Voting Rights Organization Awards 1.25M in Grants to Keep Election Deniers Out of Public Office
MEDIA CONTACT: Addie Bullock, [email protected]
Public Wise invests in grassroots organizations working to protect and expand democracy, with a focus on Arizona and Wisconsin ahead of 2024
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 $1,250,000 in grants in the first quarter of 2023.
Public Wise is committed to keeping insurrectionists and election deniers out of office at every level of government and prioritizes funding grassroots organizations working to expand electoral power and end structural barriers to voting for Black, Indigenous, AAPI, Latino and other communities of color who have been historically underrepresented. Public Wise worked to defeat insurrectionist candidates in 2022 in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan and Ohio, including a six figure ad buy against Congressional candidate J.R. Majewski highlighting his ties to January 6th and his lies about his military record.
Public Wise invested heavily in the state of Wisconsin ahead of April’s State Supreme Court race, granting $425,000 to Wisconsin’s Working Families Party, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, America Votes, National Redistricting Action Fund and The Fair Elections Center. This off-cycle race will have a direct impact on the state of democracy and abortion rights across the country. Public Wise recently endorsed Judge Janet Protasiewicz who is running against an extremist GOP candidate with ties to January 6th and the fake elector scheme. Public Wise is continuing its relationship with grassroots organizations led by and serving communities of color in Arizona. Arizona was at the center of election deniers and misinformation about electoral administration in 2022 and Public Wise is committed to combating election deniers at the state and local level and building electoral power for Arizona’s Black, Indigenous, AAPI, Latino and other communities of color.
“We are facing an all out, interconnected assault on our democracy and our fundamental freedoms at every level of government. The elected officials and candidates who challenge free and fair election results are the same politicians who refuse to pass gun control legislation, attack our trans kids, ban books, and deny women the right to make their own decisions about their bodies,” said Christina Baal-Owens, executive director of Public Wise. “Our rights, our freedoms and our futures are on the line and the fight is at the local and state level. Public Wise is investing in grassroots organizations who understand these threats and are building political power for the frontline communities who continue to be underestimated and left behind.”
The unrestricted funds were awarded to 21 grassroots organizations across the country. Grantees include:
- $150,000 for National Redistricting Action Fund, dedicated to harnessing the power of the power and courts to dismantle Wisconsin’s undemocratic electoral maps
- $100,000 for America Votes, a progressive organizing hub working with 400 national and local partners to build a representative democracy
- $75,000 for Free Speech for People’s litigation efforts to stop illegal voter intimidation and support the 14.3 campaign to hold insurrectionists in elected office accountable for their role in January 6
- $75,000 for Mi Familia Vota, working to build Latino political power and protect democracy in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Nevada, Texas and North Carolina by expanding the electorate, strengthening local infrastructures and voter engagement
- $75,000 to National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, a group building power with AAPI women and girls and advocating for reproductive justice, for their local elections programming in Georgia, Florida and Texas
- $75,000 to American Oversight, a non-profit watchdog using public records requests to fight corruption and defend democracy, as they expand their work to include individuals attacking other core elements of democracy
- $75,000 to Working Families Party Wisconsin, the grassroots party working to secure social, racial and economic justice for Wisconsin’s multiracial working class
- $75,000 to Arizona Center for Empowerment, an organization that educates, empowers and engages Arizona working families to create solutions to issues of social and economic justice, for their advocacy work in the state legislature and coalition building efforts among women-of-color leaders in Arizona.
- $50,000 to Our Voice, Our Vote Arizona, a member-led organization committed to advocating for sustainable progressive public policy, holding their elected officials accountable and centering Black communities in Arizona
- $50,000 for Chispa Arizona, an organization working to build political power for Arizona’s Latinx communities, with a focus on environmental justice
- $50,000 for Fair Count, a grassroots effort to build long-term electoral power in communities who have been historically overlooked to support their rural outreach programs and bilingual civic education efforts
- $50,000 to The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, a nonprofit and policy institute to reform, revitalize and protect our democracy, to invest in strategies to guarantee free and fair 2024 elections
- $50,000 to Sheriffs for Trusting Communities, a group working to ensure sheriffs across the country reflect just, equitable values, to engage in more sheriff elections in 2023 and 2024
- $50,000 to Common Defense, a grassroots movement of U.S. military veterans advocating for voting rights, climate justice and anti-militarism, to hire a local organizer in Arizona to combat voter suppression and election intimidation and support their campaign to deliver accountability to January 6th insurrectionists
- $50,000 for Generation Vote, a intersectional, youth-led movement fighting for the right to vote and a democracy that works for all, to invest in their membership recruitment and expansion of GenVote teams in their priority states
- $50,000 to BLOC, community organizers working to build political and economic power for Wisconsin’s Black community
- $50,000 to The Fair Elections Center, a nonpartisan voting rights and election reform organization working to remove barriers to voter registration, to fund a digital ad program targeting 18-24 year olds
- $25,000 to VoteRiders, a non-partisan organization advocating for all citizens to have the freedom to vote, for a research project designed to better understand the barriers Americans face to voting and organizing in Arizona and Georgia
- $25,000 to the New American Leaders Action Fund, a group building a democracy by engaging New Americans as they vote and run for office, for their work in Michigan
- $25,000 for Entertain Impact’s #NoVotesBarred Campaign, a social impact agency’s voting rights restoration campaign to help Georgians with criminal records understand their voting rights
- $25,000 for Poder Latinx, a civic and social justice organization dedicated to building political power for the Latinx community to support their canvassing capacity and youth programming in key battleground states
“Public Wise has invested in organizing practices that center historically marginalized communities for years, and Fair Count is thrilled to be a recipient of their support. Their research and organizing expertise is a tremendous asset to us as we work to achieve an equitable electorate in Georgia and the Deep South. It’s a special opportunity to collaborate with our friends at Public Wise who thoroughly understand what it takes to build racial equity, greater civic participation, and a stronger democracy,” said Rebecca DeHart, CEO of Fair Count.
