Protect Our Democracy (POD) Grants $1.2 Million to Seven Organizations

The Protect Our Democracy (POD) project is excited to announce that it has granted $1.2 million to seven organizations. With the help of consultants from Sojourn Strategies and because of more than 50 generous WDN donors, our grants are on their way right now to the organizations listed below. The breadth and strategic mission of these organizations — to protect democracy by combatting violence, disinformation, and subversion of the vote — will make a critical difference. We hope that those of you who have yet to donate will consider a gift and that existing donors will consider an additional sum. Outside donors are welcome. All additional donations will go to the organizations already selected to help them reach their potential. Instructions are linked here.  

Election Administration and Workers and Lessening Spread of Mis- Dis-information:

The Brennan Center – The Reestablishing Trust in Elections Research Initiative 

The staff of the initiative will do research to understand the attitudes of those who believe the “Big Lie” and then develop messages to push back. They will distribute message guidance throughout 2022 directly to election officials and partners at state and local trainings, conferences, etc.

Project Budget: $250,000 | Grant Award: $100,000

Election Infrastructure Fund: Center for Secure and Modern Elections (CSME) and Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL). In partnership these two organizations will:

(1) address the acute need to run safe, accessible, and secure elections in 2022, (2) advocate for sustained election infrastructure funding at the state and local levels, and (3) support city-driven efforts to promote civic participation

Program Budget: $70 million | Grant Award: $250,000

Power to the Polls is a nationwide initiative to recruit poll workers to ensure safe, fair elections for all voters. In 2022, it intends to recruit 200,000 prospective poll workers by (1) partnering with social media, employers, nonprofits, traditional media outlets, influencers, and more (2) maintaining a technology platform that helps people sign up once recruited, and (3) working with local election officials to ensure people who sign up are trained and assigned to voting sites

Program Budget: $2,700,000 | Grant Recommendation: $130,000

Verified Voting is a nonpartisan organization with a mission to strengthen democracy by promoting the responsible use of technology in elections for all voters. In 2022, Its main goal is to prepare election officials in target states (AZ, GA, NH, NC, OH, PA, TX, VA, WI) to conduct fair and secure elections through advancing long–term solutions that provide voters with evidence-based reassurance around election results. VV is also focused on conducting robust audits and increasing transparency in all aspects of elections to help officials across the country build trust across partisan divides.

Program Budget: $1,838,915 | Grant Recommendation: $130,000

Mitigating Election Violence & Subversion: 

Faith in Public Life has the most extensive and diverse leadership network and database of religious leaders in the nation. In 2022 they are (1) reactivating a National Rapid Response Network of faith leaders across the country; (2) developing deeper infrastructure in Florida, Georgia, and Ohio; and (3) providing rapid response communications and various earned media events.

Program Budget: $775,000 | Grant Recommendation: $150,000

The Trusted Elections Fund has been working with national organizations, election officials, state groups, and funders over the past two years to do scenario planning and to develop election violence mitigation plans. In 2022, they will develop a rapid response distribution process to be able to move funds quickly where needed in the fall.

 Program Budget: $50 million | Grant Recommendation: $300,000

Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) is a nonpartisan research initiative that works to track and mitigate political violence in the United States. They do extensive research to monitor threats of political and election violence and train local leaders– including election officials and community organizations– on what to do to protect democracy in the face of violence– in a way that is accessible and actionable. In 2022, BDI is building a program to provide more direct support to 5 targeted states: Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. With additional resources, BDI will expand its dedicated state support to North Carolina. It is also working to provide strategic advice and support in one to three Republican-controlled Secretaries of State offices. Given its nonpartisan and academic reputation, the intention is to get those offices to understand the value and provide de-escalation training for election workers.

Program Budget: $2,000,000 | Grant Recommendation: $130,000

POD is a new member-led initiative, supported by WDN with a $500,000 matching grant. Members felt the need to extend WDN’s existing work on voter engagement to address problems around the security and integrity of the election processes and personnel as well as to protect the votes once cast. 

POD members include the initial Working Group:  Kathleen Barry, Susan Orkin, Barbara Simons, Michelle Swenson, Wendy Wolf (emeritus) and additional members Nancy Brown, Kathy Carlson, Janet Levinger, Tracy Solomon, Joy Willig, Mary Willis, and Carol Winograd.

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