Mary Holscher on “Democracy Vouchers”

Pictured at our February 2020 program leader gathering, from left: JJ McMinds, Helena Hennighausen, Larisa Benson, and Mary Holscher.

Dear Friends of Whidbey Institute,

In this time of confinement, one form of entertainment my husband Paul and I have recently enjoyed is deciding how we will give away the part of our $2400 stimulus check we don’t need. We understand that some of you reading this have had severe financial losses and will need every bit of whatever you receive. This letter is directed to those of you who will receive a stimulus check soon and have, like me and Paul, suffered only modest financial impact.

We suggest that you take, as we intend to do, what is needed to compensate for your direct pandemic-related loss and think of whatever amount remains as a kind of “democracy voucher.” This part is an unearned and unneeded gift from the government that you can have the pleasure of giving (to whatever extent you can afford) to our hard-hit and beloved non-profits, struggling artists, restaurant workers, people who are unhoused or having trouble paying their rent, or others who have lost their incomes. Paul and I will make a contribution to our beloved Whidbey Institute. We know it needs everyone who possibly can to contribute and help it get through this enormously challenging time. We will also make gifts to several young people who’ve lost their jobs and to support several Seattle-based non-profits directly benefitting marginalized artists and unsheltered people.

Taking action in a spirit of generous solidarity is, quite literally, our saving grace. Please include Whidbey Institute in your generosity!

May you be well!
Mary Holscher
April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

Social Justice


  1. Mary, your message inspires us and gladdens my heart. And look how cute we are in this photo?! Hurray for wise and wild elders and young at heart. Blessings and gratitude to you. – Larisa