Seattle Foundation Blog

2018 Voter Education Fund Grantees

Seattle Foundation and King County Elections invest more than $460,000 in 33 organizations to increase civic engagement and participation


May 06, 2018

The Voter Education Fund is investing in 33 community-based organizations to increase voter education and outreach. 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.

These organizations are receiving more than $460,000 in grants to serve 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

 

Learn more about the Voter Education Fund, part of the Vibrant Democracy Initiative of our Center for Community Partnerships

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