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Hewlett Bets $50-Million to Make Congress Work More Effectively

Chronicle of Philanthropy

In pledging $50-million to strengthen America’s "flailing democracy," the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has stirred criticism among liberal groups that in doing so it has jettisoned some of its core values.

In its three-year "Madison Initiative," named after James Madison, an American founder who warned against the "mischiefs of faction," the foundation says it will support groups looking to make adjustments to the legislative process so Congress can perform its basic tasks like passing annual spending bills, says Daniel Stid, who will lead the effort for Hewlett.

Mr. Stid says he expects grantees to include "bona fide conservative organizations and bona fide liberal organizations," as well as nonpartisan "good government" groups.