Announcing Voter Engagement grantees

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is happy to announce our 2022 MCN Voter Engagement Grants recipients!

Category 1 Grantees ($5,000)
Category 2 Grantees ($10,000 – $25,000) 
Access Press African Career Education and Resources, Inc. (ACER)
Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) American Indian OIC
Community Stabilization Project CAPI USA
East Side Freedom Library Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN)
Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota Communidades Organizado el Poder y la Accion Latina (COPAL)
Hired Hmong American Partnership
Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota Pillsbury United Communities
Indian Cultural Association of MN (ICAM) SEWA-AIFW
Karen Organization of Minnesota The Anika Foundation – Black Votes Matter MN
LifeGate Services The Arc Minnesota, Inc.
Lincoln Park Resource Center  
Living Well Disability Services  
Minnesota Independence College and Community (MICC)                        
The MN Village Org  
Partnership Resources Inc.  
Project FINE  
Rise, Inc.  
The Aliveness Project  
Transforming Generations  
Urban Homeworks  
Unite Cloud  

Nonprofits play an important role in people’s everyday lives. Whether it is encouraging their neighbors to vote, providing financial support for rental assistance, or advocating for equity in legislation, nonprofits are there to support community in a variety of ways.

The last few years have been challenging, filled with uncertainty, and with few moments of joy in between. Voting is one way our voices can be heard and we can shape the future. We know that current laws and systems need improvement (sometimes vast improvement), and active citizenship is one tool for making those changes happen. At MCN, we encourage nonprofits to participate in our democracy by conducting voter registration and encouraging voting, lobbying to expand voter rights, and working in coalition to build power together as nonprofits.

Nonprofits who conduct voter engagement this election cycle will be educating eligible voters on newly redrawn districts, correcting misinformation following 2020 elections, and increasing voter registration, and encouraging voting to make sure Minnesotan voices are heard and represented.

Thank you to the McKnight Foundation and another anonymous funder for supporting democracy work in Minnesota. This funding directly builds nonprofit capacity for community advocacy.

Our grants review selection process

We want to thank all of our grant applicants for applying to MCN’s 2022 Voter Engagement grants! When we launched this new grants program, we expected significant interest from nonprofits to conduct voter engagement work, however we were extremely surprised by the final numbers. 90 organizations applied for a total of $1,225,816 in grant requests.

At that time, we had $197,000 to re-grant to organizations from the McKnight Foundation and another anonymous foundation who are prioritizing support for democracy work in Minnesota. After staff looked through the applications and read all of the innovative engagement strategies organizations were planning, we were compelled to go back to our funders and request more funds for these grants. We received an additional $143,000 for voter engagement grants bringing our grand total to $340,000 to re-grant. That means we could only fund 27% of the grant applications, making the grants review committee’s job quite difficult.

We gathered a grants review committee comprised of six individuals – a mix of nonprofit partners, MCN board members, and staff with diverse racial and geographic backgrounds and experience in grantmaking and advocacy work. We each reviewed grant applications and made recommendations based on the grant framework, including prioritized populations, geography, voter engagement and budget plan, and for Category 2 applicants, also having a history of successful community organizing. We had several meetings that included thoughtful and deep discussions on the grant applications and then ultimately selected and finalized grantees. We had hard decisions to make as this was a competitive process with limited funds. Our selected grantees range from disability organizations in the Twin Cities to Asian American organizations engaging folks in the suburbs to Latinx organizations serving Spanish speaking residents in southeast Minnesota.

It is possible that some national organizations will choose to fund voter engagement work in Minnesota on a more “last-minute” timeframe. If we hear of these opportunities, we will use the applications we received to make connections between those national organizations and nonprofits in Minnesota with proposals for voter engagement work.

Thank you to all of nonprofits who are taking time to conduct voter engagement work for the upcoming elections. Please remember to vote on August 9 for primaries and November 8 for generals!