The George Gund Foundation expressed its continued commitment to state and local voter advocacy initiatives by awarding several grants at its summer 2018 meeting to help increase participation by historically underrepresented populations. The grants aim to support strategies to increase racial and economic fairness in voter registration and voting and to help all citizens realize that their best interests require a vibrant, healthy political system.
“Democracy is in trouble,” said David Abbott, the foundation’s executive director. “Foreign interference in our elections, vital institutions like a free press under incessant attack, voter turnout pathetically low and cynicism running wild—these are just some of the challenges that our cherished system faces. We are joining with many others in the efforts to restore confidence and participation. The only solutions to democracy’s problems are through democracy itself.”
Among the grants awarded were:
- $200,000 to The Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a coalition of more than 20 groups working to organize Ohioans to push for social, racial and economic justice through voter registration, promoting criminal justice reform, student organizing and leadership development and training.
- $125,000 to Ohio Voice, a statewide coalition of nonprofit organizations working to increase the collective influence of its members and the constituencies they serve through strategic, coordinated, nonpartisan civic engagement activities, specifically by engaging and raising the influence of historically marginalized populations.
- $25,150 to Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates, Inc., a volunteer-led voter registration, research and advocacy organization serving the needs of underrepresented citizens and students in the Cleveland area.
The Foundation also awarded $8.94 million in additional grants at the meeting that reflect its deep interests in education, human services, the environment, arts and economic development. These grants included:
- Three grants totaling $890,000 to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to support its ongoing transformation by growing the number of high-quality Cleveland schools.
- $75,000 to Case Western Reserve University to fund research and data collection on properties in Cleveland to help develop strategies for lead hazard control.
- $50,000 to West Creek Conservancy to support the creation of a state designated water trail along the Cuyahoga River, allowing canoes and kayaks easier navigation.
- $144,000 to the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art for the inaugural minority curatorial fellowship to help address the national lack of diversity in the arts field.
- $50,000 to LAND studio to support a planning initiative that will position Shaker Square to best serve the needs of the surrounding community.
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 $722 million.
Further details on the summer 2018 grant awardees can be found at www.gundfoundation.org.