Have an idea to promote public engagement at the intersection of faith and democracy?
If so, a Washington-based funding consortium called Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) is soliciting proposals and plans to distribute about $300,000 to support five to seven projects.
"This exploration is a natural extension of PACE's mission to deepen and enrich philanthropy's support of democracy and civic life," Kristen Cambell, executive director of PACE said in a statement announcing the funding.
A great deal of attention has been paid in recent years to seeking ways to bridge the social and political divides in the country. But, PACE says in its funding announcement, the potential of faith as a catalyst for these sorts of efforts has been largely unexplored. "While many institutions seek to engage people of faith in bridge-building and pluralism efforts, few organizations are funding specific interventions to engage people of faith in using their faith to support the well-being of democracy," the group says.
More information about the initiative and a link to the RFP to apply for funding is here.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program assists military members who need to vote via absentee ballot. A spokeswoman for the Defense Department said there would be "minimal disruptions" if the United States pulls out of the international postage agency.
Election officials are growing increasingly concerned that the Trump administration's trade war with China could make it more difficult and expensive for overseas voters — including those in the military — to cast ballots in the 2019 and 2020 local, state and federal elections.
The issue is the pending withdrawal in October by the U.S. from the Universal Postal Union, a group of 192 nations that has governed international postal service and rates for 145 years.
Last October, the U.S. gave the required one-year notice stating it would leave the UPU unless changes were made to the discounted fees that China pays for shipping small packages to the United States. The subsidized fees — established years ago to help poor, developing countries — place American businesses at a disadvantage and don't cover costs incurred by the U.S. Postal Service.
With the U.S.-imposed deadline for withdrawal or new rates fast approaching, states officials are running out of time to prepare for overseas mail-in voting.
Wambui Gatheru is the outreach manager at American Promise, which advocates for amending the Constitution to regulate the raising and spending of electoral campaign funds. Originally from Connecticut, Gatheru, 24, joined the American Promise staff in 2017 after graduating from the University of Connecticut.
The following Q&A has been edited for clarity and length.
What's the tweet-length description of your organization?
American Promise is a cross-partisan organization committed to getting money out of politics, forever, with a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Describe your very first civic engagement.
Knocking door-to-door in my small town in Connecticut when Barack Obama was first running for president.
What was your biggest professional triumph?
Being a part of the effort that made New Hampshire the 20th state in favor of the 28th Amendment. This was something I'd been working on since I started at American Promise two years ago, and the legislation was just passed in March of this year. It was a surreal victory because it had been such a long fight. It took a lot of coordination on every level of civic engagement, but it's a victory I'm happy to have been a part of here at American Promise.