The George Gund Foundation awarded several grants at its final meeting of the year to help achieve robust participation in American democracy by historically underrepresented populations. The grants to organizations at the national, state and local levels aim to accomplish racial and economic parity in voter registration and voting and to help citizens exercise their influence on the critical public policy and investment decisions impacting their families and communities.
Among the grants were:
- $800,000 over three years to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio to advance Ohio Voice, a statewide coalition of nonprofit organizations working to increase the collective influence of its members and the constituencies they serve through nonpartisan civic engagement activities such as voter registration, voting rights protection and related public policy advocacy.
- $200,000 over two years to Voting for America’s five-year effort to increase the civic participation of historically marginalized populations through nonpartisan, large scale voter registration initiatives.
- $360,000 over three years to Cleveland Neighborhood Progress to support Cleveland VOTES, a local voter engagement project that addresses low voter turnout and civic participation among historically disenfranchised populations by engaging the trusted voices of nonprofit organizations that work with them.
“American democracy faces both domestic and foreign threats,” said David Abbott, the Foundation’s executive director. “The best defense is active citizen involvement, but as recent election turnout demonstrates, too many people opt out while others are kept out by restrictions that make voting harder than it should be. These organizations are fighting to reverse voting trends and to increase broader civic engagement. We are very happy to help them.”
These grants follow many others made by the Foundation in 2017 to build a more vigorous nonprofit voice in public policy deliberations to defend access to essential human needs, ranging from clean energy to health care, being threatened by the federal policy environment.
The George Gund Foundation was established in 1952 by George Gund, former chairman of the Cleveland Trust Company. The Foundation funds programs that enhance our understanding of the physical and social environment in which we live and increase our ability to cope with its changing requirements. Grants are made three times a year in the areas of education, human services, economic and community development, environment and arts. Foundation commitments to date have totaled over $710 million.