularly convene grantees and other key stakeholders in the field for collaborative planning and learning, an approach that helps inform the broader grantmaking portfolios of our donor partners.

  • Innovative and collaborative grantmaking

    Piper’s collaborative approach can help you maximize your investment with an efficient grantmaking process. Our nimble structure allows us to rapidly mobilize funds to capitalize on opportunities and contend with challenges as they arise, even moving needed funds to grantees within days. This approach allows funders to leverage resources in a cost-effective way, create breakthrough reform, and protect democratic institutions. In recent years, Piper has shifted its grantmaking to focus on groups led by the New American Majority. By building sustained power for historically disenfranchised communities, we have increased participation in the democratic process and strengthened efforts to defend our democracy.

  • Access to a community of funders

    Piper is a learning community in which funders share knowledge, expertise, and have strategic conversations about how to best strengthen our democracy. At our semiannual meetings and regular funder briefings, you can hear from the most innovative and impactful leaders in the field, to inform both immediate and long-term grantmaking strategies. Our extended network gives you early access to emerging threats to democracy and reform efforts, as well as innovative approaches to grantmaking within the wider philanthropic community, to build a flexible and adaptable roadmap for success.