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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 6, 2001
7:20 PM
CONTACT:  Demos
David Callahan of Demos, 212-633-1405 x205
e-mail: dcallahan@demos-usa.org
Miles Rapoport Named President of Demos, New Public Policy Network
 
WASHINGTON - March 6 - Miles Rapoport, former Connecticut Secretary of the State and a leading authority on democracy reform issues, has been selected as the President of Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action. Rapoport assumed leadership of Demos on Feb. 15.

Demos is a non-partisan organization based in New York City. Founded in 1999, it seeks to strengthen U.S. democracy and broaden economic opportunity. It represents a national effort to develop bold new ideas for social change, as well as stronger alliances among civic and economic reformers. Demos' start-up has been made possible by nearly $4 million in funding by major foundations, including the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Carnegie Corporation.

Currently, Demos is playing a major role in democracy reform efforts following the 2000 election and is conducting a comprehensive study of the health of democracy in the 50 states. The study, to be released next spring, will be the most comprehensive examination of U.S. democratic institutions and processes undertaken since the 2000 election.

Rapoport served for ten years in the Connecticut legislature before being elected Secretary of the State in 1994. As a state legislator, he was a leading expert on electoral reform, chairing the Committee on Elections. As Secretary of the State, Rapoport released two unique reports on the state of democracy in Connecticut. His articles have appeared in national magazines and newspapers, and he is the founder of Northeast Action, a leading political reform organization in New England. Rapoport is moving to Demos from his position as Executive Director of DemocracyWorks, a Hartford-based democracy reform organization he founded in 1999.

Demos' founding President, Stephen Heintz, was recently named President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Heintz said he was delighted at Rapoport's selection. "Miles Rapoport was the ideal selection for the Presidency of Demos. He has demonstrated a broad vision and a deep commitment to expanding democratic participation and achieving social and economic justice through 25 years of advocacy and public service. He has become a national leader in the crucial and expanding movement to improve the way our democracy is conducted. Demos can play a pivotal role in the development of this movement, and Miles' experience and commitment can help Demos fulfill its promise."

Charles Halpern, who chairs the Board of Demos and played a lead role in its founding, added: "Miles Rapoport is well known and highly regarded in public policy circles, in the advocacy community, and in the philanthropic community. Demos is at an exciting point in its development, moving from a successful start-up to a major national institution, contributing fresh ideas and new energy on important issues. Miles' experience in founding and leading successful non-profit organizations, and his record of seeing new issues and advancing them in the public debate, will be a great asset to Demos in the years ahead."

Rapoport said: "I am honored and challenged to assume the leadership of Demos. In the months since the election of 2000, the need for a national center that can focus and strengthen efforts to enhance our democracy has become urgent. It is also critical to link those issues to the larger problems of economic fairness and quality of life in America with new ideas and energetic networking and action. The opportunity to work on these issues at the national level is tremendously exciting. Demos has done important work already in a short time, and has built a solid platform for a future national leadership role. I intend to advance these efforts as its President."

Members of Demos' Board of Trustees include: former U.S. Congressmen David Skaggs and Tom Campbell, Linda Tarr-Whelan, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Vanessa Kirsch, a leading social entrepreneur, and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

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