For Immediate Release
Decades of low voter turnout and an historic election cycle drive a new philanthropic effort housed in The New York Community Trust to increase voter participation in NYC
(April 26, 2021) New York, NY – The GoVoteNYC Fund in The New York Community Trust has announced $1 million in grants to nine nonprofits for nonpartisan get-out-the-vote education and activities. These nonprofits are trusted messengers within their communities, work in coalition with dozens of groups, and combine organizing with the use of digital platforms to reach close to two million New Yorkers—focusing on those who have not voted in the past or are typically overlooked in the democratic process.
The grantees include: The Hispanic Federation, MinKwon Center for Community Action, New York City Employment & Training Coalition, New York Civic Engagement Table, New York Immigration Coalition, Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition, and the city’s three public library systems—New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Public Library. The groups will conduct intensive get-out-the-vote activities and ranked-choice voting education, produce candidate forums and guides, and deliver language-specific events and materials to diverse New Yorkers. Two nonprofit technical assistance providers—Hester Street Collaborative and F.Y. Eye—will receive grants to support the work of the other organization.
Together, this cohort is working directly with more than 60 community and citywide groups and has a presence in more than 200 neighborhoods. They aim to build off of unprecedented levels of get-out-the-count efforts for the 2020 census and voter mobilization for the November 2020 election, and create a robust nonpartisan infrastructure for consistently high voter participation in the 2021 primaries and future elections.
The donors launching GoVoteNYC aim to address decades of abysmally low voter turnout in New York City’s municipal elections and its consequences for good government. In the last three mayoral elections, one in four registered voters went to the polls. The last time that at least half of all registered voters chose the city’s mayor was in 1993. This year the stakes are high. More than 400 candidates for elected office are pitching their visions for the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the deep inequalities it has laid bare.
“This is an incredibly important moment as we choose the leaders to guide our economic recovery and address immense inequalities,” said Jamie Rubin, a founding member and co-chair of the GoVoteNYC Fund. “New Yorkers need to be heard at the polls, and our nonprofit partners have the expertise and community trust to ensure that many more of them are.”
“We believe that meaningful civic engagement is an antidote to inequality, with rich potential to empower underrepresented and marginalized communities that have too often been silenced. Through GoVoteNYC, we are investing in civic engagement for the long haul, so that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to raise their voices, influence decisions, and hold governments to account,” said Maria Torres-Springer, vice president of U.S. Programs for the Ford Foundation and co-chair of the Fund.
“With GoVoteNYC we hope to jumpstart a new era of funding local civic participation, above and beyond this election cycle. Our city needs a broad spectrum of the donor community to bolster democracy, the underpinning of all other philanthropic investments in New York City,” said Martha King, senior program officer at the Charles H. Revson Foundation and co-chair of the Fund.
“GoVoteNYC is investing in the talent and expertise of our nonprofit sector to increase voter turnout and narrow participation gaps, because New York City’s government will be more representative, responsive, and accountable when all voices are heard in our central democratic process—voting,” said Neill Coleman, Chief Philanthropy Officer at Trinity Church Wall Street and founding member of The Fund.
“The New York Community Trust is proud to house and participate in this new donor collaborative. Low voter turnout is always a threat to democracy, and GoVoteNYC is a timely effort critical to New York City’s civic future,” said Patricia Swann, senior program officer for civic affairs at The New York Community Trust and founding member of the Fund.
GoVoteNYC Member Organizations (in formation)
About The New York Community Trust
The New York Community Trust connects past, present, and future generous New Yorkers with vital nonprofits working to make a healthy, equitable, and thriving community for all. It is a public grantmaking foundation dedicated to improving the lives of residents of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island.