Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation (New York, NY)
The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation will deploy an unprecedented $10 million to support civic participation in response to the significant election challenges facing the United States in the midst of ongoing civil uprisings and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Langeloth Foundation is committed to ensuring that all eligible voters can voice their opinions through a democratic process that protects their health while still exercising their constitutional right to vote in an accessible manner. Given that people of color, particularly Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities, are disproportionately targeted by voter suppression and oppressive policing tactics, the majority of this funding goes towards initiatives that explicitly address these inequities. This commitment to civic engagement supports the foundation’s core objectives of Justice Reform and Safe & Healthy Communities and widens the foundation’s public health lens.
This new $10 million investment is a significant portion of the Langeloth Foundation’s $88 million endowment. The foundation is calling on other funders to join them to help narrow the significant funding gap that exists in the civic participation and engagement space ahead of 2020. As the level of public anger and distrust increases in response to police killings and state inaction, a firm commitment by the philanthropic community to the rights of Black voters and voters of color is essential to maintaining public trust in our democracy.
The majority of the funding will be awarded to two funder collaboratives, the State Infrastructure Fund (SIF) and the Heartland Fund. These funds have a history of cooperation and complementary strategies that allow for coordination across geographies and population focus areas. SIF and Heartland share a vision and strategy for the ways civic engagement can empower communities that face systemic exclusion from voting.
The Langeloth Foundation is also taking a number of additional steps to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation has created the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund in order to support the long-term strategic needs of grantees, signed on to the Council on Foundations Philanthropy Pledge, and created a new grantee communications support program to enhance grantee capacity and provide additional support and resources.