“Philanthropy needs to be proactive in strengthening democracy, movement building and families,” said Luz Vega-Marquis, president and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation. “Democracy only works if the voices of all families are genuinely heard.”
SEATTLE – Marguerite Casey Foundation, a national philanthropy nurturing a family-led movement for a more just and equitable society, is investing nearly $5 million in nonprofit organizations nationwide to strengthen democracy through Integrated Voter Engagement grants – months before any ballot is cast.
This nonpartisan effort connects daily community organizing work for equity with Election 2020, Census 2020 outreach and public policies that will affect the coming years. Overall goals include boosting year-round civic participation as well as increasing voting among low-income families of all backgrounds, in urban, suburban and rural areas.
“Since December, Marguerite Casey Foundation has issued voter engagement grants so that family-led nonprofit organizations have time to build upon community trust, plan educational outreach and encourage participation in the election, the census and public life,” said Luz Vega-Marquis, president and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation.
“These nonpartisan grants for equity and their timing are crucial because America has changed dramatically over the years, and philanthropy needs to be proactive in supporting democracy, movement building and families.”
The National Domestic Workers Alliance, for example, plans to register tens of thousands of voters, particularly women of color, in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) will engage with Arab American and Muslim American residents, among other groups. The New Georgia Project wants to make an app so voters can access a sample ballot and learn about candidates. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta plans on contacting every single Asian American Pacific Islander voter in Georgia. The ACLU of Texas will work with local artists on a Voteria visual project in the El Paso area to increase election and census participation, in addition to collaborating with Rio Grande Valley families. California Calls is focusing on equity, building community power and its Million Voters Project. The voter engagement project involves 93 people of color-led organizations in the state, marking one of the largest mobilization efforts of its kind.
For this funding round, the Foundation issued $4,835,000 in Integrated Voter Engagement grants, an increase of more than 20 percent compared to the same effort in 2017. The Foundation is also investing in nearly 50 nonprofit organizations, marking a 37-percent increase from 2017. Since 2002, the Foundation has issued more than $15 million in Integrated Voter Engagement grants.
“When philanthropies issue voter engagement grants early in an election cycle, we increase the likelihood of success for families, bottom-up solutions and democratic participation,” Vega-Marquis said.
“Democracy only works if the voices of all families are genuinely heard in regular community discussions and at the ballot box. I’m pleased general support grants lead to greater democratic participation.”
Other Integrated Voter Engagement grant recipients include: National Urban Indian Family Coalition (Seattle, Washington), West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition (Charleston, West Virginia), Georgia STAND-UP (Atlanta, Georgia), Family Action Network (Miami, Florida), Arkansas Public Policy Panel (Little Rock, Arkansas), Arizona Center for Empowerment (Phoenix, Arizona), Somos Un Pueblo Unido (Santa Fe, New Mexico), the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California) and the San Diego LGBT Community Center (San Diego, California). A full list of grant recipients in 22 states, in addition to Washington, D.C., is here.
About Marguerite Casey Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation nurtures a movement of low-income families advocating on their own behalf for change. The Foundation supports families strengthening their voice and mobilizing their communities to achieve a more just and equitable society for all. Luz Vega-Marquis is president and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation.