Organizational chart: Organizational chart of the Bertelsmann Stiftung

Representative democracy is under pressure to change. Voter turnout is declining, political parties are losing members, government representatives lament that their influence and effectiveness are increasingly limited, and the public has less and less confidence in the ability of policymakers to make decisions and solve problems. As in other countries, Germany needs a new culture of participation; its democratic system requires new methods of getting everyone involved. German democracy needs to be reinvigorated by including the public in decision-making processes in a way that is timely and continuous and that results in usable solutions. The Zukunft der Demokratie (Future of Democracy) program brings together all of the foundation’s projects that relate to political participation. Its purpose is to develop, test and implement new approaches to deliberative democracy that are as inclusive and effective as possible. Program activities focus on innovative and web-based methods for promoting civic participation at the community level and in large-scale infrastructure projects. In addition, the program addresses important challenges democracies face as a result of globalization, demographic shifts and digitalization. Focus areas include wide-scale participation and intergenerational justice in democratic decision-making processes, and support for government representatives and institutions in response to democracy’s globalization.