Liberty Vote! Supports Electoral Organizing in This Election & Beyond

by raymond on October 28, 2020

Liberty Hill Foundation recently announced the relaunch of its Liberty Vote! initiative, which supports nonpartisan electoral engagement efforts through grants and other electorally-focused initiatives to build power at the grassroots level in L.A. County’s most disenfranchised communities.

This initiative funds Electoral Engagement Grants in honor of Liberty Hill’s late board member and former chair Gary Stewart, a pioneering music executive whose lifetime of activism featured strong advocacy for electoral engagement as a path to building community power. 

Grants fund voter engagement and outreach, education, and organizing efforts by community organizations dedicated to social and economic justice. Liberty Vote! also funds support for key ballot initiative campaigns spearheaded by grassroots organizers.

“Gary believed in the basic principle of every person having a vote and an equal voice,” said Michele Prichard, Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives for the Liberty Hill Foundation and a longtime friend of Stewart’s. “But he also understood that the barriers and social challenges faced by people who are poor, young, jobless, or don’t speak English, represented an unfair obstruction of democracy that we must work to surmount.”

Liberty Vote!’s Electoral Engagement Grants aim to knock down those barriers, awarding up to $40,000 to help community partners conduct voter engagement and outreach during the 2020 election year. Efforts will include voter education, mobilization, registration, precinct, and community leadership training. These 501c4 partners include CHIRLA Action, Ground Game Action Fund, SCOPE Action Fund, and Community Coalition Action Fund, along with several others.

In addition to these grants, Liberty Vote! will also support ballot initiative campaigns that are spearheaded by grassroots organizers to advance justice and equity, such California Proposition 15, also known as Schools and Communities First, which would raise $12 billion per year in new tax revenue by eliminating property tax breaks for large businesses—funds which would go to support public education and community-based social services.

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) Action, which works with Latino voters who are immigrants and the children of immigrants, said that it's funding from Liberty Vote! enabled the organization to engage 180 of its members in developing a comprehensive voter guide focusing specifically on how critical initiatives on the ballot this fall will affect immigrants and their families.

“Our people want to vote, so we get them all the tools they need to vote, and we give them all the information they need to cast an educated vote,” said Diana Colin, Political Director of CHIRLA Action. “When they understand their ballots, they can really step into the power of using their vote.”

Though currently focused on November’s elections, the ultimate goal of Liberty Vote! is to catalyze long-term change. With year-round attention paid to building civic engagement in communities most impacted by systemic oppression and a focus on everything from mid-term voting to attending public hearings and contacting elected officials, Liberty Vote! seeks to empower communities to create the political pressure necessary to make change possible.