The Voqal Fund is dedicated to supporting the dissemination of alternative ideas and building a more engaged public to effect progressive social change and disrupt the status quo.

Through our various grant-making and fellowship initiatives, we support nonprofit organizations and individuals using media and technology to empower those who are politically, economically or socially disenfranchised.

Voqal Fund Map of Grants Explore Voqal Fund grants that have had a local impact. Interested in learning instead about national organizations we fund? Check out this list. Or read even more details about select Voqal Fund grants below.

Voqal accepts grant applications by invitation only and occasionally will issue a call for proposals or fellowship nominations and applications. Voqal identifies prospective grantees through grant-maker networks, connecting with experts on priority issue areas, research and the knowledge and expertise of its board members. Because of the volume of inquiries we receive and the limited resources of our team, we cannot accept unsolicited proposals. We screen all prospective partners for alignment with Voqal’s mission, values and philanthropic priorities. If we see a fit, we will invite an online proposal including organizational mission and/or scope of the project, goals and objectives, anticipated outcomes and budget. Voqal rarely makes multi-year grant commitments, but may invite grantees to apply for renewed funding. Voqal encourages its grantees to strive for diversified funding and sustainability, thereby allowing us to explore and nurture new endeavors.

Chicago Digital Media Production Fund Visit Website

The Chicago Digital Media Production Fund provides financial resources to digital media artists in the Chicago area who aim to advance progressive social change through their digital productions for online distribution. Voqal Fund awarded grants to eight Chicago video productions in 2012 and to 14 digital media makers in 2013.

Chicago Youth Voices Network Visit Website

Youth @ the Core – teaching common core literacies through youth-made media
Youth @ the Core is an online educational compendium consisting of youth-made media works and educational materials. The youth-made media works include spoken word poems, videos and writings representing authentic artifacts that are relevant to the experiences and perspectives of a new generation.

The eight instructional guides are designed to engage middle and high school students in motivating learning experiences while developing common core literacies. Each teacher guide is constructed around a high quality original media work made by young participants in community-based after-school media training programs. Each work tackles powerful and contemporary issues that are relevant to lives of today’s student.

Learning activities allow students to not only bring their community experiences into the classroom but also to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to their everyday social and civic lives. It is a participatory learning approach designed to encourage students to become change agents capable of drawing on their community knowledge and social media skills to make a difference in the world.

Voqal Fund’s funding provided support for the initial design of the Youth @ the Core educational package that included curriculum development, completion of teacher guides and an updated website.

ColorOfChange Visit Website

Color of Change Tackles Corporate Accountability, Voting Rights and Criminal and Economic Justice
With Voqal Fund’s support, ColorOfChange tackled several key issues including corporate accountability, voting rights and criminal and economic justice.

In the arena of corporate accountability efforts, ColorOfChange leveraged member voices and energy to hold corporations associated with ALEC accountable for its policies. Through these efforts ColorOfChange has continued to weaken ALEC’s network and their impact; as well as the harm they cause to the Black Americans and the middle class. These efforts and work resulted in over 60 major corporations terminating their ALEC memberships.

ColorOfChange tackled head on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder. This ruling on voting rights was a moment of potential crisis and opportunity for the Black community. More than symbolic, the gutting of key provisions from the Voting Rights Act had real-world consequences for young voters and voters of color across the country. In this moment, ColorOfChange acted quickly to turn member outrage over the setback at the Supreme Court into a sustained movement for voter reform and modernization.

Social justice efforts that have reaped tangible success include:

  • In New York, ColorOfChange worked to organize thousands of its members and partners at Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) to demand an end to the discriminatory Stop and Frisk policing tactic which targets Black and brown New Yorkers and subjects them to suspicion-less stops. As a result, ColorOfChange partners at the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a class action lawsuit arguing that the policing tactic violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers. Working closely with community-based partners, ColorOfChange also launched, an online community that empowers New Yorkers to safely and lawfully observe, record and report officers engaged in abusive or discriminatory policing tactics.
  • In Maryland, hundreds of ColorOfChange members signed onto a campaign calling for the repeal of the death penalty in their state. In this work, ColorOfChange joined a growing coalition of civil rights and faith organizations putting pressure on Senate President Mike Miller, who despite his personal opposition and a history of blocking a vote, relented to public pressure and allowed a full Senate vote on repeal to go forward. From the hard work of Maryland ColorOfChange members and its partners, the Maryland General Assembly voted to repeal the death penalty and Maryland Governor O’Malley signed the repeal into law.
  • In North Carolina, ColorOfChange re-ignited a previous campaign to call the North Carolina State Legislature to stop prosecuting children accused of minor offenses in the adult criminal justice system. North Carolina is one of only two states that automatically prosecutes all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults — without exception — even for low-level, minor offenses. ColorOfChange members in North Carolina and community partners raised their voices to advance anti-youth criminalization efforts during a time when a highly conservative legislature posed substantial barriers. Consistent pressure from our community made a significant difference in stalling efforts to lower the age of adult prosecution and advanced HB 217, a bill to “Raise the Age”, like never before. The fight will continue next session, but as one of only two states that tries all 16 and 17 year olds as adults–no matter how small the crime–the work of the ColorOfChange community in North Carolina this past session is particularly significant.

