The Andrew Goodman Foundation Receives $350,000 from the Puffin Foundation to Increase Youth Civic Power
This piece was originally published by Insider NJ on July 19, 2019.
(Upper Saddle River, NJ) – Aspiring to create a better and more just society, the Teaneck, NJ-based Puffin Foundation recently awarded The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) with a multiyear grant of $350,000 to support AGF’s youth civic engagement work including the Vote Everywhere program, Puffin Democracy Fellowship, and National Civic Leadership Training Summit. The funds will be dispersed over the next two years and will be used to increase youth civic power and voting rates, particularly among youth of color.
“The 2018 Midterm Election saw record-breaking levels of youth voting. Unfortunately, in order to have a real impact on elections, they will need to increase their voting capacity even more. This is made even harder by increasing Jim Crow-like voter suppression tactics that are spreading like a contagious virus across the country. States like Tennessee are passing legislation such as the Third Party Voter Registration Law that could criminalize individuals and groups performing the kind of work our AGF Ambassadors and Puffin Democracy Fellows do,” says Maxim Thorne, Esq., Managing Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “Now more than ever, training and empowering the next generation of civic leaders are critical to the survival of our democracy.”
All three of AGF’s program areas focus on the personal and professional development of more than 130 young activists, as they strive to increase youth civic power and voting rates across the United States. The Foundation’s national Vote Everywhere network spans 25 states and Washington, D.C., and has a permanent presence on 59 colleges and universities. Some activists continue to work with the AGF after graduation by applying for the Puffin Democracy Fellowship, named after the Puffin Foundation. Chosen fellows receive training, resources, and support to develop and implement innovative projects aimed at improving American democracy by fighting voter suppression and increasing youth voting and civic power. Ambassadors and Fellows convene annually at the AGF’s National Civic Leadership Training Summit, a multi-day training that features sessions on topics such as the state of voting rights, volunteer mobilization, issue-based advocacy, digital organizing, and building intersectional movements. The 2019 Summit was held at Montclair State University in NJ from June 19-23. The Puffin Foundation’s support will allow AGF to scale its programs and increase its impact.
“AGF has proven time and time again that one of the best ways to reach eligible, young voters is by enlisting their peers in the effort. This grassroots work, along with the growing advocacy efforts of the AGF Puffin Fellows, is helping to enfranchise and protect the youth vote across the country. We’re proud to of been able to play a role in supporting this extraordinary work,” said Perry Rosenstein, President of The Puffin Foundation.
The Puffin Foundation Ltd. awarded its first grant to The Andrew Goodman Foundation for the Vote Everywhere program in 2014.
About The Andrew Goodman Foundation
The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s mission is to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy by training young leaders, engaging low-propensity voters, and challenging restrictive voter suppression laws. We help youth organize, advocate and litigate. AGF partners with America’s colleges and universities to provide resources, visibility, and mentoring to a national network of student leaders who involve their peers in participatory democracy through long-term voter engagement and social justice initiatives. The organization is named after Andrew Goodman, a 20 years old Freedom Summer volunteer and champion of equality and voting rights, who the KKK assassinated in 1964 when he and two other civil rights workers, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, were attempting to register African Americans to vote in Mississippi.