Democracy Matters Institute




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $57,662
Expenses: $45,543
Assets: $84,179


Election Advocacy Organization


Adonal Foyle

Executive Director:

Joan Mandle

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The Democracy Matters Institute is a left-of-center voter project and election advocacy group based in Poughkeepsie, New York. The organization also has a lobbying arm that is called Democracy Matters which is mostly inactive and the Democracy Matters Institute operates as simply Democracy Matters.

The organization was founded in 2001 by now-retired NBA player Adonal Foyle and his adoptive parents Jay Mandle and Joan Mandle, who are both professors at Foyle’s alma mater, Colgate University. The main function of the organization is to form college campus-based chapters to promote get out the vote campaigns and support left-of-center election administration policies including taxpayer financing of election campaigns. 1 2


Democracy Matters was founded in 2001 by Adonal Foyle, then a professional basketball player for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, who immigrated from the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to play college basketball at Colgate University. Foyle founded Democracy Matters with the help of his parents Jay Mandle and Joan Mandle, both of whom were described “life-long organizers” and left-leaning academics who are professors at Colgate. 3

The group was founded to create campus chapters to promote voting on campus and to lobby on left-leaning election administration policies such as automatic voter registration and early voting. The group also provides materials to its student activists opposing private money in politics and opposing election integrity legislation supported by many state-level Republicans across the United States. 4


Democracy Matters chapters exist at dozens of college campuses and high schools across the United States. The group offers students a paid internship opportunity to become a campus organizer for the organization. Interns are expected to build and lead a Democracy Matters chapter on their campus and distribute materials from the organization while hosting a minimum of four campaigns or events per semester. Campus interns receive $500 per semester in compensation and attend the National Democracy Matters Student Summit. The national Democracy Matters organization also provides training materials to students on how to lead campus activism campaigns and provides internships for high schoolers to set up chapters at their school. 5 6

Policy Stances

Democracy Matters lobbies for a variety of left-leaning election administration and campaign finance policies. The organization also promotes the political stances and writings of co-founders Joan and Jay Mandle, both of whom have written articles supportive of systems that use taxpayer funds for candidates to run political campaigns. 7 8

Democracy Matters also supports left-leaning election administration policies and defines opposition to such policies as “voter suppression.” Policies supported by the organization include same-day, online, and automatic systems for voter registration; opposing the removal of outdated or deceased voter records from voter rolls; making election day a federal holiday; establishing independent redistricting commissions; securing voting rights for felons; and allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote. 9


  1. “About.” Democracy Matters. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  2. “Why We Need Reform.” Democracy Matters. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  3. Ostler, Scott. “Former Warrior Adonal Foyle takes aim at political system.” San Francisco Chronicle. March 22, 2018. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  4. “Why We Need Reform.” Democracy Matters. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  5. Paid College Interns.” Democracy Matters. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  6. “High School Leaders.” Democracy Matters. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  7. Mandle, Jay. “Financing Elections Democratically.” Democracy Matters. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  8. Mandle, Joan. “If Voters Owned Elections!” Democracy Matters. Accessed April 12, 2022.
  9. “Why We Need Reform.” Democracy Matters. Accessed April 12, 2022.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2002

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Aug Form 990 $57,662 $45,543 $84,179 $150,926 N $57,662 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2019 Aug Form 990 $41,087 $48,340 $107,705 $186,571 N $41,087 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2018 Aug Form 990 $50,640 $80,223 $59,100 $130,713 N $50,640 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2017 Aug Form 990 $133,758 $215,031 $90,437 $132,467 N $133,758 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2016 Aug Form 990 $274,096 $331,302 $203,328 $164,085 N $274,096 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Aug Form 990 $253,271 $356,580 $262,466 $166,017 N $252,929 $0 $342 $0 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $85,765 $231,493 $332,274 $132,516 N $85,075 $0 $690 $0 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $45,437 $202,709 $455,952 $110,466 N $43,580 $983 $874 $0 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $60,609 $199,097 $506,070 $3,312 N $57,911 $820 $1,878 $0 PDF
    2011 Aug Form 990 $67,677 $208,793 $693,215 $52,719 N $63,838 $1,108 $2,731 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Democracy Matters Institute

    POUGHKEEPSIE, NY 12601-3935