It's increasingly clear that vulnerable communities are in need of healing, greater unity and stronger faith in our democratic systems. Civic engagement has traditionally manifested through volunteerism, participation in local and national political discourse, activism, voting and more, and it’s been a cornerstone of strong communities and a functioning democracy in our country. So, what do we do when these foundational pieces of our democratic systems are, in the eyes of many, breaking down or already broken?
Join funders, organizers and nonprofits to discuss what role philanthropy can and should play as funders, as arbiters between public and private sectors and as advocates for the communities that we serve to inform better civic participation and rebuild trust in our democratic systems through times of political and social division and evolution.
- Isaiah Castilla, Senior Counsel, Democracy Fund
- Shehn Datta, Strategy & Planning Manager, Democracy Alliance
- Adiel Suarez-Murias, Communications & Marketing Director, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE)
- Raabia Budhwani, Director of Place Based Growth, Service Year Alliance
Sean Tennerson, Program Officer (Social Innovation), The Case Foundation
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Learn more about the presenters:
Isaiah Castilla: Isaiah Castilla is Senior Counsel for the Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Isaiah oversees the Fund’s legal affairs and provides expertise and guidance for its strategy development, grant making, contracting, and other areas. Previously, Isaiah served as Bolder Advocacy Counsel at Alliance for Justice.
Shehn Datta: Before joining the DA, Shehn Datta previously worked for State Voices, where she managed democracy programs and assisted the Programs Department in research and writing. She also served for a time as the Political Coordinator at the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, where she supporting the political team in building partnerships and relationships with stakeholders and providing technical assistance to allies.
Adiel Suarez-Murias: Adiel is Communications & Marketing Director of PACE and leads the organization’s internal and external communication efforts to further the critical dialogue moving our field forward. She brings with her over ten years of experience working with individuals and nonprofits to find the most resonant ways to express their ideas, engage stakeholders, and exceed their goals. Formerly, she was the Communications & Development Manager at the Alliance for Peacebuilding, a global network of over 100 organizations working toward sustainable peace.
Raabia Budhwani: As Director of Place Based Growth, Raabia works with local leaders across the country to lead [Service Year Alliance's] strategy of demonstrating how service years at scale can help repair broken cities, uplift and educate children at risk, and empower communities struggling with poverty. Previously, Raabia facilitated international and philanthropic partnerships at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and led a federal interagency team to pilot the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative engagement Macon-Bibb County, Georgia.
Sean Tennerson: As the Program Officer Sean loves having the opportunity to contribute to the Foundation’s social innovation efforts. Her favorite thing about her position on the grantmaking team is the chance to work with and build relationships with the grantees by participating in their events and meeting their volunteers and the people they serve.
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