SVCF awards $100,000 grants to organizations working to increase civic participation through creative uses of technology
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Two organizations working to strengthen democracy and increase civic participation by harnessing technology have been chosen to receive grants of $100,000 each, Silicon Valley Community Foundation announced today. The two organizations – Every Voice Center and MapLight – are the final two recipients of SVCF’s 10-year anniversary competitive grantmaking initiative.
The special initiative, announced last year, was established to award 10 grants of $100,000 each to organizations developing creative solutions in areas that have long been strategically important to SVCF: economic security of low-income communities; education; immigration; and building strong communities.
In addition, this final round of anniversary grants sought out projects that will increase civic engagement and participation through creative and innovative uses of technology.
The two programs that will receive grants are increasing civic engagement by 1) enabling local candidates to launch campaigns without undue campaign-financing burdens or influence; and 2) bringing a proven, nonpartisan voter information source to more voters through partnerships with local media and innovative social-sharing technology.
“This 10-year anniversary grantmaking opportunity was our chance to spotlight and support those organizations that are leveling the playing field for our communities, our region and for democracy in general,” said Valerie Cuevas, senior program officer at SVCF. “We are pleased to cap off this initiative with grants to two organizations using technology to empower candidates who might otherwise be sidelined, and to empower voters with greater access to nonpartisan, comprehensive voting information they can trust.”
The two programs that will receive $100,000 grants are:
Every Voice Center: The Washington, D.C.-based organization works to educate the general public and policymakers about the problem and influence of campaign financing on the democratic process. To augment their work supporting election campaign finance reform, the new grant will support Every Voice Center in designing, building and testing a “Government by the People” action site. The site will be an open-source platform for Every Voice Center materials and expertise, and will provide community leaders in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and surrounding areas with the tools they need to develop coalitions, plan strategies and lead local change in election campaign financing. Every Voice Center will work with Bay Rising, a Bay Area regional alliance of community-led organizations addressing inequality in civic and public policy engagement, and with Common Cause, a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to creating open, accountable government serving the public interest.
MapLight, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund: Based in Berkeley, MapLight works to inform and empower voters and advance reforms for a more responsive democracy. The grant will help MapLight improve its Voter’s Edge online voting guide. Voter’s Edge facilitated informed voting and civic engagement for 1.8 million users during California’s 2016 election cycle. It served as a comprehensive source of nonpartisan election information for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, and across California. The grant will help MapLight enhance local media outlets’ ability to provide in-depth information on local elections, and will enable them to launch co-branded Voter’s Edge pages, with widgets than can be embedded in their websites. A social media component will allow users to share their preferences with friends, family and peers to encourage civic dialogue. The project is supported by the Chief Elections Officer of San Mateo County and the Office of the County of Santa Clara Registrar of Voters.
About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. We engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org.