Hartford Foundation Seeks Proposals for Greater Hartford Civic Engagement and Get Out the Vote Efforts
Since 2018, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has provided nearly $1 million in grants to encourage greater civic engagement and increase voter participation across Greater Hartford. This week, the Foundation opened a new request for proposals to support nonpartisan efforts that engage underrepresented voters. The Foundation welcomes requests between January 16 and February 20 of up to $25,000 for activities through fall of 2024.
Research shows consistently low rates of voter registration and turnout among particular populations in our region, referred to as “underrepresented voters.” The populations in Greater Hartford with the lowest rates of voter participation are people of color, especially Black and Latine voters; young voters between the ages of 18-29; and residents of the City of Hartford. As of 2019, Enfield, Hartford, and Manchester had the most eligible residents that have not yet registered to vote. In addition, CTData Collaborative’s 2020 Presidential Findings highlights that East Hartford, East Windsor, Enfield, and Manchester had the lowest voter turnout in the region (other than Hartford).
The Hartford Foundation recognizes civic participation—including voting—as one of the most impactful ways to create sustained, positive change in one’s everyday life. Research indicates that higher levels of civic trust, participation, and engagement are correlated with more equitable economic outcomes, positive health outcomes, and lower crime rates.
“Hartford Foundation’s civic engagement and get out the vote RFP seeks to support organizations and community groups as they work to increase voter participation in the 2024 election,” said Cynthia Wills, Community Impact Officer. “We encourage organizations to work together to coordinate strategies that educate residents on the voting process, register new voters, and conduct outreach that encourages underrepresented voters to cast their ballot, as evidence shows that civic participation leads to a stronger community and democracy.”
Grants will be considered for projects that can help increase voter registration and participation. Preference will be given to organizations and groups that are Black or Latine-led, which are more proximate to the lived experience of most of the region’s underrepresented voters. Increased consideration will also be given to organizations and groups with proposed activities that are focused in Hartford neighborhoods or Greater Hartford towns with low voter registration and/or engagement.
Applicants must be registered as 501c3 nonprofit organizations. Non-501c3 community-based groups may apply using a fiscal sponsor that has 501c3 status. Hartford Foundation grantee criteria can be found here.
Examples of activities eligible under this grant opportunity include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Nonpartisan debates, forums, and voter guides
- Voter registration
- Voter education (e.g., sharing information about the voting process and elections)
- Raising awareness on voter issues (e.g., healthcare, housing, education)
- Participating in “Get Out the Vote” activities on Election Day
- Providing support to remove barriers to voting on election day (e.g., transportation to polling locations)
- Assisting voters with disabilities, language barriers, or in need of special assistance to participate in voting
- Publicizing a voter information line or website to help answer questions about early voting or polling
- Sponsoring a candidate forum for all the candidates on the ballot in a town or district
- Other related efforts that promote civic engagement
Organizations will be asked about previous experience in best practices with engaging underrepresented voters such as communities of color and young voters. They will also be expected to comply with IRS guidelines for nonprofits engaging in voter education and mobilization. Applicants should be able to conduct civic engagement activities from the grant award date (expected April 2024) through the November 2024 presidential election.
Eligibility and other program-related questions can be directed to Cynthia Wills at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any technical questions regarding completing the online application should be directed to Grants Administration at email@example.com.
Applicants should complete all required questions of the online application by February 20 in order to be eligible for funding consideration. Each organization is invited to submit one proposal.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding towns. Through partnerships, the Foundation seeks to strengthen communities in Greater Hartford by putting philanthropy in action to dismantle structural racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $948 million since its founding in 1925. For more information, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.
 Abraham, M., Seaberry, C., Ankrah, J., Bourdillon, A., Davila, K., Finn, E., McGann, S., Nathan, A. (2019) Greater Hartford Community Wellbeing Index 2019. New Haven, CT: DataHaven.