Thirty-nine voter outreach organizations across the Deep South will receive more than $4.6 million in funding as part of a new round of Vote Your Voice grants announced today by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
The grants will support voter education, registration and mobilization, especially among communities of color. The grants add to an earlier investment of more than $11 million in two-year grants awarded last year.
“With the recent wave of unprecedented attacks on civil rights and liberties that disproportionately target communities of color, women and people with disabilities, it is more important than ever to defend our right to vote and make our voices heard,” said Lecia Brooks, SPLC chief of staff and culture. “These grants will empower communities to get out to the polls, exercise their freedom to vote, and stand up for their right to an equal voice in government.”
Vote Your Voice is a partnership between the SPLC and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to increase voter registration, participation and civic engagement among communities of color in the Deep South. The initiative also is strengthening the field capacity of grassroots organizations through data and fundraising support and the testing of effective voter engagement strategies.
The SPLC has pledged $100 million to support Vote Your Voice through 2032.
“The bottom line is that everyone deserves a fair shot at a decent life,” said Frank Fernandez, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “If you are with the Community Foundation in that basic tenet, then you join the Foundation in teaching our children and all our neighbors that the right to vote is the cornerstone of democracy. It is by educating each other on the tenets of democracy, engaging in civic discourse and ultimately electing officials to represent and advocate for the things that we deem most important that citizens catalyze progress and change in our communities.”
Alabama Forward, one of the grant recipients, boosts civic and political participation in that state by providing financial and institutional resources to other nonprofit community organizations. Alabama is among numerous states enacting new laws designed to suppress voting by people of color, allow partisan interference in election administration and dilute the political influence of communities of color through gerrymandering.
“Alabama Forward is excited to use these Vote Your Voice grants to empower communities, especially young Alabamians, to make their voice heard through their vote,” said Evan Milligan, executive director of Alabama Forward. “Through community organizing we hope to one day create a system where everyone can have an equal voice in government to bring forward the needs and concerns of their communities, and to have those needs met.”
Top picture: Protesters hold a large voting rights sign during a rally on Oct. 22, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Allison Bailey/NurPhoto via AP)