By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
American Bridge 21st Century Foundation announced the launch of BridgeTogether, a new c(3) and c(4) fund established to support year-round local grassroots organizing.
Conceived by American Bridge 21st Century Co-Chair Gov. Deval Patrick, BridgeTogether will invest in local community groups that are doing critical work to build and sustain a lasting grassroots infrastructure in their states and regions – beginning with Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.
“Organizing has to go deeper than getting out the vote on the eve of an election cycle,” said Governor Deval Patrick.
“It has to be about forming relationships of trust and support year-round and about listening to and learning from local communities. Civic engagement is the foundation for lasting change and real political power. I want donors who support progressive politics to value and invest in that.”
“Our research has made it clear: women are key to winning elections, and they are exhausted after four years of Donald Trump and a global pandemic. And, we know Democrats wouldn’t have won in 2020 without numerous grassroots organizations led by women and people of color. Grassroots outreach and community building is only more important than last year—not less—and it’s needed now,” said American Bridge 21st Century President Jessica Floyd.
“Whether it’s people who don’t have voting booths in their neighborhoods or those who have never had someone knock on their door, BridgeTogether will invest in grassroots organizations that organize and mobilize their communities to ensure that people from every corner of America are represented.”
The first group of organizations to receive grants will include:
- Vote Riders, which Howard University Professor Carol Anderson called “[an organization that] makes the difference in whether thousands of people get to vote or are disenfranchised”
- 1K Women Strong, who contacted nearly 40,000 households through canvassing and phone banking in Georgia for the 2020 election
- Fair Count, a group founded by Stacey Abrams, which ensures that historically overlooked communities are counted accurately in the U.S. Census
- Unity in the Community, who recently helped thousands of people in South Philadelphia on Election Day by registering people to vote, giving rides to the polls, educating the community on candidates, and much more.
- VetsForward, a voting advocacy group based in Arizona that equips and mobilizes veterans to defend the ideals of our democracy.