Shades of Change - Everyday Democracy's blog

Announcing a Time of Transition

Martha McCoy
September 15, 2021

Dear Friend of Everyday Democracy,

I am reaching out to let you know that today I am announcing my plans to step down as Executive Director of Everyday Democracy and President of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation at the end of March 2022. After 25 years of service, I recognized that it is time to pass the baton to the next generation of executive leadership.

My years as executive director – 19 of which took place after Paul passed away – have been the honor of my lifetime. I have been inspired as I’ve worked with our amazing board and staff, and with so many people across the country who are committed to creating racially equitable democracy. I am grateful that my travels have allowed me to personally experience your leadership and impact. My heart is full because you continue to lift up and work toward a vision of what is possible in our country, even in the midst of daunting challenges. 

I am proud of what we have accomplished together over the past 25 years, especially of our impact at the intersection of participatory democracy and racial justice. Though there were many times that white civic leaders questioned our decision to place racial equity at the center of democracy-strengthening efforts, we persisted because we saw the impact of racism across our country. Over the past 18 months, it has become clearer to many more white leaders that racial justice and stronger democracy must go hand in hand. Because we have persisted in our racial equity journey, we have a committed, multi-racial, intergenerational board, staff, and network. And we have relevant lessons, tools, and training to offer in these difficult times. 

The decision to step down is bittersweet for me because this work and the people engaged in it are core to my being. As I was making my decision, I realized with great relief that just because I won’t be leading the work, I don’t have to leave it, and in fact I can’t! It is in me, and I will always find ways to support Everyday Democracy’s mission.

I am excited at the many ways Everyday Democracy is poised to build on all that we have accomplished to make an even greater difference during these pivotal times. We have been building our internal capacity so that we can expand and deepen the ways individuals and institutions can access our resources and training. To make this possible, we have begun to fundraise proactively, seeking resources to scale our work to meet growing demand. Our passionate, talented staff continues to grow, in number and in learning.

I look forward to working with the board as they identify a new director whose experience and expertise will help take Everyday Democracy to its next phase of leadership and impact. The board has retained the executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to conduct a national search that will begin at the end of this month. I invite you to read the organization’s official statement on the transition here.  Our Board Chair, Miles Rapoport, has asked that I remain active in my role throughout the search for my successor. Over the past few months, I’ve been working behind the scenes with the board and staff to prepare for today’s announcement. We have engaged in deep conversations to ensure that this transition will benefit our partnering organizations, as well as the many people and institutions who work in service of racially equitable democracy.  

Thank you for all the ways you support Everyday Democracy. I know that I count on you to continue to be advocates, donors, and agents of change once the new leadership is in place. I am especially grateful for all that you do to ensure that people of all backgrounds have opportunities to build connections with each other and then to take collective action for racially equitable communities.

In these times of polarization and undisguised racism, the need for Everyday Democracy is greater than ever. I will remain your ally in this essential work.   


With gratitude and warmest regards,


Martha L. McCoy

President, The Paul J. Aicher Foundation

Executive Director, Everyday Democracy

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