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The Hewlett Foundation Blog




We Are Partisans for Representative Democracy 

July 24, 2014 — By Heath Wickline

Earlier this week, Madison Initiative Director Daniel Stid responded to a broadside critique of our new line of grantmaking from David Callahan at Inside Philanthropy, which is neatly summarized by it's title: “Why Won’t Foundations Like Hewlett Just Stand Up and Fight For Their Values?” While we, of course, disagree with much of what he wrote, we appreciate the directness of Callahan's piece. It gave Daniel an opportunity to clarify how, in this domain as in others, the Hewlett Foundation strives to be pragmatic and non-ideological in its grantmaking.  

In his response, Daniel also emphasized that the Madison Initiative, “is emphatically not a value-neutral exercise. We will be partisans—but for representative government. In this effort, we will work with grantees and funding partners not only in the center but also on the right and left who—whatever their other commitments—believe in the fundamental importance of our representative institutions and processes, have good ideas about how to support and improve their health, and are prepared to engage in reasoned debate with others about the best way forward.” The full post contains some important ideas about the nature of about our grantmaking, and we would appreciate your thoughts on it.