The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling $25 million in support of efforts to address anti-Black racism, support Native Americans impacted by COVID-19, strengthen voter education and mobilization initiatives, and combat voter suppression.
To that end, grants totaling $15 million were awarded in the area of voting rights and democracy, including eleven in the area of nonpartisan voter education, voter protection, and get-out-the-vote efforts, and four focused on election administration, integrity, and voting rights protection. Recipients include the Alliance for Safety and Justice, a project of the Tides Center (San Francisco; $2 million), MediaJustice (Oakland $400,000), the Leadership Conference Education Fund (Washington, D.C.; $1.8 million), and United We Dream (Washington, D.C.; $500,000).
The foundation also awarded six grants totaling $10 million in support of communities impacted by the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, with a focus on Black and Indigenous communities. Grants include $3 million to the Democracy Frontlines Fund, a donor collaborative launched earlier this month to provide multiyear support for community organizing efforts by ten African American-led nonprofits; and $3 million to the NDN Collective in support of the self-determination of Indigenous peoples, including efforts to address the underlying conditions contributing to poor health outcomes resulting from COVID-19.
The grants were funded by proceeds from MacArthur's $125 million social impact bond offering — part of a joint effort by five foundations to increase their grantmaking by $1.725 billion over two years with the goal of stabilizing and sustaining a nonprofit sector struggling with the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 and an epidemic of racial injustice.
"Philanthropy, like the organizations and projects we are supporting, must organize and consolidate our collective resources to meet the moment and fund a movement," said MacArthur Foundation president John Palfrey. "Systemic racism is a clear and present danger in America. To hasten an equitable recovery and the transformation of communities in the wake of the pandemic, we are committed to a BIPOC-led reimagining of what is possible that prioritizes their vision and needs."
(Photo credit: MacArthur Foundation)