ColorOfChange has also been hard at work fighting to protect the security of the middle class and the social safety net for the most vulnerable in America. For example, over the past summer, thousands of ColorOfChange members and partners helped build such monumental support for New York’s Earned Sick Time Act that the City Council easily overrode Mayor Bloomberg’s callous veto. The paid sick time benefit will improve the lives of over a million low-wage, largely Black and brown workers. But the sad reality is that millions of Black folks across the country will still report to work tomorrow under inhumane conditions — without the benefit of paid sick time, and to workplaces where wage discrimination, worker abuse and harsh retaliation for speaking up are the norm. There is a great deal of work still to be done.

Hollaback! Visit Website

Mobile Technology Accelerates Exposure of Street Harassment
In 2010 Voqal joined the movement to end street harassment by funding Hollaback!, a nonprofit powered by local activists in 64 cities and 22 countries.

Hollaback! is dedicated to gaining a better understanding of street harassment, to ignite public conversation and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces. Voqal provided funding to create smartphone applications and provide technology for SMS text messaging and online reporting of street harassment. Users are encouraged to speak up when they experience or see harassment by quickly documenting it in a short online post and sharing it to a publicly viewable map.

Additionally, to augment the apps implemented with Voqal funding Hollaback! developed a social marketing campaign targeting bystanders called “I’ve got your back.” The campaign taught people how to intervene and then celebrate when they do. Since its founding, Hollaback has received hundreds of reports of harassment and assault and has reached tens of thousands via social media. Hollaback! has turned into a global movement of online organizing and fighting street harassment using mobile technology.

One Colorado Visit Website

Key Legal Protection Afforded to Thousands of Colorado Couples 
Colorado’s civil union law went into effect at midnight on May 1, 2013. Voqal Fund provided support to One Colorado, the state’s leading advocate for securing and protecting equality opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Coloradans and their families. One Colorado built and led a successful broad-based coalition of nearly 200 volunteers and activist statewide in support of civil unions. The coalition worked to create a positive public climate about gay and lesbian couples and focused on creating non-traditional allies (i.e. communities of faith and Republican leaders and conservatives.) The Colorado Civil Union bill was signed into law by Colorado’s governor on March 21, 2013.

Oregon Progressive Fund

Using Election Data to Effectively Communicate the Need for Social Change
In collaboration with the Oregon Progressive Fund, Voqal Fund has invested in the upgrade and data maintenance of the Voter Action Network (VAN). VAN is one of the most strategic methods of ensuring effectiveness in voter contact and the most effective technical tool to expand the progressive base. It allows for the tracking of election results by helping to target activities successfully such as outreach, education and voter registration, and in designing collaborative efforts among a variety of advocacy and nonprofit organizations.

The VAN is currently accessed through a main subscriber (Our Oregon) by 45 nonprofit organizations throughout Oregon and a handful of campaigns. Each one of the 45 groups specialize in advocacy or community work surrounding a core set of issues and missions whether that be increased civic engagement and/or alignment with progressive ideals. The success of the VAN is in the precise analysis of district profiles, voter turnout and previous election results for candidates and ballot measures showing how progressive a district is relative the state as a whole. The voter file informed the redistricting process giving progressive legislators the tools necessary to evaluate various proposals before arriving at the final map. This effort gave voice to an emerging population of progressive voters, which will result in long-term progressive social change.

Pillsbury United Communities Visit Website

Training Latina Women to be Spokeswomen on Community and Social Justice Issues
With Voqal Fund’s support, Pillsbury United Communities provides Latina women with the skills to be effective community journalists in both digital and traditional formats. There are comparatively few Spanish language news resources dedicated to providing news on community issues and even fewer Latina women reporters. This project created a new avenue for Spanish language news in Minneapolis and supported participants in becoming spokeswomen on community issues and social justice issues.

The media training has been an important component in building leadership and empowering Latina women in the community. The ability of participants to broadcast views, voices, and perspectives in the media makes them more powerful and better advocates for themselves and to promote the important work they are doing in their community. Woman who previously had very little experience with digital technology and media have a whole new world open to them.

After participating in the program, one woman became an engineer for KFAI’s La Voz del Pueblo. Additionally, five of the programs graduates secured work with the Twin Cities Police Department covering a driver’s license campaign for the state of Minnesota.