Hartford Foundation Awards Nearly $240,000 in Grants for Greater Hartford Voter Engagement Efforts

Over the past seven years, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has provided more than $1 million in grants for voter education and registration activities across Greater Hartford. After opening a request for proposals in January, the Foundation has awarded nearly $240,000 in grants to fourteen nonprofit organizations to support nonpartisan voter engagement activities leading up to the general election in November.

The Arc Connecticut in collaboration with CT State Independent Living Council (CSILC) received a $10,000 grant to support extensive civic engagement for persons with disabilities through a series of GOTV activities statewide. Activities will include a voter registration event at the Hartford Latino Festival and a candidates’ forum on disability issues which will include voter education, registration and a demonstration of how to vote using the accessible voting machines. The Arc is also working with the  Connecticut Family Support Network to engage with members of the Spanish-speaking disability community as part of this advocacy effort. The goal of the program is to engage at least 1,000 people through hosting ten separate events and register 300 new voters.

"This grant will allow us to ensure that the disability vote does count,” said Carol Scully, director of advocacy at The Arc. “Far too often people with disabilities have felt marginalized and unwelcome at the polls. Having the opportunity to engage with candidates and discuss the issues that impact this community is crucial to ensuring issues such as access to day programs and basic human needs such as food, and housing, including rental assistance are addressed by policymakers. People with disabilities, including our Spanish speaking residents, can and should have their voices heard and be a part of the decision-making process.”

The Asian Pacific American Coalition of Connecticut (APAC) has received a $25,000 grant to support its efforts to increase civic related knowledge amongst local Asian populations in an effort to increase voter participation among the APA community. Activities include voter registration, translations of voter education materials into eight APA languages that are most commonly spoken in Greater Hartford. APAC hopes to register at least 1000 Greater Hartford residents through their campaign, prioritizing community outreach in several Greater Hartford municipalities with large Asian populations including Hartford, Manchester, Rocky Hill, South Windsor, and West Hartford.

“This grant will allow APAC to expand its community engagement work by focusing on voter engagement where there has been a gap in support,” said Dr. Quan Tran, Co-Chair of APAC’s Board of Directors. “The API community is one of the more diverse and rapidly growing population of citizens in Connecticut. By encouraging more API citizens to prioritize exercising their right to vote, we can ensure that their voices are heard, and their needs are addressed at the state and federal level.”

Over the past five years,  the Foundation has provided support for nonpartisan voter engagement. This year, nonprofits were invited to submit proposals to engage in nonpartisan voter education and mobilization activities in Greater Hartford including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Nonpartisan voter guides
  • Voter registration
  • Strategies that educate voters on the voting process
  • Providing supports 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
  • Publicizing a voter information line or website to answer questions about early voting or polling
  • Sponsoring nonpartisan candidate forums or debates for all the candidates running for a particular office
  • Other related civic education efforts that promote civic engagement

In addition to The Arc Connecticut and Asian Pacific American Coalition of Connecticut, the following organizations received Hartford Foundation voter engagement grants.

