Civic Engagement and Government

Governments have the potential to remedy inequality, or reinforce it. If governments are to be part of the solution rather than the problem, they must serve the common good—which means that the people they serve must hold their leaders and institutions accountable, pushing them to be responsive and fulfill their promise. People can only do this if they organize together, have pathways for action, and are engaged in the decisions that affect their lives.

We invest in efforts to make governments more representative, so that everyone in a community is part of the political process, including young people, immigrants, and those who have been disenfranchised because of incarceration or poverty. We work to make sure that the rules for political participation are fair and inclusive. And we strive for an active and expanded electorate that reflects the full breadth of the country.

In all of this, we recognize that social justice movements need young leaders who can build on past efforts and bring fresh perspective to problems of all kinds. That’s why we support efforts to help young activists and emerging leaders channel their efforts into meaningful policy reform. We focus on helping young people address pressing issues of injustice and inequality in their own communities, in ways that set them up for a lifetime of leadership and civic engagement.

What we don’t fund

We know nonprofit staff’s time is valuable, so we discourage using it to submit proposals that don’t fall within funding guidelines. In this spirit, we aim to be transparent about what our grant making does not support.

Because our goal is systemic change in the rules and structures of democratic participation, we do not fund voter registration or get-out-the-vote efforts. We do not fund projects to improve government transparency for its own sake. And because our goal is to support strong and sustainable civic infrastructure, we do not fund individual issue-based policy campaigns. We also do not fund direct services, fellowships, or pilot programs disconnected from our core strategic focus.

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