Monday, December 26, 2011


From their About Us page:

A multi-issue national organization, Demos combines research, policy development and advocacy to influence public debate and catalyze change. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York City, Demos works with advocates and policymakers around the country in pursuit of three overarching goals:

  • A more equitable economy with opportunity for all;
  • A robust democracy in which all Americans are empowered to participate;
  • A strong public sector that can provide for our common interests and shared needs.

Through our core programs, a partnership with The American Prospect magazine, and additional special projects Demos combines insightful research with support for on-the-ground action to make equality and democracy more than just ideals. By publishing reports, books and articles, organizing events, and through television and radio appearances, we work to help the public and policymakers see in a new light the challenges we face as a country, and the underlying causes of those challenges. And in this new light, policies, laws and lives are changed, and we move closer to the America we all hope is possible…..

Demos accomplishes its work through five core programs and special projects:

The Economic Opportunity Program

At the heart of the American Dream is the belief that each generation can provide its children with a better life. Yet today’s young people have inherited an economy marred by inequality and barriers to opportunity that can’t be easily overcome by hard work and determination. The decline in economic opportunity is no accident. Public policy helped build the American middle class, and recent policy shifts have helped erode it. More and more Americans are working harder, but are unable to get by— much less get ahead.

Another way is possible. Working at the nexus of economic and social policy, Demos is advancing reform to strengthen the middle class and to create a path to economic prosperity for young Americans and future generations. We choose issues that focus the media and legislators on the struggles common to millions, and we show the public that solutions do exist. See our signature work on tomorrow’s middle class.

The Democracy Program

The democracy America deserves is still to come. Too many of us—particularly low-income, young people and other historically underrepresented groups—still face unnecessary hurdles to registering and voting. Vote suppression and voter intimidation endure, now only more sophisticated than before. The true promise of democracy envisions all citizens empowered to participate in public life and inform the policies that affect them. Enabling this deeper level of participation would fundamentally transform American politics and reshape economic opportunity.

For that very reason, Demos works to achieve a broad and ambitious election reform agenda while defending the hard-won voting rights that exist today. Our team brings to bear the expertise of litigators, advocates, scholars and leading strategists, working together in pursuit of America’s best democracy. And, as a national organization committed to supporting a democracy reform network, Dēmos is a resource for advocates across the country and worldwide.

Public Works: The Demos Center for the Public Sector

In this new century, all of the challenges we face and the opportunities we seek will require smart and supported government. But for the past 30 years, an anti-government, anti-tax movement has sowed great distrust and disengagement among the American people. The result has been decades of disinvestment and the dismantling of core public protections, reducing the capacity of state and federal government to meet our collective needs.

We need to reconnect Americans to the essential role that public systems and structures play in the well-being of our society and the health of our economy. Through Public Works: The Demos Center for the Public Sector, we are working to rebuild support for the public good.

The Fellows Program

Dēmos is committed to helping cultivate leaders that reflect American’s great diversity – in class, gender, age, race, education and ideology. We are helping develop and sustain more than 25 fellows from diverse backgrounds, who produce books, research and commentary to shape a more vibrant and informed public conversation about policy. Our Emerging Voices Initiative nurtures the careers of exciting young thought leaders, particularly those of color, to help address the profound lack of diversity among public commentators and to bring urgently needed new ideas into the debate.

The International Program

In an age of growing global interdependence, the United States must work with other countries to confront the most pressing challenges of our time – from climate change to poverty to terrorism. This engagement abroad should be guided by the same values that Americans embrace at home: inclusive democracy, shared prosperity and the belief in the dignity of all human beings.

Nowhere is American leadership more crucial than in reshaping the rules of global governance. At Demos, we believe in open trade and robust markets to spur new prosperity. But we also insist on stronger protections for workers and the environment, along with new steps to amplify democratic voices in world forums. Globalization should benefit everyone, not just a privileged few, and today’s economic growth cannot come at the cost of tomorrow’s ecological future.

Special Projects

Sustainable Progress

The profound environmental and social challenges of our time demand creative public policies, new values and habits of thought, and on-the-ground models of a new economy where the priority is to sustain human and natural communities. Most fundamentally, a sustainable, just, and democratic future requires rethinking American capitalism as it exists today as a system of political economy. If we are going to care for people and the planet, large-scale changes are needed in how Americans consume and live, how the United States structures economic activity and measures progress, and how we engage in the global economy. Demos’ Sustainable Progress Initiative facilitates creative new research, policy development, and strategic planning for advancing these sustainability goals.

Our Fiscal Security

Our Fiscal Security is a collaborative effort of Demos, the Economic Policy Institute, and The Century Foundation. Our institutions are dedicated to promoting an economic path that achieves fiscal responsibility without undermining our national strength. Today, the foundation of that strength—a secure and growing middle class—is being tested by falling incomes, lost wealth, high unemployment and record foreclosures. Yet instead of rebuilding the public structures that could fortify our economy, our elected leaders are facing misguided pressure to reduce the federal budget deficit.

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