The Wyss Foundation today announced that it is making approximately $1 million in grants this year to support three organizations that are working to increase civic participation by helping state and local governments modernize and improve their services to voters and by finding new ways to encourage democratic participation.
The grants, which aim to ensure that everyone has equal access to the democratic process, are part of the Wyss Foundation’s philanthropic efforts to expand economic opportunity and equality.
“Civic participation is essential to the health and prosperity of society and to the expansion of economic opportunity,” said Molly McUsic, president of the Wyss Foundation. “We are proud to join the many other foundations working to ensure that everyone has a chance to participate in the democratic process and the civic life of their community.”
The Foundation Center’s innovative data portal that assesses philanthropic support for civic participation in the United States helped inform these investments.
The three grants are :
• Demos ($425,000) and Project Vote ($300,000), to help governments provide voter registration services to people applying for benefits or who are seeking government services.
• Ideas42 ($285,000), to conduct scientific research into civic participation. Ideas42 has previously applied behavioral science to confronting other social challenges, such as to develop new strategies that remind people to conserve energy and to apply for student loans on time. With this grant, Ideas42 will take a fresh look at the reasons why many people do not vote.
The Wyss Foundation, which has been a long-standing supporter of locally-led efforts to conserve public lands in the American West, has broadened its philanthropic work in recent years. In addition to these grants to support increased civic participation, the Wyss Foundation’s philanthropy now also supports international ocean conservation, combating wildlife trafficking in Africa, and efforts to expand economic opportunity for women.
The Wyss Foundation made its first major grants to support civic participation last year, with grants made to Demos ($525,000), Project Vote ($550,000), and State Voices ($850,000). These grants also supported efforts to reduce barriers to civic participation at the state-level. For more information on the Foundation’s 2015 grants, click here.