State Infrastructure Fund
The State Infrastructure Fund (SIF) envisions a vibrant American democracy in which all people are empowered to create lasting and positive change in their communities.
Voting is the foundation of our democracy. It is imperative that all eligible Americans—particularly those who have been historically underrepresented at the polls—register, feel empowered and cast a ballot in every election. SIF’s mission is to increase civic engagement and protect voting rights among communities of color and other historically underrepresented communities by funding networks of local leaders and state based-nonpartisan organizations who effectively engage their communities and work with national and state litigation organizations to protect the right to vote.
How We Work
Founded in 2010, the State Infrastructure Fund is one of the most seasoned collaborative funds in the democracy-funding arena. SIF has raised more than $56 million since its inception to support state infrastructure—the totality of issue, constituency, civic engagement and voting rights groups within a state that work together with shared goals around communications, integrated voter engagement and voting rights.
SIF’s grantees are state-based civic engagement tables and organizing groups, many of them affiliated with State Voices. These networks of nonpartisan civic engagement organizations coordinate across issues and communities to agree on a common strategy, allocate roles and responsibility for maximum impact, and measure their collective progress. SIF also helped create and now supports a national voting rights infrastructure, including a collaborative of 12 of the country’s most respected public interest legal organizations.
Currently, SIF is working in twelve states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Because the fund balances consistent multi-year support with nimble and responsive grant making, this list of states may evolve as new opportunities arise.
SIF’s members include: Bauman Foundation, Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, Brico Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, Grove Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation, JPB Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Unbound Philanthropy, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, and two anonymous foundations and several individual donors.
SIF is valued by funders and the field as a forum for collaboration among established civic engagement funders and an onramp for new funders interested in the civic engagement space. It is a vehicle for strategic learning and relationship building with experts and philanthropic partners, and is a platform for smart, coordinated and responsive funding to the civic engagement and voting rights fields. SIF builds relationships and shares learning across the field by hosting briefings and convenings, and by supporting the dissemination of research across the field. As a pooled fund, SIF allows individual funders to have a much broader reach and share in successes they would not be able to fund directly. SIF provides the space to be part of something bigger that furthers the collective reach and impact of individual funders.
From our members
“SIF is the best collaborative fund at creating a center of gravity for both voting rights and civic engagement work that attracts all major and smaller players interested in these fields.”
“SIF provides an opportunity for state– or issue-based funders to connect to the larger field of democracy funding, while lifting up their own examples and expertise.”
“SIF bridges a values-based approach with evidence-based research that tests assumptions and moves us all forward.”
The State Infrastructure Fund is housed at NEO Philanthropy. NEO’s collaborative funds are designed to help donors make more agile and effective national and state-level grants.