Editorials: Philanthropy Must Help Heal the Breakdown in Democracy | Robert L. Gallucci/The Chronicle of Philanthropy

America’s democracy is in trouble. Given the current government shutdown, the rancor of our political process, the likelihood that we will go on lurching from crisis to crisis, and the low level of confidence Americans have in their government, that observation probably won’t stir much controversy. But it ought to be a call to action. As citizens, we should be deeply concerned that our political system is failing. As donors, we should be equally engaged. Philanthropic foundations pride themselves on taking on urgent and significant challenges. They don’t come more urgent or significant than the future of our republic. The malaise of representative democracy in this country is not only a betrayal of American ideals and principles. It has real and negative effects on our economy, the health of our institutions, and our standing in the world. Why should we in philanthropy get involved? Because it is in our interest.