Mother Africa is a resource center in Kent for African women. COURTESY PHOTO, Mother Africa

Mother Africa is a resource center in Kent for African women. COURTESY PHOTO, Mother Africa

Kent groups receive voter education funds

Mother Africa, Living Well Kent and Kent Black Action Commission

Three Kent groups were selected to receive grants from King County Elections and Seattle Foundation to help get more people to vote in historically underrepresented communities.

Mother Africa will receive $30,000, Living Well Kent $15,00 and the Kent Black Action Commission $15,000, according to a Thursday email from Kendall Hodson, chief of staff for King County Elections.

Thirty-nine community-based groups will receive $950,000 to provide nonpartisan voter outreach in 2019-2020 as part of the Voter Education Fund sponsored by the Seattle Foundation, which is composed of philanthropists committed to causes at the local, national and global levels.

The Kent Black Action Commission was formed in 2011 to improve and promote the social, economic, political, spiritual and educational conditions of the black community in Kent and South King County. Its work will include voter registration booths, civic engagement events and get out the vote advertising focused on the Kent and South King County community, Hodson said.

Mother Africa is a resource center for African women who came here as immigrants and refugees. The center will will be focused on building trust in the system, especially with women and families from refugee and immigrant communities, Hodson said. Their programming will include education about democracy and voting rights at community events and in many different African languages.

Living Well Kent is a community-driven collaborative focused on creating a healthier, equitable and more sustainable city of Kent. It will be doing voter education and registration at local community events such as the East Hill Farmer’s Market.

Previous cycles funded organizations on an annual basis. The Voter Education Fund is shifting to a two-year grant cycle to ensure organizations have the resources they need to do significant voter engagement through 2020.

“This is our largest cohort ever, and I’m thrilled to see 11 new organizations joining us this cycle,” said Julie Wise, Director of King County Elections, in a county news release. “Their work will be critical to getting out the vote in what promises to be an exciting local election year and an epic 2020 presidential election.”

Organizations are being funded at two levels: up to $40,000 to develop a two-year campaign to engage voters or potential voters, or up to $15,000 to provide a series of smaller activities through 2019 and 2020.

“Stewarding our democracy and investing in civic engagement for all of our residents is one of our highest callings as a community Foundation,” said Tony Mestres, President and CEO of Seattle Foundation. “The Voter Education Fund has increased voter turnout and participation in our community and this new two-year cycle of funding will dramatically grow those efforts.”

Grantees serve a wide array of communities, including communities of color, limited-English speaking residents, low-income youth, veterans, people experiencing homelessness and people who have been convicted of a felony, according to the news release. This cycle places an increased emphasis on voter outreach to people with disabilities, African American and Native American voters, and historically marginalized residents in South King County.

Organizations receiving funding will attend an orientation and training workshop at King County Elections during the week of June 3.

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