“Voter ID laws are on the rise across the country, and their impact is hard-hitting — particularly for youth and student voters, communities of color, low-income Americans, and the many women and trans individuals who change their names. VoteRiders is thrilled to be receiving timely and generous support from Public Wise. Their investment will enable us to further scale and refine our ID-focused work at a time when it has never been more important to protect at-risk voters and support their participation in civic life,” said Lauren Kunis, CEO & Executive Director of VoteRiders.
“We are thrilled to receive critical renewed support from Public Wise for Free Speech For People’s work across the country to defend our democracy and our Constitution,” says John Bonifaz, president of Free Speech For People. “This support will help us continue our work in the courts to challenge voter suppression and voter intimidation and our campaign to enforce Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment and hold insurrectionists accountable. At this moment in history, we are proud to partner with Public Wise to protect our republic,” said John Bonifaz, President of Free Speech for the People.
“Common Defense is a veteran-led, grassroots organization of former U.S. military service members that began with a hashtag – #VetsVsHate – which became a viral sensation in 2016 that began dispelling the myth that veterans are a conservative monolith. Veterans are effective and trusted messengers on many issues, but Common Defense members have particular credibility when advocating for the democratic rights we swore to uphold and risked our lives to defend. Through a combination of constituency mobilization, voter contact, endorsements, direct lobbying, earned and paid media, Veterans for Democracy leverages the power of the veteran voice in the fight for our most sacred democratic rights,” said Jessica James, Development Director of Common Defense.
“We are excited and grateful for the support and partnership of Public Wise that will continue to allow Chispa to utilize a combination of strategies and programs to ensure everyday Latinos can see themselves and others becoming leaders in the fights to protect air, water, lands, and climate. Chispa Arizona’s work is vital in creating conditions in which they can become a growing political force that is both recognized by and can hold decision-makers accountable to the community,” said Vianey Olivarria, Executive Director of Chispa Arizona.
“American Oversight’s partnership with Public Wise holds government officials accountable to the people they serve. Since the violent attack at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, we have worked together to expose insurrectionists and elections deniers and debunk their false claims of election fraud. With this support, American Oversight can expand our work in the states to defend core pillars of democracy — namely, voting rights, civil rights, and public education — from abuses of political power,” said Heather Sawyer, Executive Director of American Oversight.
“We are deeply grateful to Public Wise for its steadfast partnership,” said Michael Waldman, President and CEO of the Brennan Center for Justice. “Their support enables us to advance research, policy, and legal strategies that help those on the frontlines fight back against assaults on democracy. With preparations for the 2024 elections already underway, we’re glad to have Public Wise with us.”
“Sheriffs for Trusting Communities works with partners to leverage the office of county sheriffs to uphold democracy, protect immigrant communities, and ensure fewer people are in jail. With Public Wise’s generous support, we will continue to advocate for pro-democracy, pro-immigrant sheriffs that prioritize community health and justice,” said Max Rose, Executive Director of Sheriffs for Trusting Communities.
“Our country needs a new generation of bold, visionary leaders in office who can strengthen our democracy and represent the incredible diversity of our communities. As the only national organization committed to supporting candidates and campaigns that elevate the New American experience, New American Leaders Action Fund is honored to have Public Wise’s support as we empower the next cohort of immigrant candidates committed to changing the face of leadership,” said Ghida Dagher, president and CEO of New American Leaders and New American Leaders Action Fund. “Especially as we prepare for the 2024 election cycle, their support allows us to educate and engage new immigrant voters, support New American candidates in key races, and build lasting political infrastructure in crucial swing states with growing immigrant populations.”
Public Wise awarded more than $2.5 million dollars in 2022, and granted more than $2.25 million in 2021, including grants to North Carolina Black Alliance, Arizona Center for Empowerment, and Media Matters Action Fund. Public Wise has previously awarded funding to National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Chispa Arizona, Mi Vota Familia, Fair Count, Fair Elections Center, Poder Latinx, American Oversight, Arizona Center for Empowerment, Common Defense, Generation Vote, Sheriffs for Trusting Communities, Entertain Impact, Brennan Center, Free Speech for the People, Mi Familia Vota, America Votes, Working Families Party, and the National Redistricting Action Fund.
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.