Institutional Accountability and Individual Liberty

Welcoming Julie Fernandes 

The Rockefeller Family Fund is pleased to announce that Julie Fernandes has joined the Fund as associate director for institutional accountability and individual liberty. At an increasingly troubling time for our democracy, Julie’s leadership comes at a critical moment. She has a compelling set of experiences that are well-suited to RFF’s brand of creative, advocacy-based philanthropy, having held key positions in government, including the White House and the Justice Department, the advocacy community, and in philanthropy. 


Most recently, Julie served as the Open Society Foundation’s director for Voting Rights & Democracy. Prior, she worked as a deputy assistant attorney general in the civil rights division in the Obama administration and as Special Assistant for Domestic Policy to President Clinton. She also served as the senior counsel and senior policy analyst at the Leadership Conference for Civil & Human Rights, one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations.


“I am thrilled to join the innovative and dynamic team at RFF at such a critical time in the fight to protect and strengthen our democracy,” said Ms. Fernandes.  “I look forward to working with my new colleagues to develop, support, and promote projects that bolster core democratic ideals and institutions, such as protecting the right to vote, ensuring the drawing of fair electoral maps, and supporting independent journalism and courts.”


Julie’s understanding of how to get the best out of all three sectors—government, advocacy, and philanthropy—whether working with them independently or collaboratively, makes her a great fit for RFF and we are excited to have her join the team. 

The Institutional Accountability and Individual Liberty program encourages the active participation of citizens in government, seeks to make government and private institutions more accountable and responsive, and supports efforts to ensure that individuals’ rights and liberties under the Constitution are protected. Past grants have included support for work to overcome roadblocks to registration and voting; efforts to expand access to government information; advocacy to promote electronic disclosure of campaign contributions; and a broad range of program initiatives aimed at holding government agencies and public officials accountable for their actions.


Voter Registration Modernization

Over the past decade, a number of states have taken a range of official actions designed, in practice, to limit voting of the poor, elderly, newly enfranchised immigrants, and people of color. The Voter Registration Modernization initiative was created to counter these efforts and is focused on expanding participation in the nation’s democracy by enacting legislation to provide automatic and permanent registration to all voters.  

Representative Grants


For its Justice Program.
For In the Public’s Interest’s Prison Bonds Project.
For the ReFund America Project to research Police Brutality Bonds.
For its Pre-booking Diversion Initiative.
To research and publicize the Economic Harms of Mass Incarceration.
For its Building a Better South campaign.