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Public Wise Awards More Than $1.2 Million in Quarter 1, Gears Up for 2022 Midterm Elections

02.23.2022 Public Wise

The unrestricted funds were granted to 16 organizations working to protect free and fair elections



Addie Bullock


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Wise, a voting rights organization which works to secure a government that reflects the will and protects the rights of the people, announced today it awarded $1.283 million in its first round of granting in 2022. 

The grants are a part of Public Wise’s campaign around the 2022 midterm elections, which is prioritizing local and state level elections in key swing states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. 

“The midterms are right around the corner, and Public Wise is committed to ensuring the security and fairness of the 2022 elections,” said Christina Baal-Owens, Executive Director of Public Wise. “Our democracy is only as strong as our elections. Public Wise is proud to work with partner organizations on the ground in some of our most vulnerable states to bolster access to elections and civic engagement in 2022 and beyond.”

The unrestricted funds were awarded to 15 grassroots organizations across the country. Grantees include:

  • $75,000 for American Oversight, which uses public records requests to push for government accountability;
  • $75,000 for Dēmos, a think tank driving ideas for a more just, inclusive, multiracial democracy;
  • $75,000 for Pennsylvania Voice, which aims to aims to build an inclusive, just and reflective democracy in Pennsylvania;
  • $50,000 for Detroit Action, a group fighting for housing and economic justice in Detroit through community organizing and civic engagement;
  • $50,000 for Care in Action, which fights on behalf of domestic workers in the U.S.;
  • $50,000 for Generation Vote, a network of young people working to advance youth voting rights and youth political engagement;
  • $50,000 for Up to Us, a Gen Z activist collective;

As part of an ongoing partnership, Public Wise also awarded $250,000 for an anchor partnership with Way to Win, a progressive political fund. Last year, Public Wise awarded more than $2.25 million to 33 organizations, including North Carolina Black Alliance, Arizona Center for Empowerment, and Media Matters Action Fund. Public Wise has awarded funding to American Oversight, Way to Win, Care in Act, NAPAWF, Fair Elections Center, and Black Male Voter Project in the past as well. American Oversight is also a partner on Public Wise’s Insurrection Index, an online, searchable database identifying individuals who participated in and organized the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“Way to Win is proud to continue our anchor partnership with Public Wise this year,” said Tory Gavito, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Way to Win. “Protecting the freedom to vote and fighting for the integrity of our democracy is paramount to building power in communities across the country, especially communities of color. This work is critical not only for this year’s election, but for the elections still to come.’

“In fighting to protect the will of voters, Public Wise is a terrific partner. Their commitment to a vision of a democracy that is truly of the people mirrors ours, and their support has been critical in fighting for fair maps – where the voters choose the outcomes, not the map-drawers. But our work isn’t finished and we are thrilled to have them standing with us again in 2022,” said Kelly Burton, President, of the National Redistricting Action Fund 

“The task of engaging Black men—around electoral politics—is the most pressing work any of us can be doing at this moment, and without the support from Public Wise and others it would be impossible for Black Male Voter Project to do it,” said W. Mondale Robinson, Founding Principal of Black Male Voter Project.

“Funding from, and ongoing partnership with, Public Wise is helping Fair Election Center counter voter suppression in the 2022 election cycle by ensuring robust student turn out, vigorous litigation, robust grassroots advocacy for good voter legislation while opposing bad, and ensuring sufficient numbers of poll workers to staff polling locations,” said Robert M. Brandon, President and CEO of Fair Elections Center.

“We are excited to have Public Wise as an investment and thought partner in making sure AAPI communities are no longer overlooked in political conversation,” said Christine Chen, Executive Director of APIAVote. “AAPIs are one of the most overlooked racial groups when it comes to political data and with Public Wise’s support we will continue to conduct our Asian American Voter Survey and other programs to fill this gap, and uplift the needs and perspectives of our communities.”

“With states across the country passing laws that make it harder for Black and brown people to vote, it is imperative that we fight to ensure every eligible voter can cast a ballot,” said Taifa Smith Butler, President of Demos. “This support from Public Wise will be essential as Demos continues working to create a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy.”

About Public Wise

Persistent and unyielding in our commitment to a just multiracial democracy, Public Wise fights to secure a government that reflects the will and protects the rights of the people. We accomplish this through education, research, organizing, funding, and partnerships that support more voting and more equitable representation.