2018 First Monday + Election Series Webinars

Starting in October 2017 and running through 2018, GIST has joined together with the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation and other affinity group partners to cosponsor a series of webinars to help funders unpack the key issues at play in the midterm elections. This series will provide a space for peer discussion around funding priorities, and it will connect grantmakers across a wide range of issue and strategic focuses.

Please email asinha@funderscommittee.org to access the webinar recording links.

Funding for Cultural Change: Creating and Meeting the Moment
Monday, July 9 | 3 - 4 PM ET 

Over the last few years, we have seen several cultural moments, such as #MeToo and the response to police violence, take place that have raised social justice struggles to the national platform. These unique cultural moments have opened up new and earnest conversations about the type of country we want to become and addressed issues that have been mostly ignored. In this discussion, we will explore how grassroots leaders have taken these moments, or helped create these moments, to build long-term power in their communities and hear how funders have been supporting this work.

Moderated by Xiomara Corpeño, Groundswell Fund


  • Norma Wong, Aloha Lahui Collective Action Fund and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission
  • Stevie Valles, Chicago Votes
  • Nse Ufot, The New Georgia Project

Holding off the Hackers, Defending Our Democracy
Monday, April 2nd  | 3 - 4 PM ET 

In 2016, the intelligence community sounded the alarm that our elections had been targeted with cyberattacks by Russian state actors with the intent of usurping American voters' voices and assisting their preferred candidates. Infiltration of numerous states' voter databases has been confirmed. Today, our nation's electronic voting systems remain vulnerable to cyberattacks which threaten the integrity of our democracy. A lack of federal action means there is a strong role for nonpartisan advocates to play throughout the next few months.

The good news is that securing our elections does not have to be a moon-shot. Verification of paper ballots, increasing cyber security defenses, and other common-sense solutions have been implemented in many states. It is imperative that this momentum continues.

During this discussion, leading experts and advocates will outline the critically necessary safeguards which state election administrators can implement to ensure that future elections are protected from sophisticated cyberattacks. Funders will learn about how to best support current and future nonpartisan efforts to safeguard the integrity of our democracy. 

Moderated by:Allison Barlow, Program Director, Democracy & Media, Wallace Global Fund 

Presented By:

  • Edgardo Cortes, Brennan Center
  • Susannah Goodman, Director of Voting Integrity, Common Cause
  • Marian Schneider, President, Verified Voting
  • Justin Talbot-Zorn, Senior Policy Adviser, National Election Defense Coalition

Rethinking Democracy Through Electoral Reform
Monday, March 5th | 3 - 4 PM ET 

Our current elections require systemic reforms to increase voter participation, counter racial and partisan gerrymandering, overcome zero-sum polarization, and advance a reflective and representative democracy. Ranked choice voting (RCV) and Fair Representation reforms, including when used in multi-winner districts, address these challenges and can help build a culture of participation and broad engagement that uplifts the power of diverse and marginalized communities to make a difference on issues that impact their lives. 

With RCV already implemented in dozens of cities, and new RCV and Fair Representation being pushed at more local and state levels, this session will explore the current landscape of these reforms, highlight benefits seen from them, and show how funders have promoted and can continue to promote these.

Moderated by: Larry Ottinger, Adviser, WhyNot Initiative; Chair, Ottinger Foundation

Presented by:

  • George Cheung, Program Director, More Equitable Democracy
  • Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, Council Member, 4th Ward, Minneapolis
  • Anita Earls, Founder of Southern Coalition for Social Justice
  • Jennifer Pae, Director, FairVote California

Pathways to Effective State Funding Strategies
Monday, February 5th | 3 - 4 PM ET 

Join us for our February First Monday + Election Series Discussion where we will share insights and data points uncovered from our first State Funding Survey.  We'll also drill down and look at one state as a case study to understand how coordinating bodies, intermediaries, national and in-state funders are all operating from the lens of that one state. In this conversation, you will hear key highlights of the state funding landscape, how funders are approaching longer-term power-building investments in states, and what pathways can be created to more effectively align grantmakers to support the field.

