Seattle Foundation Blog

Voter Education Fund Expands to Two-Year Grant Program

Applications for the 2019-2020 grant cycle accepted through April 1


March 11, 2019

By Jonathan Cunningham, Program Officer

Seattle Foundation and King County Elections are partnering for a fourth year to increase engagement and voter participation in under-served communities through the Voter Education Fund. The partners have committed $950,000 in grants over the next two years to organizations working to address low voter turnout within marginalized communities. Selected organizations will receive funding for two years to do voter outreach and activities for the 2019 and 2020 election cycles.

This grant cycle marks the most robust level of funding available in the history of the program. In consideration of the importance of election cycles in 2019 and 2020, we’ve decided to offer multi-year funding so organizations have the resources they need to continue this work through the end of next year. Organizations are now eligible to apply for a maximum of $40,000 over two years for campaign level funding or $15,000 over two years for capacity funding to produce a series of events.

We’re incredibly thankful for the work of the 2018 VEF grantees. Last year alone, 33 organizations used this funding to provide voter outreach at 966 events, directly contacted 84,909 people and registered 7,249 people to vote.

This was a part of the record year where voter turnout in King County reached more than 74 percent. It’s numbers like these that demonstrate how this funding opportunity really is making a difference.

Previously funded projects showcase a wide variety of efforts, including successful voter outreach campaigns within food banks and shelters to reach people experiencing homelessness, voter registration efforts at health clinics and local high schools, as well as interactive forums to host political candidates for questions and dialogue.

Priorities

The deadline to apply for the 2019-2020 cycle is April 1. The Voter Education Fund provides grants to organizations working to reduce inequities in voting access in under-served communities including communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, limited-English speaking (LES) communities and LGBTQ residents.

In particular, we are prioritizing organizations with a plan to engage first time voters, youth of color, people with disabilities, African Americans, Native Americans and historically marginalized residents in South King County.

We’re also encouraging applications from groups led and staffed by individuals reflecting the ethnic and cultural communities they serve and that have a demonstrated ability and plan to reach and engage members of those communities.

Complete information, including the application form, criteria and examples of previously funded work, can be found on our current grant opportunities page.

Information Sessions

We highly recommend that potential applicants attend one of two information sessions to learn more. The first is Wednesday, March 13, at 3 p.m. at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in Seattle, while the second is Monday, March 25, at noon at the Kent Regional Library. Please see this link for full details and to RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/20192020-voter-education-fund-information-sessions-registration-56537034793

For additional questions, please e-mail Jonathan Cunningham at j.cunningham@seattlefoundation.org or Giselle Zapata-Garca at Giselle.Zapata-Garcia@kingcounty.gov

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