Tides Is All In On “All By April”: We’re Meeting the Moment that Our Democracy Demands

Tides Foundation recognizes community organizers urgently need funding to mobilize voters early in the election cycle and get ahead of disinformation. That’s why we’ve pledged to make 80 percent of our democracy-related grantmaking by April 30, 2024 through the All By April philanthropic campaign. Organizers on the frontlines of civic engagement know how to inform and energize voters, but funders must take action now.

Why is early funding important? When I was the board chair of the 140,000-member statewide student association in Wisconsin in 2012, we received an exciting call from a funder on Halloween that they were going to grant us $100,000, the largest foundation grant ever offered to our dues-funded organization. The catch? We had to stand up a nonpartisan campus election protection program and spend all the funds within the next seven days. We turned down that grant opportunity. If the funder had reached out to us earlier, we could have told them exactly what we would recommend doing with the grant, and this could have helped bridge our voter education efforts into continued campus organizing after the election. In the end, no one ran an election protection program focused on protecting students’ voting rights in Wisconsin in 2012.

Funders and donors cannot make these types of missteps in 2024 without risking the future of our democracy. Voters in 22 states will face new restrictions and barriers to voting that take effect this year. The outcome of the presidential election will determine the next generation of judicial appointments, the timeline of our national transition to renewable energy, and our country’s position on the global stage. Beyond the top of the ticket, voters will make critical decisions about how and when they can access reproductive health care, who will represent their interests in statehouses across the country, and who will interpret voting rights policy in state courts.

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In numerous states, elections up and down the ballot will come down to a handful of votes. We believe we can only solve the big issues of our time — economic inequality, racial justice, reproductive rights, and climate change — if we have a democracy where everyone can participate and which responds to all of its people. To make good on the promise of democracy, it is imperative in 2024 that canvassers knock on every door in local communities, youth groups register every student, and organizations mobilize every member to turnout their neighbors.

In this year’s close electoral contests, we believe everyone should be able to cast their ballot so that they have a say in our nation’s future. But in an era when trust in government has cratered, state legislatures have passed new restrictions on voting, and mis- and disinformation about the election has polluted the media environment, millions of people are disaffected from the political system and are unsure if casting a ballot is worth their time in 2024.


Engage Miami Partner of Alliance for Youth Organizing, a Healthy Democracy Fund grantee — registers communities of color to vote.


Trust is the key factor needed to turnout disaffected voters. Organizations can only move at the speed of trust that they have with community members. A canvasser is just a canvasser when they read off a script in October. But a canvasser becomes a trusted leader when they talk to their neighbors year-round, understand their communities’ needs, and make the case for why voting is a crucial step in a credible plan to meet these community needs. This kind of relationship-building takes time. Early funding allows organizations to recruit and train ordinary people to become powerful, long-term trusted community leaders. Late funding, which is all too common, impedes organizations’ ability to build the trust needed to turnout disaffected voters.

Now is the time to invest in leaders and organizations. In 2023, Tides Foundation awarded $140 million through more than 1,500 grants for civic participation, democracy, and community organizing to 501(c)(3) organizations and nonpartisan charitable projects housed at 501(c)(4) organizations. Grantmaking from the Tides Healthy Democracy Fund in 2023 provided resources to organizations to turnout out voters in high profile state court elections and reproductive rights ballot measures, laid the groundwork for voter engagement programs in 2024, and advanced voting rights that will increase long-term participation among BIPOC and young voters.

In 2024, supporters of the Healthy Democracy Fund, alongside many partners at Tides, will ramp up its giving for community leaders who are building a more inclusive democracy. The Healthy Democracy Fund is meeting the urgency of this moment by matching the scale of our total 2023 grantmaking by early March 2024. We invite you to join us in supporting the field of trusted leaders early and go all in on All By April with us.