Through the Civic Fabric Fund, The Denver Foundation provides nonprofits with funding to support their policy and advocacy efforts, including the critical activities of voter registration and engagement. This fall, The Denver Foundation is funding eight nonprofits working on voter engagement efforts and encouraging people to register and vote.
The 2022 November election will allow voters to decide not only which elected officials will represent them, but voters will also decide critical state and local housing, education, and taxation policies. State and local lawmakers have made strides in ensuring the voting process is more equitable and secure.
However, it is necessary that we do more to engage growing populations of eligible voters, especially among historically underrepresented groups, including American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American or Pacific Islander, Black, Indigenous, and Latino/Latina communities, and those living in economically disadvantaged communities. When these communities are engaged in voting, they can support officials who are more likely to speak up for their interests and issues that are important to them.
The importance of this was described in a recent article by Colorado Newsline. “…Stark demographic inequalities have persisted in Colorado’s turnout rates, U.S. census data show. In 2020, turnout among eligible Colorado voters who aren’t white or who reported Hispanic origin was nearly 20 percentage points lower than the rate for white non-Hispanic voters — a gap significantly worse than the national average, and one that has remained stubbornly prevalent over the years… State-level data analyzed by Newsline showed that while 72% of white non-Hispanic Coloradans who were eligible to vote did so in 2020, among Coloradans who identified as Black, Hispanic, Asian-American or Indigenous, voter turnout was just 53.2%.”
The voter engagement grants from The Denver Foundation’s Civic Fabric Fund will support nonprofits’ efforts to register and mobilize new and low-turnout voters from historically underrepresented communities to vote this election year.
The Denver Foundation is proud to award a total of $115,000 to eight grantees dedicated to this effort. Each grantee shared their approach to this work:
- Colorado Common Cause’s Just Vote Colorado Election Protection program. “Just Vote! Colorado Election Protection is a non-partisan election protection program that assists voters with election activities, produces information about the voting process, and monitors the electoral process across the state. Our Just Vote! Colorado program will be needed more than ever to provide accurate, trusted information to voters and respond to any attempts by groups to interfere with our state’s free and fair elections.”
- Colorado Fiscal Insitute’s Count Me In Colorado program. “We believe it’s important that voters and community members engage as informed decision-makers on ballot measures. Count Me In is a statewide civic engagement effort that partners with organizations and communities to provide information and conversation about the decisions we make on the ballot and how those decisions shape our communities. Count Me In does not advocate one way or another on the issues, but rather provides information and resources about each ballot measure in an easy-to-understand and objective way.”
- Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition’s voter engagement efforts. “Through their issue-based canvassing, we will raise awareness about the impacts of the 2022 elections on people of color and immigrants, to connect with voters on the issues that matter to them. We want to drive home the belief that their vote matters, as well as educate voters on how redistricting has impacted the state.” This funding will support “BIPOC voters, particularly Latinx voters, to provide education about the new 8th Congressional district in northern Colorado.”
- Colorado Public Radio’s Spanish translation of CPR’s voter guide. “Our focus in 2022 will be not only on CPR’s existing audience but to reach into communities that have been historically underserved by CPR and others. We are looking for people who vote or who are on the fence about voting, and are committed to reaching a diverse group of communities. [This funding will support] Spanish translation of the Voter Guide, marketing dollars, and additional freelance hours to deepen our coverage of races the public told us matter most. The Guides compare where candidates stand on issues from climate change to gun laws to healthcare costs, the gubernatorial race, the U.S. Senate, and down the ballot to local races. Unlike many voter guides produced by news organizations, the CPR News guides are built around reporting the facts. We don’t just ask candidates to fill out a form on the issues – we vet the forms, we link to the reporting we have done and to the reporting others have done. This provides a check on every candidate and a deeper look at ballot initiatives.”
- Community Resource Center’s Participation Project. “Through our issue-based canvassing, CRC will raise awareness about the impacts of the 2022 elections on people of color and immigrants, to connect with voters on the issues that matter to them. We want to drive home the belief that their vote matters, as well as educate voters on how redistricting has impacted the state. In 2022 we will support at least 30 direct service nonprofits to offer nonpartisan voter engagement to their constituents. We will continue to prioritize nonprofits led-by BIPOC individuals and serving low-income communities and communities of color.”
- Latina Initiative’s Voter Engagement Project. This project has four goals: “1. Increase in Latina interest in the issues that confront their communities as measured by the click-through rates for our digital ads. 2. Collaborative efforts among Latino-led organizations to deepen the layer of digital strategies in content and reach. 3. Increased participation by Latinas in local community and statewide advocacy efforts. 4. Increase in the number and percentage of Colorado Latina voters.”
- New Era Colorado’s Voter Engagement Program. “Our voter engagement work is a key aspect of our broader mission to mobilize young people to participate in the political process and fight for the youth agenda… Our field work will prioritize issue engagement while ensuring each young person we speak with has an opportunity to ensure their voter registration is up to date. We’ll engage young people through a variety of methods: multi-issue engagement, voter registration, leadership development, and a full-scale turnout campaign. This allows us to build up a base of active and motivated voters who have greater engagement in local races and key issues.”
- Soul 2 Soul Sister Let My People Vote program. “Soul 2 Soul Sisters’ political programming supports Black Women, Femmes, and Trans folks to tap into their power, create change in their community, and collectively heal from electoral harm. They recognize the ways in which Black Women are intentionally kept out of the political process and lovingly build spaces and pathways for all Black people to explore their relationship with politics. Soul 2 Soul Sisters does this work through voter registration and education, including a yearly voter guide that highlights the ways in which the ballot impacts the Black community, supporting Black people to heal together and talk to their communities about politics through their ambassador program, and bridging the gap between Black communities and the legislature to ensure that Black Women’s experiences are centered in the policymaking process.”
Funding to support these organizations was made possible by The Denver Foundation’s fundholders and the executive committee of the board of trustees. We look forward to sharing more on the outcomes of these organizations’ efforts to Get-Out-The-Vote!