07/29/2021 in Announcements

This is what democracy looks like: presenting the annual report of The George Gund Foundation

“The solution to the problems of democracy is more democracy: More people engaged as active citizens with their communities and country. More avenues for that engagement. More accountability for lying, for inciting division and animosity. More respect for facts and truth. More people voting.”

In David Abbott’s final letter to the Cleveland community as the Foundation’s president, he challenges us all—including foundations—to be vigilant and active citizens in our continued pursuit of a just democracy for all people. That requires free and fair elections, which are under attack across the country.

The George Gund Foundation’s 2020 annual report portrays democracy in action, through the eye of Brian Palmer, a photographer and award-winning journalist based in Richmond, Virginia. He strives to tell stories that might not otherwise be told—stories of conflict, activism, and daily life. Here, in this collection, he portrays Clevelanders exercising their citizenship rights even with the nation in the grip of a pandemic.

Catherine Gund, chair of the Foundation, reminds us that philanthropy is “a debt that is owed to society,” and that the colossal—and widening—wealth gaps in Cleveland will persist unless we keep racial justice at the top of our agenda and distribute money through our grantmaking like we are paying our debt.