We cannot conceive a path to our long-term goals without ensuring that our communities are full participants in our democracy. Community Change with our partners is building a large-scale operation that takes into account the year-round ways in which democracy can be activated from the streets to the ballot box. It is not enough to change the demographic makeup of our electorate — it has to be accompanied by a year-round pipeline of engagement with public life. Housed within the appropriate legal entities, our program increases civic participation, deepens political education, and builds permanent infrastructure for year-round engagement.
Voting is a necessary but insufficient action in a true democracy. Civic participation is not just about voting on Election Day. For example, in 2021 we engaged Black, Latino, Native, AAPI, and immigrant communities in the fights for a just recovery, immigration and child care reform, and an expanded child tax credit — issues we know will be pivotal at the ballot box in 2022.
Community Change sees year-round democracy as a model to both change the electorate and build infrastructure in communities. It is a key way that low-income communities, particularly low-income communities of color, can build and exercise power. We have deep roots in the communities where we work, and we are helping our grassroots partners build their civic engagement muscles for many years to come. Our partners in this work are often the same organizations that work with us on issue campaigns and longer term power-building — so the training, technical assistance, and support that we provide each election cycle remain in the community and sustain long-term social change.
Our sister organization, Community Change Action, houses the 501(c)4 side of this work. Community Change Action engages millions of voters to make their voices heard at the ballot box. In 2020, it will operate statewide programs in five states: Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin. In 2022, it will operate statewide programs in six states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin — and invest in targeted U.S. House races, down ballot elections, and ballot initiatives in places where communities of color will be critical for the margin of victory.