Pamela Shifman




Liberal advocacy executive

President, Democracy Alliance

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Pamela Shifman is the president of the Democracy Alliance, a collective of influential left-progressive grantmakers that has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to left-of-center organizations and initiatives. Shifman assumed the position in 2021 following more than two decades in the left-of-center nonprofit industry, during which she worked for organizations such as the Open Society Institute, Equality Now, and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Immediately prior to joining the Democracy Alliance, Shifman spent twelve years at the NoVo Foundation, a grantmaking organization run by Peter Buffett, son of left-of-center businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffett. 1 Shifman is also the secretary of the board at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. 2

Early Career

Shifman received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the University of Michigan. One of her first jobs was working as a legal advisor to the women’s caucus of the African National Congress (ANC), the socialist-aligned governing political party in South Africa. 3

Shifman’s early career also included working as the program coordinator of a women’s program run by the Open Society Foundations. Formerly known as the Open Society Institute, the foundation is part of the network of grantmaking and advocacy organizations funded by Hungarian-born billionaire financier George Soros. Shifman also spent time working on a gender-based advocacy project run by the United Nations Children’s Fund. 4

NoVo Foundation

Shifman spent more than a decade at Peter Buffett‘s NoVo Foundation, starting out as the director of initiatives for girls and women and eventually becoming the organization’s executive director. 5 Founded in 2006, the foundation promotes the idea that the United States is “in the most unstable time since the Civil War” due to the fact that “historically marginalized and oppressed populations in this country” are allegedly “in ever more precarious positions.” The foundation also claims that the “collapse” of American society “is surely underway” and that left-progressive constituent communities will need to “undertake the complex work of reimagining and rebuilding the world.” 6

As head of the foundation, Shifman worked to insert left-progressive race and gender ideology into the foundation’s operations culture. She implemented a policy of considering race as a factor when filling leadership positions. 7

Democracy Alliance

Shifman joined the Democracy Alliance as its president in September 2021. 8 Founded in 2005, the Democracy Alliance is a network of donors who identify groups and initiatives to fund in order to strengthen left-of-center institutions in the United States. The Democracy Alliance claims that “nearly every democratic institution of our country … is under attack,” and the organization cites this as its justification to direct more than $100 million per year to its favored causes. Ultimately, the Democracy Alliance aims to entrench the power of what it calls “the New American Majority,” a left-of-center coalition made up primarily of young adults, women, racial minority groups, and people identifying as LGBT. 9


In May 2017, Shifman joined Rabbi Aryeh Cohen of Bend the Arc, Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street, Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party, and dozens of other self-identified Jewish organization leaders who signed a statement in support of radical-left activist Linda Sarsour. Sarsour was one of the organizers of the anti-Trump Women’s March, and has spoken out in support of Islamic fundamentalist ideology and the Black Lives Matter movement. 10


  1. “Meet the President.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed October 10, 2021.
  2. “Pamela Shifman.” National Committee For Responsive Philanthropy, October 8, 2021.
  3. “Meet the President.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed October 10, 2021.
  4. “Meet the President.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed October 10, 2021.
  5. “Meet the President.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed October 10, 2021.
  6. NoVo Foundation. Accessed October 10, 2021.
  7. “Meet the President.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed October 10, 2021.
  8. “Meet the President.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed October 10, 2021.
  9. “About the DA.” Democracy Alliance. Accessed October 10, 2021.
  10. “Jewish Leaders Statement Against Attacks on Linda Sarsour.” Medium. May 31, 2017. Accessed October 10, 2021.
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