Citizen Engagement Lab Education Fund Sets Up Partners for Progressive Wins

May 19, 2016

The Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL) Education Fund empowers tech-savvy, people-powered organizing initiatives. It supports the use of technology and digital media to keep the public informed about how key institutions like government, corporations and the media are affecting their lives. By providing opportunities for people to become informed and then act on their individual and collective concerns, it hopes to inspire and create real societal change. Thanks to funding from Voqal, the CEL Education Fund and its partners were able to make great strides in this area during 2015.

The CEL Education Fund accomplished three important goals with this support. First, it strengthened and scaled effective social change-based organizations through its Acceleration program. This initiative supported six new social change projects with partners working on a range of issues, from upgrading basic civic technologies to addressing human rights issues on the U.S./Mexico border. In addition, the CEL Education Fund partners contributed to major wins on net neutrality and a campaign in which Starbucks workers won demands and built a global peer network.

Second, it served as a risk-taking laboratory through its Innovation program. It expanded its Climate Lab through the launch of Faces of Fracking, a multimedia journalism project, and the Climate Relief Fund, which raised more than $160,000 for communities affected by climate disasters. In addition, the CEL Education Fund launched the Culture Lab and Cultural Pulse, a project that tracks pop culture news and storylines and provides tools and action tips to advocacy groups.

Finally, it connected emerging and developed groups to build deeper networks through its Collaboration program. As part of this effort, the CEL Education Fund launched the OPEN-US Kairos Fellowship, a fellowship aimed at tackling the lack of representation of diverse communities in tech-fueled campaigning roles. Through a robust training program, the fellowship created a peer learning cohort where fellows built community and learned directly from experts in the field. It also published the Beyond Vanity Metrics report with Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace. The report was covered by the Stanford Social Innovation Review and offered suggestions for how groups can more effectively measure engagement.

Thanks to Voqal’s support, the CEL Education Fund was able to expand its efforts to empower progressive organizations. By focusing on the core areas of Acceleration, Innovation, and Collaboration it has been able to focus its efforts at supporting true societal change in 2015 and beyond. Voqal is a strong supporter of utilizing technology and the people behind it to create long, lasting progressive change and looks forward to the CEL Education Fund’s continued work in this area.