PIPER FUND: Money in Politics Reform

Our nation is at peril—its foundations shaken by daily assaults that undermine the fundamental pillars of our democracy. The ever-growing influence of money in politics has enabled corporate and wealthy donors to create systemic barriers to civic engagement that limit the voices of underrepresented communities in our political process. To create a healthy democracy that works for everyone, Piper Fund—an initiative of the Proteus Fund—builds power to offset the influence of moneyed interests by investing in community-based organizations to drive intersectional democracy reforms.  

From Seattle to Washington DC, we have learned that local reforms—centered in the needs and priorities of those communities most impacted by money in politics—have the greatest opportunity to build sustained power.  

Piper’s grantees have won the most significant public financing, contribution limits, ethics and disclosure victories, including small-donor programs and cutting-edge policy innovations to remove barriers to political participation and expand the electorate. Piper Fund convenes national funders and allies to align their work, learn from each other about innovations in the field, and pools resources to have a greater collective impact. Our maximized investments focus on municipal and state-level reforms and build the capacity and leadership of locally-driven coalitions for broader impact. 

Seattle: A case study of impactful grantmaking

In its first year of implementation, Seattle’s Democracy Voucher program has already achieved significant gains toward creating a healthier democracy by lifting up the voices of underrepresented communities. More than 25,000 residents donated to citywide campaigns in the November 2017 election—a threefold increase compared to the number who donated in 2013.

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.