Funding Redistricting in California: An Analysis of Philanthropy California’s Fair Representation Fund

Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties and our Philanthropy California colleagues are delighted to share with you the following report detailing the efforts and impacts of Philanthropy California’s Fair Representation Fund. This pooled fund harnessed $2.5 million in direct philanthropic donations and guided additional resources. Ultimately, these investments helped to ensure that the 2020 state and local redistricting processes would reflect the perspectives of California communities that are too often left out of decision-making.

As detailed in the report, the Fair Representation Fund – and the thoughtful, diligent organizing it supported – merited numerous changes to legislative district lines. Grantees’ impressive work collectively yielded many new opportunities for under-represented communities to elect candidates of their choice and engaged thousands of Californians in meaningful civic engagement.

Altogether, it was clear that investing in redistricting provided funders with a strategic, efficient, and meaningful pathway to build power in under-resourced communities and strengthen our democracy.

Established in 2019, the Fair Representation Fund was the first pooled fund sponsored by Philanthropy California. It will not be the last. We are excited to build upon what we learned in this inaugural endeavor and our members’ enthusiasm for advancing equity and a strong democracy. We welcome the opportunity to host additional pooled funds. We also hope the insights detailed in this report will inspire and help more funders engage effectively in future redistricting cycles.

Preparing for the next redistricting cycle will commence sooner than we might think. In fact, some of this report’s interviewees suggest we start planning as early as 2026. Another consistent recommendation we heard from grantees, funders, and redistricting commissioners alike was to link future redistricting funding with Census planning — a priority Philanthropy California is eager to explore. We welcome you to join us in that exploration.

If we may be of any service to you or to discuss the report’s findings further, please do not hesitate to reach out to Karla at [email protected]

Access the report here.