Issue One: Fix Democracy First logo

Stronger Together.

Fund for the Republic and Americans for Campaign Reform have joined forces to become Issue One. Together, the new organization will work to fix the biggest issue affecting democracy today—money in politics. In the last few decades, money has gained overwhelming influence over our political system, keeping us from addressing the most basic problems facing our country, whether it’s our national debt or the threat of climate change. For Americans of all political stripes who are ready to get back to the business of working together, it’s time to double down and take back our democracy. will be your gateway into the money-in-politics world. We will be your everyday resource for the work being done, the solutions and the opportunities to invest and engage around the country. Check back soon for our new robust website. For more information about Issue One, contact us at or 202-299-0265.

When money runs our political system, we all pay a personal price.

Money in politics blocks progress

Money in politics blocks progress mobile

The time is NOW.

Issue One is committed to creating a bipartisan force big enough to take back control of our democracy. 

Issue One Our Strategy


For decades, money has ruled our political system. Wealthy special interests use their power to influence elected officials and public policy to further their own agendas. Meanwhile, everyday people pay the price in higher prescription drug prices, rigged markets, lagging educational standards and paralyzing national debt.

Fortunately, this is a problem we can fix. There are strong policy solutions and growing support for reforming our broken system. Outside the beltway, the American public is united behind the idea of fixing our democracy. People are committed to reducing the influence of money in politics like never before—and we believe this energy can finally turn the tide in the fight to rebalance our democracy.

That’s why in 2014, two of the foremost groups in the money-in-politics reform sector, Americans for Campaign Reform and Fund for the Republic, joined forces to become Issue One. Americans for Campaign Reform spent the last decade building a powerful bipartisan community focused on campaign finance reform. Launched just two years ago, Fund for the Republic has helped create a bold vision for change while also investing our grantmaking dollars in both immediate fights and long-term strategies.

Issue One is dedicated to creating a force big enough to win the fight for substantive money-in-politics reform. Our role is two-pronged: we bring new resources, strategic vision and bipartisan leadership to the fight and we find and fill identified gaps . Specifically, we do this through:

  • Strategic leadership. Issue One will ensure a sustained and regularly-refreshed sector-wide strategy is in place to guide Issue One’s and others’ reform efforts.
  • Leader and donor organizing. Bringing together business executives, former elected officials, cultural opinion-shapers, top national nonprofit leaders and donors, Issue One will unite untapped voices, leadership, influence and financial resources to drive substantive money-in-politics reform.
  • Catalytic grantmaking. We’ll invest in the right programs and organizations to drive maximum impact for the entire reform community.

By building our ranks together, we can make a real difference. We hope you’ll join us in investing in our future.

Issue One Staff and Board

Our team is dedicated to fighting for real solutions to the problem of money in politics. From CEOs to former elected officials, from cultural opinion-shapers to nonprofit leaders, Issue One is creating a bipartisan force big enough to fix our democracy.


Whitney Hatch, Chair

Whitney currently serves as director of program initiatives at The John Merck Fund. Whitney worked from 1998 until 2011 at the Trust for Public Land, most recently for two years as director of Southern New England and director of corporate relations. During the prior 10 years Whitney served as regional director to the six-state New England region.

Before joining TPL, Whitney served for fifteen years at GTE Corporation in various capacities. For most of his GTE career he served as vice president of regulatory affairs. Governor Deval Patrick has reappointed Whitney to a second, seven-year term on the Stewardship Committee of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, which he chairs. He also serves on the Board of Overseers of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and on the Boards of The Trust for Public Land, the Conservation Law Foundation, the John Merck Fund and the Merck Family Fund. Whitney was a founding board member of the School for Field Studies, and has served as chairman of the American Rivers and Management Assistance Group Board.

Julie Kohler, Secretary

Julie is the executive vice president of the Democracy Alliance. She has over a decade of experience in philanthropy, with deep expertise in civic engagement, state infrastructure, policy and advocacy, and social innovation grant-making. Prior to joining the Alliance, Julie served as director of education and civic engagement at Public Interest Projects, where she managed four funding collaboratives designed to promote stronger participatory democracy and more equitable public schools. She also directed the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s National Venture Fund, which invested $13 million annually in civic engagement and social venture projects, and taught at the University of Maryland. Julie holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in family social science from the University of Minnesota.

