King County Elections (KCE) and the Seattle Foundation will provide over a million dollars in grant funding to 31 community-based organizations for non-partisan civic engagement and voter education work in historically disenfranchised communities. Twenty-one of these grantees will be supported for two years and an additional 10 organizations will be supported for emerging efforts in 2023. These organizations were selected after a rigorous and competitive application and review committee process, Sixty-eight organizations applied for funding during the initial application period.
The Voter Education Fund (VEF) is a national-award-winning, first-of-its-kind program that brings together government, philanthropy, and community partners to provide factual, non-partisan voter education and registration in historically disenfranchised communities. This cycle’s focus includes organizations that work with and serve people with disabilities, communities of color, people experiencing homelessness, limited-English speakers, LGBTQIA voters, first-time voters, youth, and voters with a previous felony conviction.
“Access to the ballot means more than having the right to vote on paper. It means having all the information you need to participate in elections and make your voice heard,” stated King County Director of Elections Julie Wise. “Voter Education Fund partners are already trusted messengers in their communities, and we’re proud to work with them to amplify honest, accurate election information to every corner and community in the county.”
Awardees will receive grant funds as well as training and support to build capacity and infrastructure around voter registration, education, and get-out-the-vote work in the communities they serve. Approximately half of the organizations have participated in the Voter Education Fund in the previous cycle, while the other half are new to this partnership. The multi-year grants support organizations that have deep connections with their communities, have experience in civic education, and will provide ongoing, innovative programing over two years. The seed-level grants will support newly formed community-based organizations, those piloting new approaches or those who are new to voter education work.
“We are proud to team up with King County Elections to ensure our electoral process is fair and inclusive. Working with and supporting organizations with deep roots in their community is necessary to create a thriving democracy. These critical resources help to advance equitable representation and provide opportunities for all to make their voice heard,” added Sally Gillis, Managing Director of Strategy and Partnerships with Seattle Foundation.
Grants are awarded to 501(c)3 organizations committed to non-partisan voter registration and education work in King County. Organizations receiving funding will attend an orientation and training with King County Elections during the month of June and will begin Voter Education Fund events in earnest in July 2023.
“We are deeply grateful to the Seattle Foundation and King County Elections for investing in our community and funding us for this important work. We are so honored to be able to be part of the effort to help more of our Native people exercise their civil rights and engage in our democracy,” stated Deborah Sioux Cano-Lee, Chair and Elder Council of the Board of the Washington Indian Civil Rights Commission.
“As assaults intensify on the voting rights of people who are and have been historically and intentionally disenfranchised, we are energized to be part of the work to deepen, broaden, and strengthen our democracy! We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to work in partnership with The Seattle Foundation, with King County Elections, and other VEF participants,” said Alison Eisinger, Executive Director of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness.
2023-2024 Voter Education Fund Award Recipients
African Community Housing and Development
Asian Counseling and Referral Service
Chinese Information and Service Center
Eastside for All
Hearing, Speech, & Deaf Center
Institute for Community Leadership
Korean American Coalition of Washington
Latino Community Fund of Washington State
Para Los Niños
Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project
Refugee Women’s Alliance
Somali Family Safety Task Force
Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness
The Vera Project
The Washington Bus Education Fund
Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
UTOPIA (United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance)
Voices of Tomorrow
Washington Indian Civil Rights Commission
Amigos de Seattle
El Centro de la Raza
Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center
Malawi Seattle Association
Sea Mar Community Health Center
South Sudan Kuku Association of North America (SSKANA)
yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective