About the Minnesota Democracy Expansion Fund
Minnesota policymakers strengthened and expanded Minnesota’s democratic systems during the 2023 legislative session. From Restore the Vote to improved language access on ballots to automatic voter registration and more, Minnesota enacted a sweeping set of historic reforms that will expand the electorate, increase voting access, and add safeguards against threats to our democracy.
But enacting new policies is not enough. Implementation of these new policies is underway, and now is the time to invest in community awareness and a successful roll out of these reforms. This investment is essential to ensuring our state achieves the full benefit and impact of these inclusive democracy reforms over the coming months and years. Outreach, education, and organizing through trusted messengers is needed to get the word out and encourage communities to take advantage of these expanded opportunities.
The Minnesota Democracy Expansion Fund is a statewide fund open to organizations doing work in communities throughout Minnesota. MCF anticipates awarding $300,000+ in grants, ranging from $15,000 to $40,000, depending on the depth and scale of the proposed efforts to support implementation of democracy reforms. These one-year grants will be for work happening throughout 2024.
A modest portion of these dollars are designated for supporting work on the East Side of St. Paul (Payne-Phalen, Greater East Side, Dayton’s Bluff, and Battle Creek-Highwood as seen in MN Compass). Organizations that are doing work in these neighborhoods are encouraged to highlight that in their applications.
Goals of the Minnesota Democracy Expansion Fund
- Support community organizations to serve as trusted messengers to do outreach, education, and organizing around Minnesota’s recent democracy reforms.
- Reach and engage historically underrepresented communities, such as: young people; BIPOC communities; lower-income residents; non-English speakers, renters; those with felony convictions that were still on parole; and 16- and 17-year-olds in pre-registration.
Funding will go to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations to do voter and community education, engagement, and organizing work, focused on raising awareness and encouraging participation in the expanded opportunities for civic engagement brought about in the 2023 legislative session. Collectives and coaltions are welcome to apply with the expectation that a designated grantee is required to be named for a group application. All activities must be carried out by 501c3 nonprofit organizations (or fiscally sponsored organizations) and conducted in a nonpartisan manner.
This funding could support nonprofits doing activities such as, but not limited to:
- voter education with Minnesotans who are no longer incarcerated for a felony conviction.
- raising awareness and organizing communities that have experienced language barriers in exercising their right to vote.
- engaging 16- and 17-year-olds in pre-registration and civic engagement activities
- partnering with Minnesota’s Indigenous communities to formally request the addition of temporary polling places on Indian reservations, as desired.
- encouraging voters to join the new permanent absentee ballot list, such as seniors, those with disabilities, those in rural areas, etc.
- raising awareness with civic engagement partners and communities around new changes to expand early voting, automatic voter education, voter and election worker protections, voter assistance, being absent from work to vote, additional disability accommodations, additional time to return absentee ballots, etc.
- Grantees will conduct all activities in a nonpartisan manner.
- Grantees will use funds for the intended purposes and will not engage in illegal activities. Note that it is illegal to provide incentives for people to vote (More info at Bolder Advocacy)
- Grantees will need to track to the best of their ability and report the number of contacts made through various activities funded by this grant, such as attendees at events, social media connections, calls made, etc. This information will be requested at the time of evaluation (anticipated December 2024). The evaluation form will also ask grantees to identify the strategies and activities conducted during the grant project and a description of community impact.
- Grantees will participate in a convening during summer 2024 to share experiences with outreach and implementation of new laws and opportunities for improvement.
The application process will open on October 11, 2023, and will close on November 15, 2023. Funding decisions will be made before December 31, 2023, with notices being issued, and funding delivered, in January 2024.
The following criteria will be considered when reviewing the proposals:
The application for this fund has closed.
For questions about the fund and eligibility, contact May Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org