Movement Voter Project (MVP) works to strengthen progressive power at all levels of government by helping donors – big and small – support the best and most promising local community-based organizations in key states, with a focus on youth and communities of color.
We support hundreds of incredible organizations that both turn out unlikely voters and organize communities to grow their power and create transformation, from policy to the streets. We believe that supporting local movement vote groups is the most effective and most cost-effective strategy to transform our country.
There are thousands of grassroots organizations working to build a true democracy and move the U.S. forward on issues of economic fairness, racial justice, immigrants rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, access to healthcare, and environmental sustainability. But not nearly enough direct funding or individual donations go to these groups. In the meantime, billions of dollars are spent each election cycle on TV ads and consultants. We are working to change that!
At MVP, we believe in organizing and organizers. We know that the way to win is by working at the intersections of social movements, grassroots communities, and elections to ensure that we both win big in 2020 and build long-term progressive power. Our job is to:
Empower donors – from grassroots donors to major donors to foundations – to embrace the impacts of their resources beyond elections. We connect them to the most effective grassroots voter organizations in the country that are mobilizing their communities in critical battleground states and districts where we must win in 2020 and build organizing power that lasts beyond the election cycle.
Move resources to directly impacted communities. We recommend both 501(c)(3) non-partisan groups and explicitly progressive 501(c)(4), 527, PAC, State PAC, or Super PAC groups that work in communities representing the true diversity of the American people: in communities of color; among working class, rural, low-income, LGBTQ, elderly and young/new voters and voters with disabilities, among students, renters, veterans, new Americans, those for whom English is a second language or isn’t spoken at all, and others who may have additional barriers or need additional support to have their voices heard in the civic process.
Create new opportunities to fund the impossible and possible. We seed exciting, new, under-the-radar projects and get them on the map. We also work with movements, organizers, and leaders nationally and locally to develop electoral interventions in ways that work for them.
In advance of each election cycle, we identify the geographies most in need of investment by looking at key upcoming national, state, and local races. We draw on in-depth political analysis and aggregated polling, coupled with the insights from our national and state advising teams. Where possible, we look for opportunities to amplify our impact by investing in locations that have multiple important races up and down the ballot.
Based on our analysis of electoral priorities and organizational capacity, we cluster states in tiered priorities and develop individual state-by-state investment targets.
To identify and select groups in each state, we engage in a group vetting process led by a team of skilled state advisors who bring years of experience focused on local, in-state movement building and political campaign work.
In each geography, we try to fund multiple groups with different strengths to build a mutually-supportive and resilient organizing ecosystem. We focus on funding groups that do year-round local organizing work and voter mobilization work during election cycles, with a strong emphasis on people of color and youth organizations.
History & Success
In early 2016, we spent six months consulting with more than fifty experts to develop an initial list of local movement groups organizing in communities across the country. During 2016, we invested in four small New Hampshire organizations who contacted 85,000 voters in communities being overlooked by national groups because they didn’t historically vote at as high a rate. This organizing definitively swung a US Senate race, electing Maggie Hassan by 1,027 votes. We also invested in eight organizations that helped swing the North Carolina Governor’s race by 4,716 votes and helped swing control of the Nevada State Senate by 1,036 votes, yielding a harvest of policy wins from climate to criminal justice.
We were deeply dismayed by the broader outcome of the 2016 election, but we did not stop organizing. In Alabama’s special Senate election in 2017, MVP played an especially unique role in seeding, helping to incubate, and funding two major locally-driven, Black-led GOTV efforts: Woke Vote and Black Voters Matter Fund (which in turn supported 35 groups in 17 counties). These groups drove historic black turnout to flip yet another US Senate race and drive Doug Jones to victory.
We organize for the long game. MVP-supported groups like New Virginia Majority have been building power in Virginia for years – and in 2019 they helped Virginia Democrats win state elections across the board. Democrats now have trifecta control in a state that was controlled by Republicans just six years ago. This has already translated to key policy victories including automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, a 30% increase in the VA minimum wage, in-state tuition for undocumented and refugee college students, prohibitions on discrimination by public health insurance providers based on gender identity or transgender status, ban the box legislation, and several new laws strengthening environmental protections.
These are just some of our successes. In addition to driving electoral victories, MVP has been the first funder to seed or incubate more than 30 gap-filling organizations in key states. This includes groups like North Dakota Native Vote, Lancaster Stands Up (Pennsylvania), Florida Student Power Network, and Faith Organizers Alliance (the major African-American voter engagement group in Nevada).
We are only getting started. By making long-term investments in groups organizing their communities and turning out voters, we can build lasting power and make the 2020s a progressive decade.