J.B. Lyon, Treasurer

J.B. manages Mount Independence Investments, a family office primarily focused on investing growth capital in private businesses servicing the elderly population and several categories in real estate. J.B. helped to create and manage two private equity firms: ZBI Ventures, and Vision Media Investors, which focused investments in energy and media, respectively. Prior to this, he was vice president of business development for Staples, Inc. and vice president of operations for Staples Business Delivery unit. During his eight year tenure at Staples, J.B. led the launch of the site, for which he wrote the business plan, led the development of the site, and served in marketing and operations positions. Prior to joining Staples, J.B. co-founded and managed Uncle Dave’s Kitchen, a nationally distributed, all-natural pasta sauce and condiment packaged foods company. Earlier, he spearheaded the use of satellite technology in the 1988 presidential election. J.B. also served as assistant to the president of New World Entertainment, the production company that produced The Wonder Years.  During high school, J.B. led his first entrepreneurial venture when he created a company with his father that became the first licensee of Pac-Man paraphernalia. J.B. received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Tufts University.

J.B. lives in Lexington, MA with his wife Kimberly Syman and three children.

Bill Burgess

Bill Burgess has worked closely with emerging growth technology companies as an investor and adviser throughout his career.  Since 2004, he has been a Managing General Partner at ABS Ventures. Prior to venture capital, Bill advised technology companies for two decades in matters of corporate finance and M&A primarily at Alex. Brown & Sons and subsequently at Deutsche Bank where he held a number of management positions including Vice Chairman of Global Corporate Finance, Group Head of Global Technology Investment Banking, and Managing Partner of DB Venture Partners.  He holds a BA from Dartmouth College and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

Bill has deep experience on boards of public and private corporations as well as educational, cultural and environmental organizations. In addition to Issue One, he currently serves as Board President of St. Mark’s School, Trustee of Dartmouth College, The Geisel School of Medicine, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and The New England Aquarium (Immediate Past Chair)

Bill is married to Barbara Burgess and they have five children.

David Jeffrey

Now retired, David Jeffrey was for thirty years the chairman of David Jeffrey Associates, which provides quality training programs for a wide range of international financial institutions as well as in-depth financial analyses for corporations. He founded David Jeffrey Associates in 1979, after leaving Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, where he was a vice president.  David was a director of the investment firm, The Jeffrey Company, of Columbus, Ohio for seventeen years. He is emeritus trustee and former chair of the Board of Trustees of the non-profit educational organization, New Jersey SEEDS. David has been on the boards of trustees of various non-profit organizations, including Americans for Campaign Reform, the Dwight-Englewood School, the Bede School and the Englewood Community Foundation. He holds a B.A. from Williams College, an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Ruth Hennig

Ruth is the executive director of The John Merck Fund, which she joined as the foundation’s first staff member in 1988, the year that climate change began to get sustained media attention. In addition to management responsibilities, she functions as the director of the Environment Program. Prior to joining the foundation, Ruth was on the Conservation Law Foundation’s senior staff. Ruth chairs the board of SmartPower, which is attempting to build markets for clean energy across the country, and was a founding advisory committee member of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. She was instrumental in creating both organizations.

Arnold Hiatt

Arnold is chairman of The A.M. Fund. Previously, he was chairman and CEO of The Stride Rite Corporation. Arnold has served on the boards of the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, Harvard University, Northeastern University, The John Merck Fund and the Dreyfus Corporation.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been a member of the Board of Regents for Higher Education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He co-founded and served as chairman of Business for Social Responsibility, a global advocate for good environmental practices, family friendly workplaces, transparency and international codes of conduct that set standards for labor practices in developing countries. Arnold holds a B.A. degree in history and literature from Harvard University.

Mike Peabody

Mike is the president of Peabody Corporation, a Washington, D.C. real estate development corporation he established in 1975. In 1995, Mike established Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS) that serves as the principal advocate for the public charter school movement in the District of Columbia. FOCUS helped pass the D.C. Educational Reform Act in 1996, which set up the D.C. Public Charter School program. He was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1969-1973) where he pioneered the development of the Housing Allowance Program. He served from 1962-1968 as the Secretary of the Mayor’s Committee of Minority Housing for the Boston Renewal Authority and as the civil rights advisor to the Governor of Massachusetts. During that time he ran for Congress as a Republican, losing in a close race. Mike graduated from Harvard College in 1950 and from Harvard Business School in 1952.

Elisabeth Reynolds

Dr. Elisabeth Reynolds is executive director of the Industrial Performance Center (IPC) at MIT and works on issues related to systems of innovation, regional economic development and industrial competitiveness. She has focused in particular on the theory and practice of cluster development and regional innovation systems and advises several organizations in this area. Her current research focuses on the pathways that U.S. entrepreneurial firms take to grow to scale, as well as advanced manufacturing.

