The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced eighteen grants totaling more than $9 million in support of efforts to improve access to voting, secure and modernize voting systems, and reduce the influence of money in politics.
The grants were awarded through the foundation's Strengthening American Democracy initiative, which was established in 2011 with the goal of strengthening democratic institutions and practices, leading to public policies that more effectively address the nation’s most critical challenges. The foundation has committed more than $17 million to those issues since the program's inception.
The initiative's final round of funding includes grants to the Georgetown University Law Center ($1 million) to help establish an institute designed to protect the right to vote in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 decision to nullify part of the Voting Rights Act; the American Civil Liberties Union ($1.8 million) in support of the Center for Equality, which works to address issues affecting the voting rights of America's most vulnerable citizens, including immigrants, people of color, and the poor; the Center for Responsive Politics ($500,000) for its work collecting, analyzing, and publishing millions of campaign contribution records; Justice at Stake ($600,000) in support of its efforts to insulate courts from political pressure, educate the public about the importance of fair and impartial courts, and increase diversity on the bench; and MapLight ($450,000) to collect, analyze, and report on campaign contributions.
"We have been pleased to support some of the leading organizations in this field and to help buttress their critical work on behalf of American democracy," said MacArthur president Julia Stasch. "About half of all eligible voters now live in states with online voter registration; there is heightened vigilance about potentially discriminatory voting laws; and there is more data and reporting on the role of money and politics than ever."
For a complete list of the recent grantees, see the MacArthur Foundation website.