In 2018, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving launched its first nonpartisan voter registration initiative for Greater Hartford. Known as Get Out the Vote (GOTV), the objective was to reach out to populations least likely to participate in federal, state and local elections: young adults, Latinx and Black residents and people living in high poverty neighborhoods. Thirteen community-based nonprofits successfully registered more than 1,000 new voters and received 1,500 pledges to participate in the 2018 elections.
Building off lessons learned from the 2018 effort, the Hartford Foundation initiated an open call for proposals supporting voter registration and engagement along with participation in the 2020 Census (Get Out the Census, or GOTC). The Hartford Foundation has awarded 20 grants totaling $448,400 over eighteen months to support voter engagement in 2019 and 2020 as well as Census participation activities.
Across the 20 grants for 2019 and 2020, nonprofits will reach several underrepresented demographic groups and geographic areas using a mix of strategies, including canvassing, phone banking, outreach at neighborhood events such as parades and festivals, internet and text messaging, special events such as voter registration drives, one-on-one assistance and embedding conversations into ongoing operations. Six of the recommended grants focus on GOTV activities, three on GOTC activities, and 11 include both. The work is concentrated in Hartford, with a particular focus in north and south end neighborhoods. Projects will also reach underrepresented residents in hard-to-count areas in Bloomfield, Manchester and East Hartford.
“Community voice, such as participation in the electoral process, is vital to creating and sustaining more vibrant communities,” said Hartford Foundation President Jay Williams. “As the community foundation for Greater Hartford, we believe we have a role to play in helping local nonprofit organizations deliver the educational and outreach efforts that encourage people to register, learn about the issues that affect them and cast their ballot on Election Day. Our support of Census 2020 outreach efforts reflects how crucial it is to have a fair and accurate count of our residents. Our communities, our region and our state rely on a fair and accurate Census to secure billions in federal funding to support our schools, social services and infrastructure. These determinations ultimately impact policies and programs in the public, nonprofit and private sectors.”
According to the CT Data Collaborative, historically hard-to-count tracts in our region include Hartford, East Hartford and Manchester, with the highest non-responsive tracts in Hartford (70 percent), Manchester (17 percent) and East Hartford (13 percent). Reduced federal and state funding for Census outreach combined with confusion over the proposed citizenship question risks suppressing participation further in these particular tracts.
The following organizations are engaging in Get Out the Vote and Get Out the Count (Census) activities:
Advocacy to Legacy
Connecticut Students for a Dream (through its fiscal agent, United We Dream Network, Inc.)
Full Citizens Coalitions (through its fiscal agent, Christian Activities Council)
Hartford Next (formerly known as Hartford 2000)
Health Equity Solutions
Latino Community Solutions, Inc.
San Juan Center, Inc.
University of Connecticut, Humphreys Institute
The following organizations are engaging in Get Out the Vote Activities:
o Community Renewal Team
o Hartford Health Initiative
o Hartford Knights Corporation
o Hartford Parent University
o Upper Albany Neighborhood Collaborative
o YWCA Hartford Region
In recognition of National Voter Registration Day, YWCA Hartford Region is holding a voter registration event, Tuesday, September 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Main Lobby and 7th Floor of Capital Community College.
The following organizations are engaging in Get Out the Count (Census) activities:
East Hartford Public Library
Hartford Public Library
Make the Road
In addition to providing grant support for nonprofit Census outreach efforts, Hartford Foundation staff also serve on state and local Complete Count Committees that include government, community organizations and the Census Bureau. Their objectives are to share information and resources, and to collaborate on Census outreach efforts.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $750 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.