Virginia Organizing: Restoring the Right to Vote in Virginia
Non-partisan civic engagement is integral to our model—every year is an election year in Virginia. Virginia Organizing’s base-building and issue campaigns are integrated with c3 civic engagement work including voter registration, voting rights restoration for former felons, issue education, and get-out-the-vote work.
Too many people in Virginia have been left out of the decision-making process. This has happened on the local, state, and federal level. We work with people who feel powerless in many ways. One key way we work to build power is to identify, restore voting rights with, and engage the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who have lost their right to vote, even though they have served their time. Even with our most recent two Governors issuing executive orders to restore voting rights, hundreds of thousands of people still don't know that they can get their rights back and vote.
The overall purpose of Virginia Organizing is to create a strong grassroots force for long-term change that has a diverse base and includes people who have not been active before. We also support the development of a wide range of groups that expand the capacity of our efforts to push for social, economic, and environmental justice.
Virginia Organizing is the biggest multi-issue grassroots organization in the state and has 12 permanent, full-time organizers working in local communities. The organization has grown its core organizing budget to $1.4 million annually with more than 80 percent of its resources coming from non-foundation sources.
Virginia Organizing is the only organization with on the ground presence and capacity across the whole state (including Central Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, the New River Valley, Southwest Virginia, Southside, Hampton Roads, and the Eastern Shore).
In addition, Virginia Organizing has a track record of winning local victories in challenging political geographies: we were the lead in a campaign that got more than 100 local jurisdictions to adopt resolutions to limit the abuses of predatory payday lenders; we led major statewide petition drives on the minimum wage; we played a key role in advancing local wins around fair hiring practices (22 local governments have “banned the box” with Virginia Organizing leading campaigns in two-thirds of these communities), building the momentum to win a statewide fair hiring order through executive action.
Planned Use Of Funds
Every chapter (16 across Virginia) is working on their own civic engagement plan. These funds would be use to staff and implement those plans by organizing meetings, canvassing, tabling, and printing materials in order to identify these folks.
Stage of Development
- Early Stage
- Established Prototype
Organization to Receive Funds