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.

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.