Social change platform DoSomething.org has announced commitments of $8.6 million in support of a new initiative to mobilize young people to take civic action.
The funding — $4 million each from the Omidyar Network and Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Greylock Partners and LinkedIn, and $600,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation — will support the organization's efforts to foster a community of leaders and lifelong advocates for critical issues such as criminal justice reform, climate change, civic engagement, and combating Islamophobia. As part of its new civic engagement strategy, the organization also has created an advisory board that includes Faiz Shakir, director of politics for ACLU People Power; Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action; Jennifer Edwards, program director at Color of Change; Abby Kiesa, director of impact at CIRCLE; and Elias Alcantara of Columbia University's Center for Justice.
New initiatives to be funded through the effort include "18 in 18," a yearlong civic engagement campaign targeting youth who will be 18 or older and eligible to vote by the 2018 midterm elections, a population that represents 75 percent of DoSomething.org's current members. Fully aware that the period before age 18 is a critical time for teens, the organization hopes to engage young people before they reach voting age so that they get into the habit of voting and continue to be politically engaged beyond a given election cycle.
The funding also will be used to update the DoSomething.org platform with features that better connect members who want to build a community that is supportive, safe, informed, civically engaged, and inclusive; and to improve its ability to provide accurate, objective, and diverse sources and research about issues that are important to young people.
"To create a healthy, vibrant society we must enable more young people to play a full and active role in civic life," said Stacy Donohue, investment partner at Omidyar Network. "We must give them greater voice and the platforms to share ideas, connect with others, and take action on the issues that matter to them. We're excited to support DoSomething as it seeks to engage millions of young people in civic action to shape our future, strengthen our democracy, and to empower a new generation of leaders."