Before coming to MIT for her Ph.D. in urban studies and planning, Elisabeth was director of the City Advisory Practice at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, an organization founded by Professor Michael Porter to create job and business growth in urban areas. She is a member of the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative.

Vin Ryan

Vincent is the president, chief executive officer and chairman of Schooner Capital LLC. He co-founded the firm in 1971. Prior to November 1995, Mr. Ryan served as the chairman of Iron Mountain Incorporated’s board. He is also a founder at National Hydro and Arch Mobile Communications. Mr. Ryan has been one of Iron Mountain Incorporated’s directors since before 1990. He is a former director of Continental Cablevision, where Mr. Ryan invested and served on the board.

Ian Simmons

Ian initiates projects that improve democracy and is an impact investor. Ian is president of Foundation for Civic Leadership, a nonprofit that incubates public service projects. Ian was the silent partner in co-founding and seed-funding ActBlue, which makes it easier for citizens to create political change. Together with his wife, Liesel, he founded the Blue Haven Initiative to accelerate the social impact of their investing. Ian graduated with honors from Harvard College in 2000.

Advisory Board


Bill Bradley

U.S. Senator (D-NJ; 1979-1997); Managing Director, Allen & Company LLC; Olympian; NBA Hall of Famer; Best-Selling Author

Bob Kerrey

U.S. Senator (D-NE; 1989-2001); Governor, Nebraska (1983-1987); President, The New School (2001-2010); Managing Director, Allen & Company LLC

Alan Simpson

U.S. Senator (R-WY: 1979-1997); Senate Whip (1985-1995); Chairperson, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (2010)


Bruce Babbitt

Secretary of the Interior (1993-2001); Governor, Arizona (1978-1987); President, Raintree Ventures

Nancy Kassebaum Baker

U.S. Senator (R-KS; 1978-1997); Advisory Board Member, Partnership for a Secure America

Max Bazerman

Co-Director, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School; Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; Renowned author

Julie Belaga

Chief Operating Officer, Export-Import Bank (1994-1999); State Representative, Connecticut House (1977-1987)

John Bonifaz

Co-founder, Free Speech for People; Founder, National Voting Rights Institute; 1999 MacArthur Fellow

Bill Brock

U.S. Senator (R-TN; 1971-1977), U.S. Congressman (R-TN; 1963-1971); U.S. Secretary of Labor (1985-1987); U.S. Trade Representative (1981-1985); Chair, Republican National Committee (1977-1981)

Frank Carlucci

Chair Emeritus, The Carlyle Group; U.S. Secretary of Defense (1987-1989); National Security Advisor (1986-1987); U.S. Ambassador to Portugal (1974-1978)

Hodding Carter, III

University Professor of Leadership & Public Policy, University of North Carolina; President & CEO, Knight Foundation (1998-2005)

Michael Castle

U.S. Congressman (R-DE; 1993-2011); Governor, Delaware (1985-1992); Partner, DLA Piper

Donald Clifford, Jr

Chairman, The Wild Center; Honorary Trustee, American Museum of Natural History; Partner, McKinsey & Co. (-1984)

Wesley Clark

U.S. Army General (Ret.); NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1997-2000); CEO, Wesley K. Clark & Associates

William Cohen

U.S. Senator (R-ME; 1979-1997); U.S. Congressman (R-ME; 1973-1979); U.S. Secretary of Defense (1997-2001); Chairman and CEO, The Cohen Group

John Degnan

Chairman, New Jersey Port Authority; Former Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, The Chubb Corporation (1990-2010); Attorney General, New Jersey (1978-1981)

William Donaldson

Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (2003-2005); Founding Dean, Yale School of Management; Former Chairman and CEO, New York Stock Exchange; Founder, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette

T.J. Dermot Dunphy

Chair, Kildare Enterprises, LLC; former CEO, Sealed Air Corporation

Peter Edelman

Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy, Georgetown University

Lewis Feldstein

Co-chair, The Saguaro Seminar, Harvard Kennedy School; President, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (1986-2010)

Harold Ford, Jr.

