The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation in New York City has announced a $10 million grant aimed at leveraging civic participation to address election challenges facing the United States amid the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing civil unrest.
The investment — which represents a significant portion of the foundation's $88 million endowment — will support the foundation's core Justice Reform and Safe and Healthy Communities programs, with funds directed to initiatives that explicitly address concerns around voter suppression and unjustly harsh policing tactics in communities of color. To that end, the majority of the funding will be awarded to two funder collaboratives, the State Infrastructure Fund and the Heartland Fund, both of which share a vision and strategy for leveraging civic engagement to empower communities facing systemic voter suppression and exclusion.
"With funding from the Langeloth Foundation, Heartland Fund will be able to expand our voter engagement and mobilization programs and the transition to vote by mail, especially among rural African American, Native American, and Latinx communities that are facing unique challenges due to COVID-19," said Heartland Fund project director Sarah Jaynes. "This transformative funding enables our grantee network to increase their digital voter outreach, vote by mail advocacy, and other organizing that helps underrepresented communities in small city and rural areas to cast their ballot."
"This $10 million investment is the single largest commitment Langeloth has ever made. It is a recognition that supporting participation in the democratic process is integral to individual and community health," said Langeloth Foundation president Scott Moyer. "We are thrilled to be supporting the State Infrastructure Fund and the Heartland Fund to provide desperately needed resources to organizations working to ensure Black, Brown, and Native American eligible voters, in particular, are able to exercise their right to vote in a safe and fair manner. We call upon other foundations to join us in giving above and beyond the minimum grant payouts and to support a healthy democracy and society."