Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust

Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust

Program Aims

Advancing participatory democracy and justice.  

The Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust Initiative supports efforts to re-imagine and re-invigorate democratic culture and practices. The initiative focuses on strengthening the fabric of democracy rather than its mechanisms. It does so by encouraging new research, seeding experimental approaches, and engendering new relationships and networks. 

DEPT pursues three goals through its grantmaking:

1) Developing healthy and robust media and information ecosystems that are fair, equitable, accessible, and responsive
2) Fostering community participation in policy development and effective collaboration between communities and governments
3) Strengthening confidence that democracies can ensure the well-being of all their citizens

Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust Program by the Numbers - 2023

Grants Made23
Grantees23
Median Grant$169.8K
Total Funding$3.9M

Recent Grants

Strategic Planning
Humanity in Action|Brooklyn, New York, United States
2023Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust$50,000 View Grant Details Icon - Link Out
Center for Restorative History
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution|Washington, District of Columbia, United States
2023Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust$225,000 View Grant Details Icon - Link Out
To support the Advancing Democracy Fellowship
Solutions Journalism Network|New York, New York, United States
2023Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust$250,000 View Grant Details Icon - Link Out
For Capital B's news operations
Capital B News, Inc.|New York, New York, United States
2023Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust$250,000 View Grant Details Icon - Link Out
To support AJP’s next cohort
American Journalism Project|Washington, District of Columbia, United States
2023Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust$300,000 View Grant Details Icon - Link Out
See All Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust Grants

Program Administrators

Vice President: Sean Buffington
Sean Buffington

Prior to joining the Luce Foundation in 2015, Sean served as President of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. During his tenure, the University developed and introduced an innovative interdisciplinary curriculum, launched a number of new degrees, and established a program for creative entrepreneurs. Before moving to Philadelphia, Sean was a senior administrator at Harvard University, initially overseeing inter-faculty initiatives in neuroscience, health policy and environmental studies on behalf of the Provost, and then managing Harvard's arts and culture activities as Associate Provost. Sean received the A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College, and an M.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan.

Program Assistant: Luke Selenow
Luke Selenow

Luke Selenow is a program assistant for the Office of the President at the Henry Luce Foundation.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Luke worked as a program assistant for the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) where he helped launch the Mercury Project, a research initiative focused on improving vaccine uptake and creating healthier information environments. Luke earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University. During his time at George Washington, Luke was a legislative intern for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s Office and a small business/economic development intern for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s Office.

Image: Neighborhood residents gather for a housing street fair organized by DESIS in Sao Paolo. Photo credit: Sean Buffington.
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Recent News and Announcements

See All Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust News
Jan. 6, 2023Foundation NewsIdeas & Reflections
Letter from the President: Building Resilient Networks
Democracy, Ethics, and Public TrustHigher Education
Dec. 26, 2022Grantee News
Musk’s Twitter Will Not Be the Town Square the World Needs
Democracy, Ethics, and Public Trust