Healthy Democracy

Information you can trust. For the people, by the people.

aka Healthy Democracy, Healthy Democracy Oregon   |   Portland, OR   |  www.healthydemocracy.org

Mission

Healthy Democracy is a US-based nonpartisan nonprofit that designs and coordinates innovative deliberative democracy programs. We work to elevate the voice of citizens and improve public discourse for the benefit of all voters.

Ruling year info

2011

Executive Director

Robin Teater

Main address

5100 SW Macadam Ave, Suite 360

Portland, OR 97239 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-1457207

NTEE code info

Voter Education/Registration (R40)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2018 and 2017.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In 24 states voters make major policy choices on the ballot. The problem is that direct democracy itself suffers from many of the same ailments it was meant to originally correct. While it's always been somewhat subject to emotional manipulation and the influence of money, it is impossible to ignore the alarming trend in this type of direct democracy over the past two decades—from an imperfect but well-intended mechanism for expressing the public’s will to an overt expression of special interest power. When it comes to voting on these critical issues, citizens are inundated with confusing campaign messages which are often full of misleading or even false information. Polls have shown that while large percentages of voters often find ballot measures confusing, they still cast votes on the very measures they report they do not understand. Healthy Democracy's Citizens' Initiative Review is a reform to the initiative process that changes the dynamics of power in ballot measure elections.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Citizens' Initiative Review

Citizens' Initiative Review processes bring randomly selected and
demographically-representative panels of voters together to fairly and thoroughly evaluate ballot measures and give voters information they can trust.

In a Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) process, a group of 24 registered voters from around a state are invited to study an active ballot measure. They first undergo training in dialogue and deliberation techniques to prepare for deliberation on the policy issues raised by the measure.

Campaign advocates for and against the measure make their case and are questioned by the citizen panelists. Additionally, independent experts provide information and respond to request and questions from the panel. Throughout, the panelists deliberate on the information, the various policy tradeoffs, and the values underlying the policy choice.

At the end, using a combination of voting and consensus techniques, they produce a statement that contains key facts, the best reasons to vote for the measure, and the best reasons to vote against the measure. Their statement is distributed as widely as possible so that all of the state’s voters can read and consider the statement when they cast their ballot.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The CIR process provides voters with strong and reliable information that directly helps them sort through competing claims about ballot measures and reduces undue influence of paid political advertisements. The main goals are: 1. Reliable Voter Information: An independent, expert evaluation funded by that National Science Foundation found the CIR panels were analytically rigorous and fairly conducted, and that the Citizens Statements were widely used and valued by large percentages of voters. 2. Unique Citizen Engagement: The CIR engages individuals that often lack a strong voice in civic life and governance, such as youth, people from rural locations, and communities of color. By putting voters in this unique and powerful role, the CIR provides citizen panelists with a positive experience of civic responsibility as this diverse group works together respectfully, using their differences to produce meaningful citizen-driven evaluations of ballot measures.

During the Citizens’ Initiative Review, 10,000 invitations are sent to randomly selected voters. From those who agree to participate, a panel of 24 randomly-selected and demographically-balanced voters (age, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, political party affiliation, etc.) are brought together from across the state to fairly evaluate a ballot measure. The panelists meet for several days to review a ballot measure (they are compensated for their time and travel expenses). Panelists gather initial information about the measure and question advocates for and against the measure and neutral policy experts. The panelists have the opportunity to ask questions of experts and advocates. At the conclusion of each review, panelists draft a ‘Citizens’ Statement’ highlighting the most important findings about the measure. Each ‘Citizens’ Statement’ is published as a page in the voters’ pamphlet as an easily accessible resource for voters to use at election time.

Healthy Democracy developed the Citizens' Initiative Review process, building on the conceptual framework of the Citizen Jury model, which in turn was developed by one of Healthy Democracy's founders, Ned Crosby. Mr. Crosby has a nationally and internationally recognized expert in this process, and has contributed extensively to the intellectual and practical framework of the CIR over the years. The CIR is unique in the United States, and has been voted into law in at least one state (Oregon), with pending legislation in another state (Massachusetts). It has been piloted in other states such as Arizona, Colorado and California, and been twice received Harvard University's Ash Center "Top Ten" for Innovations in Government Awards.

In 2012, over half of Oregon voters read a Citizens’ Statement and two thirds found it useful when voting. Media have praised the CIR for offering “the most objective analyses of the issues we’ll be voting on” (La Grande Observer). Elected leaders from both parties compliment the process for offering voters a chance to provide quality information to their fellow citizens.

The independent research team’s 2012 results can be found at: http://www.la1.psu.edu/cas/jgastil/CIR/ReportToCIRCommission2012.pdf

The Citizens' Initiative Review will continue to take place as initiatives make their way to the ballot, to provide unbiased and trustworthy information to the voting public.

Financials

Healthy Democracy
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Healthy Democracy

Board of directors
as of 4/29/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Gary Swanson

Marge Easley

Manju Bazzell

Craig Campbell

Vickie Chamberlain

John Frohnmayer

Lilisa Hall

John Horvick

Jim Scherzinger

Kim Williams

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No