The Education Fund Receives $5M Gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to Help Strengthen American Democracy

Uncategorized 10.21.19

Contact: Shin Inouye, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, [email protected], 202.869.0398
Kelly Brewington, All Voting is Local, [email protected], 202.548.7159
Carner Round, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, [email protected], 347.260.1957

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Leadership Conference Education Fund (The Education Fund) received a $5 million gift, over two years, from Craig Newmark Philanthropies that will help strengthen and expand American democracy. This transformational gift from the organization of craigslist founder Craig Newmark will support The Education Fund’s democracy work, including its All Voting is Local campaign and voting rights and census efforts.

“Our democracy is under attack, and through the support of Craig Newmark Philanthropies and other foundations, we are fighting to protect and preserve it,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Education Fund. “From securing voting rights to ensuring a fair and accurate census, we need a functional democracy that represents all people and that protects our civil rights. We are grateful to Craig Newmark for so generously supporting our efforts to defend and expand democracy.”

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, more than 1 million Americans tried to vote but could not because of long lines, registration issues, the inability to get to their polling places, and other roadblocks. All Voting is Local (AVL) aims to eliminate needless and discriminatory barriers to voting, solving electoral problems before they occur and building a democracy that works for us all. Launched in 2018 in five states that were identified as facing distinct challenges to voting rights – Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – AVL is a collaborative campaign that fights modern-day voter suppression with modern-day strategic solutions. 

With the gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, AVL is expanding its three-pronged approach toward protecting the right to vote. That includes: promoting data-driven organizing, undertaking strategic communications, and helping to build grassroots power. So that every eligible voter casts a ballot that counts, the AVL campaign will use the funding to fight against discriminatory voter purges, help ensure that ballots are counted fairly, and address polling place problems, such as closures and worker shortages.

“This generous gift enhances our ability to leverage the strength of our local and national partners to fight against voter suppression before it starts,” said Hannah Fried, National Campaign Director of All Voting is Local. “Problems such as discriminatory voter purges, burdensome voter ID requirements, and polling place closures won’t get fixed overnight. Scaling in 2019 vastly increases our ability to ensure that the voice of every eligible voter in America is heard.”

The philanthropic support will also allow The Education Fund to increase its advocacy work for a fair and accurate census that counts every person in America. The Education Fund will  launch a robust “Get Out the Count” campaign that works with local partners to ensure that everyone participates in the census. In addition, the gift will help to expand efforts to protect voting rights by encouraging robust civic participation and educating the public and policy-makers on foundational democratic issues. This work includes raising awareness of the need to restore the Voting Rights Act, increasing access to the ballot box, advocating for the restoration of voting rights to the formerly incarcerated, and engaging social media companies on addressing disinformation and voter suppression activities on their platforms.

“My high school history and civics teacher, Mr. Schulzki, taught me that everyone has the right to vote and that a strong democracy demands full inclusion and participation of the public,” said Newmark. “Yet, Americans are discouraged, harassed and even forbidden from exercising this right. That’s why The Education Fund’s work is so important to protecting our democracy.”

This is the second time that Craig Newmark Philanthropies has supported The Education Fund. In 2018, the organization provided $500,000 in philanthropic funding for voting rights work that led up to the U.S. midterm elections. This support allowed The Education Fund to strengthen efforts to fight voter suppression and promote voter participation.

The Education Fund has a long track record of defending and reinforcing key pillars of American democracy: the census process, voting rights, impartial and independent federal courts, and civic engagement. Along with its sister organization, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, it operates uniquely as a convener and force multiplier, with a record of winning on core federal, state, and local issues.

Leading up to the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, The Education Fund and its partner organizations provided extensive feedback on Facebook’s voter suppression policies through the civil rights audit process. Aside from the adoption of new policies, the coalition’s advocacy resulted in greater transparency around political ads, the adoption of a prohibition against ads encouraging people not to vote, voting reminders, and a commitment from Facebook to monitor the platform for voter suppression content throughout the year.  The Education Fund and its collaborators continue to urge Facebook to safeguard both the 2020 Census and election from disinformation and intimidation and to provide adequate protection from interference.


The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit

 All Voting is Local fights to eliminate needless and discriminatory barriers to voting before they happen, to build a democracy that works for us all. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. For more information about All Voting is Local, visit and follow us on Twitter @votingislocal.   

Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. It works to advance grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans & military families. For more information, please visit: