The Reflective Democracy Campaign investigates and disrupts the demographics of power in the United States. Our groundbreaking research and analysis have led the national conversation about race, gender, and politics, shining a light on both the stark imbalances distorting our democracy and the current wave of victories by candidates who reflect the American people.
  • For half a decade, our data and opinion research on race, gender, and American politics have generated coast-to-coast headlines and sparked activism against the structural barriers keeping people of color and women from the halls of power. Thanks to our partnership with the Center for Technology and Civic Life, our data is of the highest quality.
  • Our data, reports, infographic toolkit, and other resources are freely available to researchers, journalists, activists, and fellow funders.
  • After our researchers found that women and people of color win at the same rate as white male candidates, reflective candidates nationwide quickly validated our findings with a wave of unprecedented victories, helped in part by our activist grantees, who are successfully reshaping the political system.
We fund and spearhead innovative efforts to help women and people of color gain their fair share of seats at the table. Our Reflective Democracy Innovator grants support a wide range of organizing, activism, and capacity-building by leaders and organizations committed to changing the face of power.
  • Our 2019 grants focus on building political power in local communities to disrupt the entrenched gatekeeper system and realize the potential of leaders who reflect their communities.
  • Our activist grantees have tackled the exclusion of women and people of color from elected office, working to elevate those usually overlooked by political gatekeepers. The 2018 midterms yielded a wave of victories demonstrating the potent combination of community organizing, progressive values, and reflective leaders, including Ayanna Pressley (first African American Congresswoman from Massachusetts), Deb Haaland (representing New Mexico as the first Native American woman in Congress), and other reflective leaders up and down the ballot nationwide.
  • Our research grants have yielded break-through findings about the systemic barriers that maintain the status quo— and innovative strategies for dismantling them.  
The Reflective Democracy Campaign was founded by the Women Donors Network in 2014 on the belief that we won’t achieve real democracy until all of us are reflected in the halls of power. Now we’re at the forefront of the growing movement for leaders who truly reflect the American people.
The Reflective Democracy Campaign is directed by Brenda Choresi Carter, in coordination with a team of expert researchers, communicators, and strategists, and backed by the collective power of the Women Donors Network, a nationwide community of individual women philanthropists at the forefront of social change. Brenda has extensive experience as an organizer, strategist, researcher, and teacher. She worked in the labor movement for over a decade, starting as a rank-and-file leader of a union organizing drive by teaching and research assistants at Yale University, and later becoming the special assistant to the president of UNITE HERE, the union of hospitality industry workers, where she helped empower a workforce of mostly immigrants, people of color, and women. Brenda has been a visiting faculty member at Brown University and the Wesleyan University Center for Prison Education. She earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and a Ph.D in American Studies at Yale.