The Lenfest Institute

Every Voice, Every Vote coalition launches two-year, $2.875 million grantmaking program to expand access to civic news and information in Philadelphia

Collage of Philadelphia people and buildings

Local news organizations and community groups are invited to apply for grant funding to enhance coverage of Philadelphia’s new administration and encourage civic engagement 

As Philadelphia’s new city government prepares to mark its 100th day in office, the Every Voice, Every Vote coalition of community groups and media organizations is announcing the launch of a new two-year, $2.875 million grant program to support in-depth local journalism and catalyze civic action around the issues that matter most to Philadelphians. 

Every Voice, Every Vote is organized by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which first built the coalition to elevate Philadelphia’s diverse voices and inform voters ahead of the 2023 city elections. With a coalition of 130 media outlets, community nonprofit organizations, and civic-minded social media creators as partners, the project is Philadelphia’s largest-ever collaborative journalism and community engagement effort.

As the administration ramps up its efforts to address Philadelphia’s most pressing challenges, Every Voice, Every Vote partners will catalyze collaboration and build stronger connections among media outlets, community organizations, residents, and elected officials to continue an ongoing movement to encourage civic engagement, raise issues, and track progress over time.

The next phase of Every Voice, Every Vote comes at a critical moment for Philadelphians whose concerns include public safety, public education, affordable housing, sanitation services, and economic mobility. A 2023 Pew Research analysis of the Every Voice, Every Vote public opinion poll, “What Philly Wants,” showed that 65% of Philadelphians believed the city was “on the wrong track,” up from 38% in 2019. 

“We heard consistently from our media and community partners that if the Every Voice, Every Vote coalition was serious about our commitment to citizen participation in local government, we could not stop our work at the general election,” said Lenfest Institute Head of Philadelphia Programs Shawn Mooring. “We are extremely excited to launch the next — and most critical — phase of the Every Voice, Every Vote initiative to ensure that residents from every neighborhood across our great city continue to have access to the information they need to monitor progress and become civically engaged on the issues that are most important to them.”

Lead support for the next phase of Every Voice, Every Vote is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional funding from The Lenfest Institute, Comcast NBC Universal, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Henry L. Kimelman Family Foundation, Judy and Peter Leone, Arctos Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and others. 

In total, $4 million is being invested into Every Voice, Every Vote over the next two years. In addition to grantmaking, Every Voice, Every Vote will undertake public issue awareness campaigns, conduct public opinion research into the issues that matter most to Philadelphians, partner with social media creators to connect with residents, and more.

Organizations interested in joining Every Voice, Every Vote can apply for funding to support community-centered journalism or nonpartisan civic engagement projects to address the needs of underrepresented communities. Applications are welcome in the following areas of civic support: 

  • Solutions journalism and government accountability reporting 
  • Civic education and civic literacy 
  • City performance data, data visualization and related news reporting
  • Collaborative community civic engagement activities 
  • Translation services, applied to civic education and/or civic news and information
  • Projects focusing on one or more of the following issues of concern to Philadelphia: Public safety, public health, education, economic opportunity, affordable housing, homelessness, trash pick-up, and the environment.  

Funding will range from $10,000 to $150,000, and the grant term will run from May 2024 through November 2025. The deadline to apply is April 19, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. 

You can apply here. More details, including eligibility requirements and instructions for how to create an account in the Institute’s Fluxx grant management system are available here.

The Lenfest Institute team will hold two virtual information sessions for organizations interested in applying:

The extension of the project is built on the foundation of Every Voice, Every Vote’s earlier success in covering the 2023 Philadelphia election cycle. 

In the run-up to the 2023 elections, when voters cast their ballots for Philadelphia’s 100th mayor, community partners created more than 365 civic engagement projects to inform voters. Media partners published nearly 600 pieces of reporting and voter engagement content, amassing a total of 16.5 million media impressions. Unprecedented translation efforts resulted in civic education and voter resources available in 15 languages. Thirty-eight coalition-sponsored candidate forums helped voters determine who might best represent their needs and interests in the city’s highest offices.

“Never in the city’s history have there been so many mayoral forums or so much news coverage on so many topics critical to the future of our city,” said Reverend Luis Cortés, president and CEO of Esperanza, an Every Voice, Every Vote partner.

Coalition partners focused on amplifying voter concerns so that candidates would address them on the record. 

Examples include:

  • WHYY hosted listening sessions with communities affected by gun violence and posed their questions directly to the mayoral candidates during the “100th Mayor: Restoring Safety Forum.”
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer published a dozen, in-depth front-page stories about issues and policy concerns highlighted by Every Voice, Every Vote public opinion research. 
  • Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church and Black-serving media organizations WURD, The Philadelphia Tribune, and Philadelphia SUN hosted Black Media Matters, a mayoral candidate forum centered on education, safety, and economic opportunity.
  • Ahead of the general election, 6ABC and the Every Voice, Every Vote coalition partnered to source questions from diverse community voices for a televised debate called “A New Chapter: The Philadelphia Mayoral Townhall.”
  • PA Youth Vote and other youth-serving organizations hosted Philly Youth Voices, a teen-led forum during which municipal candidates gathered to listen to the perspectives of young Philadelphians. 

Organizations can learn more about how to join Every Voice, Every Vote and apply for grant funding here