Tides is thrilled to announce the opening of it’s newest grant-making vehicle, the Civic Participation Fund, which we launch today in response to shrinking resources and growing concerns about Americans’ rightful access to their ballots in 2012.

Civic-engagement efforts — those mission-drive efforts that register, educate and protect voters across the country every year — are chronically underfunded. This year that dynamic is compounded by a super PAC arms race, a protracted primary season and a philanthropic sector facing difficult resource decisions. That’s bad for everyone, especially young people and working folks who sometimes need a little extra support in registering to vote and learning about the many choices they get have at the ballot box. But, hands down, the resource crunch has to be worst for new-majority communities facing the fear-mongering of “Voter ID” laws and related proposals designed to fix problems that mostly don’t exist.

In light of all this, Tides is putting more resources into helping youth, Latino, black, middle-class and low-income voters get registered and get motivated to vote. We’re focusing some of those grant-making efforts through our new Civic Participation Fund, and we invite you to join us.

This Fund will channel money into new-majority voter engagement organizations in two ways:

First, we’re putting our money where our mouth is. Tides is concentrating discretionary funding on filling select organizations’ immediate needs. In the coming weeks, the Fund will begin grant-making with an invite-only round of funding for organizations that conduct coordinated voter-registration efforts.

Second, to help our partners get more resources into the field more quickly this year, the Fund is set up to conduct expedited grantmaking to select organizations during September and October 2012. Through this fund only, and within the scope set by its advisors and recommendation processes, Tides offers our clients a 72-hour grant-making window from a client’s contribution into the fund to a grant out of the fund.

Tides is thrilled about this Fund and we’re looking forward to working with individuals, families and institutions across the country to focus more resources into organizations with proven track-records of registering and engaging voters.

We are already starting to put together a tailored portfolio of organizations for our first round of grantmaking this spring. If you care as deeply as we do about making sure that the voices of new-majority communities are heard in 2012 and beyond, we invite you to contact us to learn more. You can reach the fund any time at [email protected]

Let’s get started.