[Application Deadline Extended] 2024 Strengthening Democracy Learning and Action Cohort

The deadline to apply to participate in the Strengthening Democracy Learning and Action Cohort has been extended to March 18. We will be accepting applications on a rolling basis so we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

Strengthening Democracy Learning & Action Network Overview

Hosted by NCFP and developed with the expert knowledge and facilitation of the team at Panorama Global, the Democracy Learning and Action Cohort will convene family trustees and senior staff decision-makers to inform a deeper understanding of what impacts the pillars on which our democracy rests and encourage philanthropic and other civic investments that have the potential to strengthen and sustain democracy in the United States. The program will explore issues such as representative democracy, voting rights, structural and institutional reform, community media and journalism, power building and movement organizing. The cohort is designed to bridge learning into action as well as create a peer community of funders. The intended outcomes are to equip participants with the tools to invest beyond election cycle funding and spur new, increased, and sustained giving to strengthen democracy.

Why Democracy?

The United States is navigating a critical moment in our history as core principles and structures of democracy are under attack. A significant rise in voter suppression and intimidation, disinformation campaigns that implicate journalism and mainstream and social media, and violence toward elected and appointed officials are eroding confidence in our democracy. The hyperpolarization of public discourse leaves a smaller ground for effective policy formation on any issue. At the same time, however, there are movements across the country that are working to bridge divides, shore up and strengthen justice and equity, and lay the groundwork for more permanent changes that would lead to an inclusive multi-racial democracy.  Join the cohort to learn how you can use your philanthropic resources to build a more just democracy.


Submit Your Application Here

What You’ll Learn

Over the course of the Cohort, participants will explore:

  • The core structural and systemic challenges in our democracy today, by:
    • Gaining deeper awareness of how current democratic challenges are informed by our founding principles and by subsequent historical periods, including Reconstruction and the Civil Rights movement
    • Examining recent legislation and developments that shape current conditions, including Citizens United, Shelby v. Holder, and Rucho v. Common Cause
  • The critical threats facing US democracy in the short and long term:
    • Leading up to and including the 2024 election
    • Following the election
  • The current landscape of funders and leaders in the democracy space as a means of:
    • Understanding varied models and vehicles for investing in democracy building, including 501(c)(3)s, 501(c)(4)s, and political action committees (PACs)
    • Learning about trusted organizations in local, state, and national democracy work from each other and guest speakers

As a result of this Cohort experience, members will:

  • Arrive at a shared understanding of what constitutes a multiracial democracy
  • Sharpen their ability to challenge their own assumptions and biases
  • Understand impactful short, medium, and long-term possibilities for investment

Session Dates

  1. Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 12 –2:30pm ET / 9–11:30am PT (2.5 hours)
  2. Wednesday, May 8, 2024, 12 –2pm ET / 9–11am PT (2 hours)
  3. Wednesday, June 5, 2024, 12 –2pm ET / 9–11am PT (2 hours)
  4. Wednesday, September 11, 2024, 12 –2pm ET / 9–11am PT (2 hours)
  5. Wednesday, October 9, 2024, 12–2:30pm ET / 9–11:30am PT (2.5 hours)

Expectations of Participants

Democracy Learning and Action Cohort participants will be expected to participate in all learning sessions and plan for approximately one hour of additional work related to each session (pre-reading, post-session learning).

We ask that you bring your whole selves and prepare for challenging and thoughtful work. You will have opportunities to learn, reflect, build community, and collaborate during the virtual sessions and beyond.


We will accept up to two participants per organization and request that participants bring what they learned back to their organizations. In addition, participants must be a family philanthropy board member, principal, or senior staff member with decision making authority/influence.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?

  • There is a two-step process:

(1) Before you register, please complete an application. This will allow us to verify eligibility and address any questions you may have on your application.

(2) Upon notification of acceptance you will receive an email with instructions on how to register for the program, including payment of the registration fee.

  • The application deadline is March 18, 2024. Please note that applications are accepted on a rolling basis with preference given to NCFP members. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. 

What should I expect in the evaluation of my application?

Applications will be approved based on factors including:

  • Ability to commit to an intensive, peer-based virtual program
  • Demonstrated commitment to bring whole self, undertake challenging and thoughtful work, reflect, build community, and collaborate with peers

When will I know if my application is accepted?

We will notify applicants of their acceptance on a rolling basis and no later than March 18, 2024. Upon acceptance, applicants will receive instructions to help them register for this program. To secure a seat, accepted applicants must register and submit payment by March 20, 2024. 

May I apply as part of a group from my family/foundation?

We will accept up to two participants per organization and request that participants bring what they learned back to their organizations.   

Please complete one separate application form for each applicant and indicate on the form that you are applying as part of a family group. 

How much does it cost to participate?

Members of the National Center for Family Philanthropy may register at a discounted rate of $2,500. The non-member registration fee is $3,500. Please email us at ncfp@ncfp.org if you are unsure of your membership status. 

What is your cancellation policy?

The deadline for cancellation refunds is March 20, 2024. After this date, no refunds can be issued. Cancellations from paying registrants are subject to a $250 processing fee. All cancellations MUST be submitted in writing and emailed to ncfp@ncfp.org. Individuals who need to cancel that are able to transfer their registration to another eligible attendee will not have a cancellation fee applied. The substitution deadline is April 1, 2024.

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Additional questions? Contact NCFP