Funny or Die’s “Everyone Votes”

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Unity of Purpose Project
Amount: Up to $250,000 in 2016

What is Funny or Die’s “Everyone Votes”?

Funny or Die’s “Everyone Votes” project is a nonpartisan cultural campaign using humor and celebrity to engage young people in pledging, registering, and planning to vote.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

Democracy Fund Voice believes our politics are most robust when young people are engaged, and too often civic education fails to spur young voters to go to the ballot booth. Built on a popular and proven comedy website, “Everyone Votes” is well-positioned to reach and engage Millienials and eligible Gen Z voters who are often ignored by traditional politics.

How is Voice supporting the project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to the Unity of Purpose Project, the 501(c)4 arm of Funny or Die, in the amount of up to $250,000 to promote civic engagement in young adults through culturally relevant videos.

National Voter Registration Day

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: National Voter Registration Day
Amount: Up to $250,000 in 2016

What is National Voter Registration Day?

National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit effort to raise national awareness of voter registration deadlines in every election cycle. On September 27, 2016, NVRD will host hundreds of events in order to reach and register eligible Americans across the country.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

Democracy Fund Voice believes an engaged citizenry is central to a responsive republic, and our elections are at their strongest when more eligible voters punch their ballots. NVRD leverages an array of technology, partnerships, and culture to engage and register eligible Americans.

How is Voice supporting the project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to National Voter Registration Day, administered by the Bus Federation Education Fund, in the amount of up to $250,000 for voter outreach and registration in 2016.

TurboVote Challenge

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Democracy Works
Amount: Up to $60,000 in 2016

What is the TurboVote Challenge?

The TurboVote Challenge is a project of Democracy Works, a 501(c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit voter technology organization. The TurboVote Challenge brings leading corporations and organizations together in a long-term commitment to increase U.S. voter turnout to 80 percent over the next decade.

Why do we think the TurboVote Challenge is a good idea?

Democracy Fund Voice believes technology and innovation offer new opportunities to increase engagement in our political systems. We also believe individuals, nonprofits, and business can be powerful partners in increasing participation. Through partnerships with major corporations such as Univision, Starbucks, and Spotify, the TurboVote Challenge has the potential to dramatic expand the reach of Democracy Works’ digital registration and reminder tools.

How is Voice supporting the project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to Democracy Works of up to $60,000 to provide the TurboVote Challenge with additional media and network support.

Vote.org’s Mobile Outreach Strategies

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Vote.org
Amount: Up to $75,000 in 2016

What is Vote.org?

Vote.org is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that operates at the intersection of technology and democracy. The organization’s online tools – which allow registration, absentee ballots, and checking a voter’s status – leverage technology to help ensure Americans have the modern, responsive election system they deserve.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

Research suggests mobile outreach to eligible voters, combined with email outreach, can increase participation in elections. Vote.org’s efforts to expand the impact of their participation tools through additional outreach – and publish the results of their experiments – aligns with Democracy Fund Voice’s belief that strong voter turn out is best for our republic.

How is Voice supporting the project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to Vote.org of up to $75,000 to support a civic engagement project that digitally provides registered voters with important logistical and scheduling voter information in the 2016 election.

NALEO Education Fund’s Voter Hotline

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: NALEO Education Fund
Amount: Up to $150,000 in 2016

What is the NALEO Education Fund and its Voter Hotline?

The NALEO Education Fund is the nation’s leading 501(c)3 non-profit organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the American political process, from citizenship to public service. NALEO Education Fund has operated 888-VE-Y-VOTA, the only year-round, live English/Spanish bilingual voter information and protection hotline in the nation, since 2004. The goal of the hotline is to demystify the voting process and help Latinos feel confident about casting a ballot.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

Democracy Fund Voice believes ensuring Americans from all walks of life can participate in our elections is key to our election system’s integrity. NALEO Education Fund’s nonpartisan outreach and provision of timely information on state election practices and procedures to Spanish speaking voters is one way to maintain confidence in the responsiveness of our political system.

How is Voice supporting the project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to NALEO Education Fund of up to $150,000 to provide Spanish language resources to voters in the 2016 election.

Tow Center Terrorism and Media White Papers

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
Amount: Up to $150,000 in 2016-2017

What is the Tow Center?

The Tow Center operates as an institute within Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. It is poised to take advantage of a unique combination of factors to foster the development of digital journalism. This grant will explore the relationship between terrorism, policy, and all media.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

We believe that the emerging dynamics of a media system which fosters real time coverage and responses are largely unexplored and are increasingly influential. This project will generate papers reporting on emerging practices and their relationship to the current elections cycle, and convene media industry decision-makers to discuss the findings. This aims to inform  pre-election discussion regarding reporting trends, and the effects of social media on the racist and/or Islamphobic rhetoric that has become prevalent.

