Strengthening Democracy

Consistent with the Foundation’s mission and core values, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation believes the quality of life of the people of North Carolina depends, in large part, on an informed and involved populace that is able to exercise its individual rights and come together for a common purpose. The Foundation aims to strengthen democracy by ensuring that public institutions and processes are effective, transparent, accountable, accessible and inclusive. The Foundation is especially interested in removing barriers that prevent civic participation among populations who have been historically marginalized, subjected to discrimination, or excluded from full participation in society. Furthermore, the Foundation recognizes that our government institutions only work well if people have enough credible information on which to base decisions, know how to make their voices heard, and if there are diverse leaders willing to serve the public good. 

Consequently, the Foundation supports efforts that: inform the populace about government policies, practices and issues; improve the public’s ability to analyze media; protect and promote just and fair elections; strengthen voters’ rights and increase participation in government; and reduce barriers that limit historically marginalized citizens from serving in office or other public decision-making bodies. 

Through this grantmaking strategy, the Foundation funds work that is focused on state-level systemic change. 

The Foundation is legally prohibited from funding voter registration.