New Pluralists will mobilize a privately-funded effort to build a culture of belonging in America.
Washington, DC, September 15 – Today at the White House’s United We Stand Summit, the New Pluralists funder and field collaborative announced a new initiative to galvanize funders to invest $1 billion over the next ten years, towards communities and organizations across America who are building a culture of respect, belonging, and collaboration. Launched in 2021 with a starting goal of raising $100 million, the group is responding to the outpouring of interest they’re seeing from the philanthropic sector and leaders on the ground addressing toxic division.
Pluralism is about living alongside people from a range of backgrounds and beliefs and seeing those differences as an opportunity for debate, collaboration, and innovation on our biggest problems. It takes work, but it’s crucial to strengthening our democracy and creating communities where everyone can thrive. And Americans are hungry for it. An overwhelming 85% of Americans are exhausted by the current division in politics and are looking for ways to work together.
“We believe pluralistic norms and practices can shift us from toxic cycles of violence and division into a future where we are all respected and belong,” says Uma Viswanathan, Executive Director, New Pluralists. “Today’s event and announcement shines a light on work that has long shown what’s possible when people feel equipped to navigate our complex divisions – across race, class, geography. Philanthropy has a role to play. The work of pluralism deserves to be invested in at a magnitude that meets the scale of the opportunity. By partnering with and powering up this field, we can radically imagine and build a future where we trust each other and our institutions.”
To realize the full potential of this interest and this moment, New Pluralists will work with individual philanthropists, private charities, community foundations, and a range of funders to direct $1 billion in resources to the field of pluralism.
Local leaders may work on poverty, education, faith, and a range of other critical leaders, and they’re making progress by working across what divides us. That shows up in the submissions in New Pluralists’ recent $10 million Healing Starts Here request for proposals. More than 800 practitioners from across the country turned up with plans to be creative and take risks in transforming divisive dynamics and building belonging.
Philanthropy can model the change we want to see in society. As a result, more and more funders are actively looking for ways to both fund and practice pluralism. For example, in response to requests, the Democracy Funders Network developed a guide that focuses on the proactive relational and cultural change funders need to advance an inclusive and socially cohesive democracy. Similarly, the Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) is preparing to publish an assessment tool to help funders identify their approach to their work and whether they are unintentionally adding to polarization. These are a sampling of the growing movement to ensure philanthropy is set up to play a positive role in addressing toxic division.
The New Pluralist collaborative, through its deep relationships with Field Builders and Funding communities, is seeing through its work an increasing appetite to understand better what it will take to heal the division in ways that support advancing the critical issues with pluralistic solutions. “To do that, we must strengthen and build pluralistic mindsets, values, skills, and behaviors as individuals, institutions, and communities,” adds Viswanathan.
“But for the New Pluralists collaborative, I likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn alongside and collaborate with such a cross-section of diverse national organizations,” expresses Whitney Kimball Coe, Vice President & Director of National Programs, Center for Rural Strategies. “Rural voices are often an afterthought in national collaborations, or they are conflated with conservative voices, which stifles the pluralism that actually exists in rural areas. Instead, New Pluralists welcome the nuance and complexity of rural experiences, which opens the door to all possibilities and opportunities for finding new ways to flourish together.”
About Healing Starts Here
New Pluralists is investing $10 million in organizations and networks of, by, and for local communities, which are acting together to address divisive forces in a way that reflects the cultures, values, and desires of the people who live there. Grants ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 will support efforts and practitioners ready to be creative and take risks in transforming divisive dynamics and building belonging.
About Social Cohesion Philanthropy
PACE, the Democracy Funders Network, and New Pluralists are launching a campaign that aims to put the spirit of “Social Cohesion Philanthropy” on the map and shape the culture of philanthropy towards intentionally building social cohesion and mitigating toxic polarization. This will be a 12-month “Learning Out Loud” campaign to create a shared understanding and advance philanthropic practice.
About New Pluralists
New Pluralists is a cross-ideological funder collaborative focused on supporting the growing field of practitioners, storytellers, researchers, and innovators working to foster a culture of pluralism in America. The collaborative works in deep partnership with a diverse community of field leaders, grantees, and other partners who are tackling these challenges from different fields and perspectives. In order to realize the vision of a politically vibrant, multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, we’re working together to invest at least $100 million in the next decade to renew the promise of America by ushering in a new pluralism. To learn more, meet our Field Builders, check out our funders, and share with us how you want to get involved.
LaMonte Guillory, Director of Storytelling