Our 2020 Plan
The Hill-Snowdon Foundation is a social justice foundation that at its core believes in the leadership of low income communities of color as primary actors to reinvigorate our democracy and create a fairer and more just society overall.
Photo Credit: Raul Varzar
Given the state of our country in 2019, we felt that we could not be in more dire need of reinvigorating our democratic principles and practices and creating a fairer and more just nation. It may not be hyperbolic to assert that the 2020 election cycle would be one of the most important elections in our lifetime.
There are at least three major events facing our democracy in 2020 and 2021 – the 2020 Census; the 2020 election cycle (federal, state, local); and the aftermath of the 2020 election cycle (whatever the outcome) and redistricting.
The 2020 Census could be an opportunity to accurately reflect how the American populace is evolving in diverse and exciting ways, or it could be a moment where fear and coordinated government actions suppress participation and codify a warped picture of our nation, leading to an inequitable future for low wealth communities of color. It will be critically important to support grassroots groups with strong ties to historically undercounted communities so that they can encourage their communities to participate in Census 2020.
2020 Election Cycle
The 2020 election cycle, from the local level to the federal level, is really a moment that will reveal the true nature of who we are as a country, what we hold most dear and, what we are willing to fight for. The situation and the stakes could not be clearer or more desperate. It will be a time to fight against efforts to curtail the right and opportunity to vote and to stand up to the divisive forces of fear, racism, nativism and greed. A time to mobilize the citizenry toward an energized hope for tomorrow and move forward a host of critical issues to help secure a more just and equitable future for the nation as a whole. While most of the attention is correctly on the Presidential race, issue based organizing focused on local issues is a very important means by which to increase voter turnout in the November election. Many of HSF’s grassroots partners do not focus on the federal or national level, but their work to turnout their constituents on local issues at the local and state level can reverberate up to spark greater civic engagement overall.
Aftermath of 2020 Election
No one knows what the results of the 2020 election cycle will be. Nevertheless, the progressive community has to be ready for both a positive or negative outcome. Thus, groups need support that extends beyond the 2020 cycle so that they can be best prepared for any eventuality. Additionally, 2021 begins the process for states to begin redrawing the election districts, based in part on the results of the Census (which makes an accurate Census count all the more important).
Given this unique and dire moment in our country’s history, how could the Hill-Snowdon Foundation respond? What could we do that both aligns with our institutional and personal values and offers concrete support to the communities we care about? After seeing what some colleagues are doing and reflecting on what might be a meaningful response for us, we have developed the following proposed plan of action for the Foundation that we hope will help our grassroots partners and Hill-Snowdon as an institution best engage in this critical time in our nation’s history.
HSF staff proposed a multi-faceted two-year plan (Fall 2019 –Fall 2021), that would enhance the opportunity for HSF grassroots partners to engage their constituents in critical civic engagement focused work (e.g., 2020 Census, 2020 election cycle, post-election organizing), to improve the prospects of their communities to thrive. HSF’s Board approved the Draft 2020 plan presented below, and the next step is to share it with our grassroots partners so that we can refine it based on their feedback. The two-year plan focuses on activities during 2020 and includes:
Democracy’s Promise 20/21 Initiative – a new grantmaking initiative that will infuse additional grant dollars to a select group of 10 current grassroots partners for their civic engagement related work;