NEO Philanthropy’s State Infrastructure Fund announced a new $10 million investment from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to support SIF’s mission of building permanent civic engagement and voting rights infrastructure in historically underrepresented communities. The work to increase civic participation and advance voting rights among Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders continues to face persistent and egregious challenges.
“This gift comes at a crucial time for our American democracy,” said Erica Teasley Linnick, Vice President at NEO Philanthropy, who leads the State Infrastructure Fund. “We’re seeing continued attacks on voting rights and repeated attempts to undermine our democratic systems. The pressure is disproportionately on community-based organizations to protect voting rights, expand voting access, and increase civic engagement, especially among historically marginalized groups. This work requires significant resources and doesn’t stop between elections.”
The State Infrastructure Fund provides consistent long-term core funding and capacity building support to more than 120 groups in 15 states across the US. SIF’s goal is supporting strong and sustainable state-level networks outside of election cycle swings. In 2020, the year of SIF’s first $10M grant from Scott, grantees helped achieve historic voter turnout in places like Georgia, overcoming unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic to expand voting access and protect voter rights.
“This investment will go a long way to ensuring these frontline organizations have the resources they need to make certain every voter is able to safely express themselves at the polls,” said Michele Lord, President of NEO Philanthropy.
SIF plans to use the new funding to address two important areas ahead of the 2024 elections: voting rights litigation and voter education. Litigation is a key strategy to protect and advance voting rights, prevent discriminatory practices, and expand access to the ballot. Voter education efforts are especially important to combat disinformation and ensure that all eligible voters know how to vote in their jurisdictions.
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