November 10, 2017
Our series featuring Voqal’s recent strategic review of its philanthropic investments to address money in politics continues this week as we take look at the third of six recommendations from the Taking Money Out of Politics: A Weighty Lift report. Missed the last couple of blog posts? Check out the first and second recommendations now.
Recommendation 3: Maintain focus on diversity and inclusion.
Through its support of grassroots groups in Seattle and Dēmos’ new Inclusive Democracy Project (IDP), Voqal has positioned itself as a leader and a funder committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our sources noted the great potential of connecting in authentic ways with the nation’s surging Latinx and millennial populations on this issue and yet currently there is no dedicated organizing capacity to make it a priority beyond occasional targeting efforts in state and local campaigns. It is necessary to identify and invest more systematically in local, state and national organizations educating and mobilizing Latinos and millennials. Investing in empowering these communities in a more concerted and intentional manner could make a significant difference going forward given the rising influence of these populations.
In addition, Dēmos did not have the capacity to meet the demand in other states and localities where its leadership development work could have had an impact. Building on the momentum of Seattle and the success of the IDP to date, Voqal (and other funders) could consider a longer-term, multi-year funding commitment to help Dēmos reach more communities in the future where leadership capacity among people of color is needed.
It would also be helpful to work with Dēmos to assess the resource needs of the leaders emerging from the IDP cohorts to identify specific gaps in organizational capacity in the field where campaigns may be in the planning stages. This would lend some resource continuity as leaders exit the program and return to their communities to apply all that they have learned, while capitalizing on the momentum of the IDP investment.
Interested in taking a deeper dive into Voqal’s efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics? Download the Taking Money Out of Politics: A Weighty Lift and Balancing the Scales: The Fight for Our Democracy reports.