To defend, strengthen, and improve U.S. democracy: Our priorities for this year

In the midst of a deeply polarizing election cycle projected to be the most expensive of all time, it is easy to be pessimistic about the state of our nation’s democracy. Political divisions appear to be widening, while public confidence in critical institutions continues to wane. Global conflicts stress long-standing coalitions, perception of the economy…

Creative liberty: A case for the arts as essential to democracy

This article was featured in Arts Essential, a newsletter from the Performing Arts Program exploring the profound ways the arts impact, shape, and define the San Francisco Bay Area.  The performing arts are both a reflecting and a reshaping force. In a hyperpolarized era, when communities silo and individuals isolate, can creative impulse bring us…

Living into justice & equity — even when it gets difficult

It’s only been four years since the Hewlett Foundation, like many others, made a specific and deliberate commitment to address systemic racism and advance racial justice and equity. Since then, the political landscape has shifted drastically — and not always for the better. While many organizations are continuing to live into their commitment, a growing…

Investing in informed and engaged communities

Each year, the Hewlett Foundation awards millions of dollars in grants to problem solvers and creative thinkers tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges. But whether it’s mitigating catastrophic climate change, or reducing pervasive inequities, or safeguarding democracy, making progress requires that the public is both informed and engaged about the problems facing society…

Industrial policy and the new paradigm

This piece was originally featured in The New Common Sense newsletter from our Economy and Society Initiative. Read more from this edition. Industrial policy ­— the “policy that shall not be named” — is back with a vengeance in some parts of the world, including the United States. To their credit, many regions never left it behind, never fully succumbed to…

Democracy in a divided House

Kevin McCarthy’s 15-ballot journey to the U.S. House speakership in January of 2023 was, to some, a testament to political coalition building. This subset of political punditry believed the many concessions McCarthy made to far-right lawmakers was the way one needed to manage today’s political factions. Others, in fact, thought the far left should play…

Why is Bidenomics working?

This piece was originally featured in The New Common Sense newsletter from our Economy and Society Initiative. Read more from this edition. In early June, Jason Furman, one of the most decorated economists on the Democratic Party wonk roster, appeared on CNBC to call for mass layoffs. Inflation, he argued, remained stubbornly high, and only a hefty dose of…

Seizing a historic opportunity to strengthen our economy, democracy, and climate

A little over a year ago, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was passed and signed into law, committing over $500 billion to strengthen communities while transforming our energy systems. In combination with two bipartisan laws, the Infrastructure and Investment in Jobs Act and the CHIPS and Science Act, the IRA creates an unprecedented opportunity to…

Verify 2023: Navigating AI and cybersecurity challenges

With the meteoric rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI systems kicking off an urgent conversation about its implications for workers, national security, and our whole society; increased bipartisan scrutiny of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram in the U.S.; and the ongoing war in Ukraine continuing to prompt questions about the role…

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