Smart philanthropy: Getting the vote out - The New York Community Trust
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August 1, 2022   |   By The New York Community Trust
Smart philanthropy: Getting the vote out

The Trust speaks with experts about contemporary issues in philanthropy.

These interactive briefings give our donors an opportunity to think about their philanthropic legacy and how to align it with their personal vision and values. To learn more about joining our community of compassionate donors, contact our vice president for donor relations, John Oddy, at jjo@nyct-cfi.org or click here.

While voting is fundamental to democracy and political activism, the region has seen declining numbers of people exercising their right to vote. The Trust supports nonprofits getting out the vote directly through its grantmaking and through a citywide nonpartisan collaborative fund called GoVoteNYC. In a recent donor briefing, The Trust’s Patricia Swann, program director for Thriving Communities, spoke about efforts to increase voting and the evolution of working to change governmental policies with Marissa Martin, executive director of the Advocacy Institute. Some excerpts of the briefing are below.

 

Service organizations are changing advocacy

The Advocacy Institute’s Marissa Martin discusses how advocacy should be on the mind of service organizations and their communities as every social  issue is affected by underlying government policies. Through advocacy and policy change, these nonprofits can get at the root causes of problems, and make a larger impact in addition to their day-to-day frontline work. She notes that an educational component must be a part of advocacy so that policymakers understand what is happening on the ground in their communities.

 

Education is key to inspiring voters

New Yorkers do not vote, in part, because they are frustrated by the challenges of the voting process and their own sense that government is not responsive to their personal views. Marissa Martin explains how The Advocacy Institute pursues voter education so that people understand the connection between informed voting and changing policies.

 

How the voting process reduces turnout

The Trust’s Pat Swann discusses some of the many barriers to voting, while Marissa Martin points out procedures in other states that make casting a vote much easier. Martin notes that the various deadlines for registering are not widely known, which can result in some people losing the opportunity to vote.

 

Where is there hope for the future?

What gives Patricia Swann hope about the future of civic engagement is the rising activism and political consciousness she sees among young people, who make up a growing and potentially influential bloc of voters. What gives Marissa Martin hope is the dedication she sees every day among nonprofits with whom she works, even with the recent challenges that were caused by the pandemic.

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Media Contact Information

Need help or advice?

Marty Lipp
Communications Director
(212) 889-3963 
mbl@nyct-cfi.org

Amy Wolf
Director of Marketing
(646) 214-1004
aw@nyct-cfi.org

Get our media kit

Statue of Liberty in Red