Vibrant Democracy Initiative

Strengthening the voice and participation of underrepresented communities.

Community organizers in light blue shirts talking outside


Creating a more equitable future in Greater Seattle.

Seattle Foundation's Vibrant Democracy Initiative strengthens the voice and participation of underrepresented communities as a path to more equitable systems change.

Our ability to create a more equitable future in Greater Seattle requires skilled and informed community partners. Without these leaders and movements, representative and truly democratic processes are not possible.

To strengthen these efforts, Vibrant Democracy concentrates its investments in the following areas:

Voter Education Fund

In order to increase the civic participation of limited-English speaking and other underrepresented populations, Seattle Foundation has invested in efforts in partnership with King County Elections to increase democratic engagement.

Our first effort worked with the King County Elections team to support voter education and culturally-relevant technical assistance within limited-English speaking communities. We worked with 22 community-based organizations whose expertise and deep community ties increased the participation of under-represented communities in the broader democratic process.

To further expand this work, we partnered with King County Elections again to create the Voter Education Fund, a government, philanthropic and community partnership to remove barriers to voting in diverse communities. This partnership invested $950,000 in community-based organizations to provide non-partisan voter outreach and civic engagement activities for the 2019 and 2020 election cycles. Applicants can apply for up to $40,000 to develop and implement a strategic ongoing campaign to engage voters or potentials voters, or up to $15,000 to provide a series of targeted events.

Visit the Voter Education Fund section on our current grant opportunities page for the most up-to-date information on applying. The latest Voter Education Fund updates are on our blog, including recent grantees and new rounds of funding announcements.

To learn more about our Vibrant Democracy Initiative, contact Vanesa Gutierrez, Program Officer (v.gutierrez@seattlefoundation.org).

Engagement Pipeline

Engagement Pipeline, in contrast with traditional leadership programs, invests in individual leadership development coupled with broader organizing strategies. The aim is to strengthen the voice of communities through leaders who participate in broader community change and mobilization efforts.

The first of these multi-year grants, ranging from $75,000 to $125,000 per-year, were awarded to grantees representing a variety of communities. As part of a cohort, each engaged in peer learning and technical assistance designed in partnership with grantees to strengthen their ability to have meaningful influence over systems and policies.

Engagement Pipeline is currently paused as we reflect on the evolving landscape for our nonprofit partners. The pandemic and recent years have shifted the way organizations do their work and we are considering the ways our grantmaking can be responsive and meet current conditions. We will update our nonprofit partners on how Engagement Pipeline will shift in the future.

Partnership Mobilization

Partnership mobilization grants were flexibly designed to foster new and unique partnerships that strengthen community influence and collective engagement.

Addressing the organizational and financial barriers that can prevent underrepresented communities from coming together effectively, we created one-time grants of up to $30,000 to fund partnerships that increase the civic voice and participation of underrepresented communities.

Partnership Mobilization is currently paused as we reflect on the evolving landscape for our nonprofit partners. The pandemic and recent years have shifted the way organizations do their work and we are considering the ways our grantmaking can be responsive and meet current conditions. We will update our nonprofit partners on how Engagement Pipeline will shift in the future.

Impact

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