Nearly $10M in Democracy Grants from Blank Family Foundation Announced

Friday, October 29th, 2021

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation today announces the first set of grants from its new Democracy program area. The portfolio of 12 grants totaling nearly $10 million represents a diverse set of organizations with a strong presence in Georgia and the Southeast that are working to ensure all eligible Americans can access their right to vote and participate fully in our democracy.

The Blank Family Foundation Board has chosen Democracy as one of its three new collective areas of giving, in addition to the Environment and Youth Development. This portfolio of Democracy grants is the first to be made from the new areas of giving. The grants are designed to support key democracy organizations with consistent funding during local, state and federal election cycles so that they can be strong and resilient in the face of the ongoing fight for voting rights.

“My family and I have a shared interest in preserving and strengthening our democracy. We believe the right to vote is sacred and must be protected,” said Arthur M. Blank, chairman, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “We acknowledge that we don’t have all of the answers to address the critical issue of voting rights, but we are committed to listening and responding to the people who have made this their life’s work and to the citizens they serve. We’re honored to work with and learn from these grantees to make a difference now and to shape the future work of our foundation.”

Over the next two years, the foundation will learn with and from the nonprofits in the Democracy portfolio to further understand the types of investments and long-term strategies that will result in the truest voting access and civic participation in Georgia and beyond. The foundation hopes to learn more from this grant portfolio about key topics that will inform its future Democracy strategy, including: key opportunities and challenges for systems change at the local, state and national levels to expand voting access; how grantee partners might work together to bridge divides in today’s highly polarized environment so that our democracy and civic life are stronger; and the role that sport and entertainment can play in promoting civic participation and corporate citizenship as a core American value.

To create an inclusive space that is open for learning, the foundation will convene grantees in a community where each will uniquely contribute to a deep learning experience, yielding a dynamic portfolio with opportunities for cross-fertilization of ideas and potentially new collaborations. The diverse portfolio includes long-established organizations, newly-formed nonprofits, national non-partisan institutes, and organizations elevating the voices of the young, disabled, immigrants and voters of color.

“Our democracy is made stronger when we hear from all Americans on the issues of our day whether they be national or local. This must happen more often than the presidential election cycle of every four years, because there’s no offseason for democracy,” added Blank.

The first set of grantees are: Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, ACLU Foundation, Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, Brennan Center for Justice, Center for Election Innovation & Research,Common Cause Education Fund, Fair Count, GALEO Latino Community Development Fund, Georgia Alliance for Progress Education Fund, NEO Philanthropy State Infrastructure Fund, New Georgia Project and ProGeorgia. More information about the grantees is available here.