How is Voice supporting the project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York in the amount of up to $150,000 to support the Tow Center within Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2016-2017.

Veterans Against Islamaphophia

Type of Activity: Project Grant
Grantee: Human Rights First
Amount: Up to $200,000 in 2016-2017

What is Human Rights First?

Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. This grant will support HRF’s work to organize retired military leaders and other veterans to speak out against Islamophobia and promote the argument that anti-Muslim speech and policies are fundamentally un-American.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

We believe the United States is an inclusive nation and at its best when it embraces diversity and champions human rights. This project will address the recent rise in Islamophobia, xenophobia, and subsequent divisive rhetoric in the United States. Through its Veterans for American Ideals platform, Human Rights First is uniquely suited to engage retired military leaders and veterans to participate in this discourse and encourage meaningful change.

How is Voice supporting the project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to Human Rights First in the amount of up to $200,000 in 2016-2017.

Building Civic Resilience to Terrorism Project

Type of Activity: Planning Grant
Grantee: New America Foundation
Amount: Up to $40,000 in 2016-2017

Type of Activity: Grant
Grantee: New America Foundation
Amount: Up to $115,000 in 2016-2017

What is the Building Civic Resilience to Terrorism Project?

This project will explore strategies to strengthen media responses and civic resiliency in the face of major shocks and disruptions.  More specifically, this project explores how official communications, social media, and news media can either incite or calm reactions to terrorism, and to identify best practices and pitfalls. As these strategies are determined, we hope that the research and knowledge gained will result in improvements to the public sphere, civil liberties, and improve our democracy. This grant is funded through the New America Foundation, a think tank and civic enterprise committed to renewing American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age.

Why do we think this project is a good idea?

We believe the unprecedented tension in the current elections cycle and the recurring violent incidents at campaign events could speed the erosion of democratic institutions and intercultural partnership in the United States. In such a climate the occurrence of a terrorist attack would expedite this erosion. This project explores how official communications, social media, and news media can either incite or calm reactions to terrorism, and to identify best practices and pitfalls.

How is Voice supporting the project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a twos grant to the New America Foundation in the amount of up to $155,000 in 2016-2017.

Public Spectrum Project

Type of Activity: Advocacy Grant
Grantee: Free Press Action Fund
Amount: Up to $60,000 in 2016

What is the Public Spectrum Project?

In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission will begin its “incentive auction.” This is likely to bring about significant reorganization of the public airwaves, in which some broadcasters will sell their channels and receive a portion of the proceeds from the national sale of spectrum to wireless companies. Across the country, state and local governments, along with public and private universities, hold non-commercial television licenses likely to be included in the auction.

The Public Spectrum Project will explore the possibility of an advocacy campaign that aims to see revenues from the sale of non-commercial TV licenses invested to sustain local journalism and community information needs. The Free Press Action Fund will research and analyze the stations likely to be sold, identify communities most negatively impacted, develop a campaign proposal, and test the idea with stakeholders and the public.

Why do we think the Public Spectrum Project is a good idea?

The public square is a place where discussions about local civic news and information gathering occurs which we consider to be essential to a vibrant democracy. As news and information providers shift to new media practices, such as digital and cable news, we believe that the American people must have effective ways to gather information.

Our hypothesis is that funds realized in the incentive auction may be very substantial. If a small percentage can be directed back to revitalizing the public square or to new resources for local news and information, then the resulting positive impact on information challenged communities could be considerable.

How is Voice supporting the Public Spectrum Project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of up to $60,000 in 2016 to the Free Press Action Fund to test the viability of a campaign that will work to ensure some of the funds raised from the incentive auction go towards sustaining local journalism.

Faith and Public Dialogue

Type of Activity: Grant
Grantee: Faith in Public Life Action Fund
Amount: Up to $886,500 in 2016 – 2017

What is Faith in Public Life Action Fund?

Faith in Public Life Action Fund (FPLAF) is a strategy center that seeks to advance faith in the public square by building coalitions and supporting campaigns through which the faith community can influence public debate. They will engage a diverse group of faith leaders from across the political spectrum in a call to elevate the tenor and quality of public debate, and to foster more civil politics.

Why do we think the project is a good idea?

Faith leaders play a unique role in the lives of many Americans. The unique moral standing of faith leaders has the potential to shape the tenor and tone of the public dialogue and how policy and politics are covered by the media while spreading a message of tolerance and respect to political leaders and the public.

How is Voice supporting the project?

Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant to the Faith in Public Life Action Fund in the amount of up to $886,500 from 2016- 2017.