U.S. Congressman (D-TN; 1997-2007); Managing Director, Morgan Stanley

Douglas I. Foy

Founder and CEO, Serrafix; Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth Development (1997-2002); President (1977-2002) and Trustee, Conservation Law Foundation

Charles Fried

Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; U.S. Solicitor General (1985-1989)

Dan Glickman

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (1995-2001); U.S. Congressman (D-KS; 1977-1995); Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; Vice President and Executive Director, Congressional Program, The Aspen Institute

Anthony Grassi

Chair, The Nature Conservancy (1995-2006); retired Managing Director, CS First Boston

Wade Henderson

President, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; recipient of the Congressional Black Caucus Chair’s Award and the District of Columbia Bar’s William J. Brennan Award

Jack Herney

Consultant, R&D International Educational Consultants; Retired Dean of Faculty, Phillips Exeter Academy

Carla Hills

U.S. Trade Representative (1989-1993); U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1975-1977); Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Chairman and CEO, Hills & Company

Gary Hirshberg

Co-Founder and Chairman, Stonyfield Farm

Phil Hoff

Governor, Vermont (1963-1969); Founder, Hoff Curtis Attorneys at Law

Jeffrey Hollender

CEO and Founder, Hollender Sustainable Brands; Co-Founder, Seventh Generation Inc.; Co-Founder, American Sustainable Business Council

Amory Houghton

U.S. Congressman R-NY; (1987-2005); former CEO and Chairman, Corning Glass

Bill Hudnut, III

Mayor, Indianapolis, IN (1976-1992); U.S. Congressman (R-IN; 1973-1975); Mayor, Chevy Chase, MD (2010-2012); Senior Fellow Emeritus, The Urban Land Institute

Ed Kangas

Non-Executive Chairman, Tenet Healthcare; Global Chairman & CEO, Deloitte & Touche (1989-1994)

Stephen Kay

Senior Director, Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Chair (2001-2007) and Trustee, Brandeis University

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author

Madeleine Kunin

Governor, Vermont (1985-1991); Distinguished Visiting Professor of Political Science, University of Vermont; U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland (1996-1999)

Alonzo McDonald

Chairman and CEO, Avenir Group; Former CEO, McKinsey & Company; Founder and Chairman, McDonald Agape Foundation

Mark McKinnon

Co-Founder, No Labels; Strategic Advisor to George W. Bush, John McCain, Ann Richards, Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong and Bono; Senior Advisor, Hill + Knowlton

Walter Mondale

Vice President of the United States (1977-1981); U.S. Senator (D-MN; 1964-1976); Attorney General, Minnesota (1960-1964); U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1993-1996)

Steven Olikara

Co-founder and President, Millennial Action Project; Washington, D.C.’s 2014 “Millennial of the Year”

Trevor Potter

Commissioner (1991-1995) and Chairman (1994), Federal Election Commission; Founding President and General Counsel, Campaign Legal Center; Member, Caplin & Drysdale

Arthur Rock

Venture Capitalist; Founder, Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, Harvard University; Founder, Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University

Dan Rose

Chairman, Rose Associates

George Rupp

President, Columbia University (1993-2002); President, International Rescue Committee (2002-2013); President, Rice University (1985-1993)

Kevin P. Ryan

Chairman and CEO, AlleyCorp.; Founder and Chairman, Gilt Group; Chairman, The Business Insider; former CEO, DoubleClick

Ron Shaich

Founder, Chairman and CEO, Panera Bread; Co-Founder, Au Bon Pain Company

Alan Solomont

Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University; U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra (2009-2013)

James Gustave Speth

Professor, Vermont Law School; Founder and Trustee Emeritus, World Resources Institute

Paul Volcker

Chairman, Volcker Alliance; Chairman, President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (2009-2011); Chairman, Federal Reserve (1979-1987)

David M. Walker

U.S. Comptroller General (1998-2008); President and CEO, Peter G. Peterson Foundation (2008-2010); Founder, Comeback America Initiative

Christine Todd Whitman

Governor, New Jersey (1994-2001); Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (2001-2003); President, Whitman Strategy Group

Roger Wilkins

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist; Civil Rights Leader; Retired Professor of History, George Mason University

Tim Wirth

U.S. Senator (D-CO; 1987-1993); U.S. Congressman (D-CO; 1975-1987)

Contact Issue One

Join us in the fight to fix our democracy.

Issue One is working to build a force big and powerful enough to win substantive money-in-politics reform. Join now to receive email updates and learn about opportunities to get involved.


For general inquiries, please contact us at or (202) 299-0265.

For media inquiries, please contact Deidre Swesnik at or (202) 299-0265.

You can also reach us by mail at:

Issue One
11 Dupont Circle, Suite 350
Washington DC 20036
(202) 299-0265