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Southern Poverty Law Center Announces Initial Grants in $30M Vote Your Voice Initiative – Four Georgia Organizations Included

Community Foundation has opened grant applications for next round of funding

By Clare S. Richie, public policy specialist, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

In June, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced Vote Your Voice, a partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to invest up to $30 million through 2022 from the SPLC’s endowment to engage voters and increase voter registration, education, and participation; support Black- and brown-led organizations often ignored by traditional funders; support and prototype effective voter engagement strategies; and re-enfranchise returning citizens despite intentional bureaucratic challenges. SPLC recently announced a total of nearly $5.5 million in a first round of grants to 12 voter outreach organizations across the Deep South, four of those organizations are in Georgia.

The 12 organizations have proven track records empowering voters of color and presented innovative proposals to boost voter registration, education and mobilization in Vote Your Voice’s five targeted states — Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. The grants will help the organizations continue their efforts to turn out low-propensity voters amid voter suppression schemes and other barriers, including the pandemic, in advance of upcoming elections. 

Organizations working to boost voter engagement in Georgia are:

Black Voters Matter increases civic engagement and power building in predominantly Black communities. The organization works in nine southern states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. In 2019, it expanded into two northern states — Michigan and Pennsylvania. Through the $500,000 grant the organization will register, educate and mobilize Black voters in 17 Alabama counties and 24 Georgia counties through mini grants to grassroots groups and conduct outreach via texting and other digital and social media strategies.

The Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda’s mission is to improve the quality of governance through a more informed and active electorate who will hold elected officials accountable. The organization operates seven offices – metro Atlanta, Athens-Clarke County, Bibb County, Chatham County, Dougherty County, Richmond County and Troup County – and conducts civic engagement activities, registers thousands of voters, holds educational forums and mobilizes volunteers to participate through phone banks, texting and providing rides to the polls, focusing primarily on African American women and men in 57 counties across the state. Through the $75,000 grant, the organization will continue their work focusing on people of color, young people, single women and low-income Georgians. Their tactics include phone banking, texting and relational organizing.

The New Georgia Project (NGP) is focused on voter registration, engagement and power building for the large and growing population of African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans in Georgia. NGP is part of a movement – not a moment – to meet the changing demographics of Georgia, to harness the unheard voices of the New American Majority and to position Georgia for leadership in the South and across the country, identify local policy priorities, demystify the political process, and move their families and neighbors to action. Through the $750,000 grant, the organization will engage in voter registration, education and mobilization among low-propensity communities of color, women of color and young people. Additionally, it will counter online voter suppression with videos, songs, social listening and tech tools.

ProGeorgia is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities. The organization supports and coordinates the civic engagement programs of its diverse partners. ProGeorgia develops the infrastructure, executes the joint strategies, and employs new tools and technology to assure a government that is more responsive to the needs of its constituencies. Through the $750,000 grant, the organization will continue its work to register, educate, mobilize and protect voters in low-propensity communities of color as well as women of color and young people, focusing on 33 counties for voter engagement and 70 counties for election protection. 

SPLC and Community Foundation have started to accept applications for grants in a second round of distribution across the target states. The initiative is seeking a broad cross-section of nonprofit organizations with deep roots within communities prioritized; experience in nonpartisan voter registration, education and mobilization; and a commitment to working with the initiative’s data partner to track progress and impact.

Together with the first cohort, organizations participating in the Vote Your Voice initiative will use grants to amplify their ongoing work to engage millions of voters across the South this election cycle to exercise their basic right to vote and ensure their voices are heard. 

Applications for the second round of grants are due by August 14, 2020. Organizations can apply here. Additional application information may be found here. Click here for more details including a full list of organizations that received first-round grants.


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