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Voter Education Fund invests more than $460,000 in 33 organizations to increase civic engagement and participation

Summary

The Voter Education Fund is a government, philanthropic and community partnership led by King County Elections and Seattle Foundation to remove barriers to voting in underserved and underrepresented communities. Through this partnership, 33 organizations are receiving grants totaling more than $460,000 to increase voter engagement in underserved communities.

Story

The Voter Education Fund is investing in 33 community-based organizations to increase voter education and outreach. These organizations are serving communities of color, limited-English speaking communities, people with disabilities, low-income youth, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, people who have been convicted of a felony and other underserved communities.

Grantees reflect a wide variety of constituencies, with strong representation among organizations working to increase youth voting and civic participation, including Washington Bus, SOAR and the Institute for Community Learning. Washington State recently passed new legislation that allows 16 and 17-year-old residents to pre-register to vote in order to encourage participation, and will implement automatic voter registration that makes it easier to register. Both of those provisions go into effect in June 2019.

"With so much energy and momentum across the country and state by youth who want to engage in the political process, we are excited to see dynamic organizations working to increase the influence and voice of young people in our democracy," said Tony Mestres, President and CEO of Seattle Foundation.

This year 72 community-based organizations applied for two grant levels: one for up to $20,000 to develop a 2018 campaign to engage voters or potential voters, or a second to provide up to $10,000 for holding a series of smaller events. Of the 33 selected organizations, 22 are return grantees, reflecting a continuation of strong efforts and outreach.

"The Voter Education Fund is a critical and innovative way to help voters be civically connected,” said Julie Wise, Director of King County Elections. “It’s exciting that in only our third year we saw a record number of organizations applying. I think this speaks to the value of this program.”  

Following a pilot program in 2016, the Voter Education Fund successfully launched in 2017, awarding $435,000 to 30 community-based organizations throughout King County. Grantees created voter engagement campaigns and hosted multiple events, including voter registration drives, ballot parties and well-attended candidate forums.

This year’s fund will also emphasize voter outreach efforts to people who are experiencing homelessness as well as people who have been convicted of a felony. Grantees like Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and B.E.S.T. (Being Empowered Thru Supportive Transitions) will focus their efforts on educating those groups with the goal of removing confusion around voter eligibility.

The full list of 2018 grantees is:

  • APACEvotes
  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service
  • B.E.S.T.
  • Blackout WA
  • Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC)
  • Entre Hermanos
  • Eritrean Association of Greater Seattle
  • International Community Health Services
  • Ingersoll Gender Center
  • Institute for Community Learning
  • InterIm CDA
  • Korean American Coalition
  • Latino Community Fund
  • LGBTQ Allyship
  • Longhouse Media
  • Mother Africa
  • NAMI Eastside

  • Nsanga Corporation
  • OneAmerica
  • Open Doors for Multicultural Families
  • Real Change
  • ReWA
  • Sea Mar Community Health Centers
  • Seattle King County NAACP
  • SOAR
  • Somali Family Safety Task Force
  • Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness
  • Southwest Youth & Family Services
  • South Park Information and Resource Center
  • URBVOTE
  • Washington Bus
  • Washington Community Action Network
  • West Hill Community Association

About Seattle Foundation

Seattle Foundation ignites powerful, rewarding philanthropy to make Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all. Focused on creating equity and opportunity, our goal as a community foundation is to simplify giving and strengthen the impact of philanthropy for the more than 1,200 individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits we serve. We provide deep community insights, powerful civic leadership, effective philanthropic advising and judicious stewardship of assets in support of our mission. Learn more about Seattle Foundation here.

Quotes

The Voter Education Fund is a critical and innovative way to help voters be civically connected. It’s exciting that in only our third year we saw a record number of organizations applying. I think this speaks to the value of this program.

Julie Wise, Director of King County Elections

With so much energy and momentum across the country and state by youth who want to engage in the political process, we are excited to see dynamic organizations working to increase the influence and voice of young people in our democracy.

Tony Mestres, President and CEO of Seattle Foundation

Media contact

Lilia Cabello Drain
206-477-4111
lilia.cabellodrain@kingcounty.gov

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