The George Gund Foundation in Cleveland has announced summer grants totaling nearly $9.3 million, including several grants in support of local voter advocacy initiatives.
The awards include more than $350,000 in support of initiatives designed to increase the participation of historically underrepresented populations in the electoral process. Recipients include the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, which was awarded $200,000 in support of its efforts to advance social, racial, and economic justice through voter registration drives, criminal justice reforms, and leadership development and training; Ohio Voice, a statewide coalition of nonprofit organizations that will receive $125,000 for its efforts to boost the collective influence of its members and their constituencies through coordinated, nonpartisan civic-engagement activities; and Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates, Inc., which was awarded $25,150 for its advocacy efforts on behalf of underrepresented citizens and students in the Cleveland area.
"Democracy is in trouble," said Gund Foundation executive director David Abbott. "Foreign interference in our elections, vital institutions like a free press under incessant attack, voter turnout pathetically low, and cynicism running wild — these are just some of the challenges that our cherished system faces. We are joining with many others in the efforts to restore confidence and participation. The only solutions to democracy's problems are through democracy itself."
Additional grants include $890,000 to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in support of its ongoing efforts to improve Cleveland schools; $75,000 to Case Western Reserve University for its efforts to collect data on properties in Cleveland and develop strategies for lead-hazard control; $50,000 to the West Creek Conservancy to create a water trail along the Cuyahoga River that allows easier navigation for canoes and kayaks; $144,000 to the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art in support of its inaugural minority curatorial fellowship, part of the museum's efforts to address the lack of diversity in the leadership of arts organizations nationally; and $50,000 to LAND studio in support of a planning initiative for the Shaker Square neighborhood.
(Photo credit, Land Studio, Bob Perkoski)