Hartford Foundation Civic Engagement Project 2019: Request for Proposals



Hartford Foundation Civic Engagement Project:
Get Out the Vote (GOTV) & Get Out the Count (GOTC)
Request for Proposals
Hartford Foundation Voter and Civic Engagement Project
June, 2019

Consistent with Hartford Foundation's strategic priorities, our region's progress requires broader awareness of critical issues and meaningful civic engagement by diverse residents.


Key Dates:

  • Conference call to ask questions on application process June 19, 2019.
  • Application deadline July 12, 2019.
  • Grantee notification and start of grant period September 1, 2019.
  • Projects may have a duration of up to 18 months, with a completion date on or before February 28, 2021.

Get Out the Vote

Research shows consistently low rates of voter registration and turn out among particular populations in our region, referred to as "underrepresented voters." Groups in Greater Hartford with the lowest rates of voter participation in our region are: 1) people of color, particularly Hispanics of any race and Black voters, 2) young people, especially those between the ages of 18-24, and 3) residents of Hartford. Elections in 2019 are unlikely to receive the high level of attention from the state and national press that we saw in 2018. However, important local elections in 2019 – including for the mayor of Hartford and other towns in our region – mean that the need for strong voter turnout continues. National elections in 2020 will determine our next President.


*Voter registration activities supported by the Hartford Foundation must be available without regard to the voter’s political preference. Information or other assistance regarding registration or voting shall not be withheld or refused on the basis of support for or opposition to particular candidates, parties or policy position.

Get Out the Count

In addition to the need for continued support to get out the vote, Census 2020 is less than a year away. The Census, as required by the United States Constitution, is vital to our communities. It determines how state and federal dollars are distributed and how congressional seats are apportioned. The data collected through the census impacts policies and programs in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. In our region, hard-to-count tracts include Hartford, East Hartford and Manchester with the highest non-response being in Hartford (70%); Manchester (17%) and East Hartford (13%).

As critical as the Census is to every community in the United States, the 2020 Census has been plagued by leadership transitions at the Census Bureau, low levels of funding, implementation of new technology, and the proposed addition of a citizenship question. At the local level, this has resulted in a lack of information, promulgation of misinformation, and heightened fear, and there is real risk of not achieving a fair and accurate count for the 2020 Census. This would have long-term and devastating effects on our region.

Funding Opportunity

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is pleased to announce continued funding support under its Civic Engagement Project. This project seeks to both enhance local efforts to engage underrepresented voters through GOTV activities in 2019 and 2020 and increase Census 2020 awareness among hard to count residents in the Greater Hartford region through GOTC outreach and other efforts. Nonprofits may apply for funding for either or both GOTV and GOTC activities.

The Hartford Foundation for Civic Engagement Project: Get Out the Vote is a nonpartisan effort of the Hartford Foundation to increase the voter engagement of historically disenfranchised community members drawing upon the strength of nonprofits and individuals committed to improving the quality of life for all. Get Out the Vote's objectives are to increase voter engagement work and improve models for nonprofits to register and engage voters in ongoing activities. Our grants seek to support organizations in reaching people whose voice is underrepresented, connecting them to the upcoming elections via nonpartisan voter engagement activities and providing information about additional opportunities to have a voice in their community.

What are nonpartisan voter engagement activities? Nonpartisan voter engagement activities might include (but not be limited to):

  • Voter registration.
  • Having new and existing voters sign "pledge to vote" cards and other commitment tools.
  • Participating in "Get Out the Vote" (GOTV) activities on Election Day (including primaries).
  • Other related civic education efforts that promote civic engagement.

Hartford Foundation for Civic Engagement Project: Get out the Count is an effort by the Hartford Foundation to increase participation in the 2020 Census, particularly among residents of hard-to-count tracts in Hartford, East Hartford and Manchester. Get out the Count objectives are to increase the distribution of accurate information about participating in the Census, and to engage all residents to complete a Census questionnaire once and in the right place. Our grants seek to support organizations in reaching residents from locations or populations that have been undercounted in previous years' census.


What are Census 2020 Get out the Count activities?

  • Census information dissemination.
  • Census 2020 participation outreach particularly among hard to count populations including but not limited to children 0 to 5 years of age, seniors, immigrants, veterans, and people with disabilities.
  • Questionnaire completion via online, phone, or by mail.
  • Other related civic education efforts that promote the Census and its importance.


General Eligibility for Get out the Vote and/or Get out the Count Grants:

  • Significant portion of the work will benefit residents of the Hartford Foundation's 29-town region.
  • Have an ability to engage underrepresented voters and/or undercounted residents. Communities reached should include people from one or more of the following target groups: 1) people of color, particularly Hispanics of any race and Black voters, 2) young people, especially those between the ages of 18-24, and/or 3) residents of Hartford and/or undercounted census tracts in East Hartford, and Manchester.
  • Can conduct the work for this grant starting from September 1, 2019 for up to a period of 18 months.
  • Are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Community groups that are not incorporated can use another 501(c)(3) organization as a fiscal agent.
  • Board of directors and staff are representative of the racial/ethnic diversity of the region served.


Grants Include:

  • A project grant of up to $25,000.
  • Training and support for conducting nonpartisan voter registration, voter pledge activities, other voter engagement.
  • Resources, materials, and tools for a successful voter registration and pledge to vote program.
  • Resources, materials, and tools for a successful Census 2020 program.


Expectations of Grantees:


  • Commit to engaging at least 200 people in the upcoming election, including:
  1. Registering at least 100 people to vote;
  2. Collecting at least 200 signed pledge to vote cards or through other similar commitment tools; and
  3. Following-up on signed pledges or other similar commitment tools.
  • Consider attending an optional training, including at least the person designated as primary contact and up to a total of three staff members.
  • Support voter turnout in local elections in November, 2019 and/or presidential primaries and national elections in 2020.


  • Commit to sharing accurate information about the Census.
  • Commit to engaging at least 200 people in the upcoming Census.
  • Supporting at least 100 people to complete their Census questionnaire.

For both GOTV and GOTC

  • Designate a primary contact for coordination and communication on this project.
  • Participate in periodic check-in calls with other grantees.
  • Collect, track, and report outcomes.


Kick-Off Training:

A kick-off training will be scheduled between September 9-13, 2019 with the exact date TBD.


To Apply:



Grant applications should be submitted no later than Friday, July 12, 2019. Please join a conference call on June 19, 2019 from 10am-11am to ask any questions you may have about your application or the process to apply. Email Kate Nicome at to register for that conference call.


Questions can also be emailed as follows:

Questions about the application process:

Questions about Get Out The Vote activities, the Census or your project design: Yvette Bello,

Please include "Civic Engagement Project" and your agency's name in the email subject line. Grantees will be notified of funding decisions on September 1, 2019.


About the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving:

The Hartford Foundation is the community foundation for the 29-town Greater Hartford, Connecticut region, dedicated to improving the quality of life for area residents. One of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country, the Hartford Foundation receives gifts from thousands of generous individuals, families and organizations, and works with them to help them achieve their charitable goals. Since 1925, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $720 million and provided a host of other support and training services to a broad range of area nonprofit organizations. Through its Nonprofit Support Program, the Foundation also helps improve the capacity and performance of the region's nonprofit agencies.


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