Organization Name Program Description Grant Amount
Center for Latino Progress/CPRFThe "Why Should I Vote?" project focuses in the Southend of Hartford increasing the voter education literacy of high-school age youth preparing them to engage with the broader community on issues of voter engagement. Community outreach targets Spanish-speaking populations and offers Spanish language materials and information.  $16,000
Enfield KITE (Key Initiatives to Early Education)The “Your Voice=Your Vote” project will coordinate local partners to engage residents of Enfield through voter registration, a social media campaign, and voter education materials translated into Spanish and Arabic. Partners may include Enfield Loaves and Fishes, Enfield Food Shelf, Stowe Early Learning Center Orientation, Open Houses for their K-2 primary schools, 3-5 intermediate schools, and the Enfield Public Library.$15,000
FaithActs for EducationThe “Faith Votes Hartford 2024” project is a voter education campaign and listening campaign to encourage Hartford voters to engage in immediate and sustained voting and civic engagement in partnership with Hartford churches.$15,000
Goodwin UniversityThe “GU Votes” campaign, whose primary audience is students ages 18-24, is a voter education campaign with education on how to register to vote, absentee voting, how to locate your polling center, when elections are held, and more. The campaign will include on-campus activities, off-campus activities, new campus initiatives and debates and a Get Out the Vote! challenge and celebration. Outreach will engage students at the East Hartford campus and in the East Hartford community.  $20,000
Hartford Next, Inc. (HNXT)The “HNXT 2024 Civic Engagement & Get Out the Vote Project” will seek to leverage multiple platforms and tactics to reach a broad base of Hartford residents. The objective is to meet residents where they are in relevant places, to provide compelling messaging to increase awareness, to educate and to stimulate active engagement for increased voter registration and turnout. $25,000
Hartford Parent University, Inc. (HPU)The Hartford Parent University (HPU) project will engage Hartford parents/residents at Hartford Public Schools to increase voter information. Education sessions around the importance of voting will be provided in English and Spanish with pertinent election dates and ballot instructions. $20,000
Hartford Public LibraryThe Hartford Public Library project will focus on voter awareness and education activities with partners to help increase voter engagement, participation, and registration in Hartford. Voter information sites will be made prominent at all eight library branch locations with bilingual voter engagement signage that will include data and images offering relatable messages around the importance of civic participation, bilingual voting and voter registration information.$17,000
Joe Young Entertainment, LLC (fiscal sponsor: The Conference of Churches, Inc.)The Joe Young Entertainment (JYE) project will focus on the creation and distribution of a comic book version of an informational guide with the City of Hartford entitled “BB GET THE VOTE OUT!.” This project will include print and digital content, and appearances by “BB the Ballot Box” mascot to get attention on the importance of registering and getting out to vote.$5,000
League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford (fiscal sponsor Hartford Access TV)The League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford (LWVGH) project will provide public voting information for the Greater Hartford region with a specific focus in Hartford, West Hartford, Bloomfield, Farmington and other communities through Access TV outlet programming, including debates, forums, printed voter information and websites and LINKS including to LWV online Voter Guide.$15,000
San Juan Center, Inc. (SJC)The "Tu Voz y Tu Voto Cuenta" voter registration campaign will deploy community canvassers to walk Hartford neighborhoods with a focus on the Latine community, educating residents on the importance of voting and representation at the polls and encouraging people to vote through collecting pledges. $20,000
Trinity CollegeTrinity College will conduct a “relational organizing” campaign where staff recruits, trains and empowers a group of Hartford residents to mobilize their social networks as a method of increasing voter participation. This project is in collaboration with the Hartford Votes ~Hartford Vota Coalition.$20,000
West Indian Social Club of Hartford (Fiscal sponsor: Advocacy to LegacyThe West Indian Social Club of Hartford project features a monthly educational series to the community covering topics such as civic engagement, voting, election process, a meet-the-candidates forum, field trip, resident volunteerism, immigration forum, and Poverty Simulation Day for elected officials.$16,352

This Spring, Hartford Votes ~Hartford Vota Coalition was awarded $50,000 over one year to serve as the backbone organization for collaborative civic engagement efforts. The Coalition is a 20-year-old collaborative group which convenes 21 member organizations to support collaborative civic engagement and get-out-the-vote efforts. The Coalition works to increase voter engagement in Hartford, especially among underrepresented or disengaged populations. The Foundation’s grant supports additional convenings in 2024 to develop collaborative efforts among various organizations during the 2024 presidential election cycle.

“We are in a critical election year, and our goal is to encourage residents in Hartford to be civically engaged because there are many issues at stake that have a direct impact on our communities,” said Hartford Foundation Community Impact Officer Cynthia Wills. “The Foundation hopes to build on the positive trend of increased voter engagement by supporting local organizations’ efforts to address a range of factors that have historically discouraged and disempowered residents from participating in local and national elections, particularly among residents ages 18 – 29 and people of color."

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 $998 million since its founding in 1925. For more information, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.