Moderated by: Alexis Anderson-Reed, FCCP


  • Steven Cole-Schwartz, The Partnership Funds
  • Denise Cardinal, WIN Minnesota
  • Renee Fazari, Consultant
  • Ashish Sinha, FCCP

5 Legal Rules Every Foundation Should Know for the 2018 Elections
Monday, January 8th | 3 - 4 PM ET 

Whether a seasoned advocate or at a foundation determined to step into the civic engagement realm for the first time, start the new year with a refresher on the breadth of activities foundations can legally engage in and fund while remaining nonpartisan leading up to the 2018 election. Foundations have a great deal of flexibility in election-year grantmaking but it is important to know what is legal, effective and doable within your institution. Let’s be sure we are using all of the tools in our toolbox to be what the field needs and as impactful as possible.

Funders will learn about:

  • What the term “nonpartisan” really means
  • The broad range of advocacy private foundations and public foundations can engage in and fund their grantees to do
  • Steps to ensure any individual partisan political activity isn’t attributed to your nonpartisan organization
  • Best practices for foundations funding grantees to engage in advocacy during an election-year

Moderated by Kristen Harris-Talley, Progress Alliance of Washington [bio]


  • Jann Jackson, Senior Associate of Policy Reform and Advocacy, The Annie E. Casey Foundation [bio]
  • Shyaam Subramanian, Alliance for Justice [bio]

Turnout in the 2017 Elections + Lessons for 2018
Monday, December 4th | 3 - 4 PM ET 

In November, elections around the country provided us with some of our first insights into how voters are responding after a year of political polarization and deep divisions. Join us for this December First Monday + Election Series Discussion for a debrief on the 2017 elections and and what we can learn from the results to help inform our work as we look towards 2018. In this conversation, we will:

  • Hear perspectives and see initial data on who turned out for the 2017 elections

  • Learn which issues were salient to voters in the 2017 elections and how those have shifted since 2016.

  • Review coordinating efforts by both funders and organizations that led to strong infrastructure and partnerships, and how to continue to invest in deep coordination at the state level through 2018.

  • Discuss the surge in non-traditional demographics running for office and what that means for work moving forward.

  • Learn what lessons were learned from 2017 which can help inform work moving into the 2018 elections.

Moderated by Geri Mannion, Carnegie Corporation of New York [bio]


  • Adrianne Shropshire, BlackPAC [bio]

  • Matt Barreto, Latino Decisions [bio]

  • Kelly Beadle, Virginia Plus [bio]

Voting Trends + Building Power in the AAPI Community
Monday, November 6th | 3 - 4 PM ET 

The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community will enter 2018 with significant growth in their engagement in elections as the fastest growing population in the country, continuing a strong trend in increased turnout, and a record of seventeen AAPI Members of Congress now serving in office. Despite this growth, participation by communities of color in midterm elections have remained disproportionately low in past cycles and, with a political climate fueled by hate and xenophobia, the need for targeted and robust strategies to engage AAPI communities continues to be a priority. Join us for a discussion with FCCP and our Election Series Partners where you will hear:

  • How recent data from the 2016 elections provides new insights into trends in turnout and voter registration within the AAPI community.
  • What tactics are being employed by leaders in the field around effective engagement within the diverse AAPI community.
  • What key questions and considerations funders should be considering when looking at election-cycle grantmaking that can promote increased engagement in the 2018 elections as well as supporting longer-term power-building strategies.
  • Questions and ideas that other funders are grappling with from their grantmaking to support the AAPI community.

Moderated by EunSook Lee, AAPI Civic Engagement Fund [bio]


  • Christina Coloroso, Catalist [bio]
  • Stephanie Cho, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Atlanta [bio]
  • Taeku Lee, University of California, Berkeley [bio]

2018 Election Series: The 2018 Elections and Nonpartisan Grantmaking
Monday, October 2nd | 3 - 4 PM ET 

Join us and our affinity group partners for a discussion around the political and funding landscape which funders can expect to see in the 2018 Elections. We will have an opportunity to hear from key leaders around their thinking on the demographic, voting, and funding trends that will shape our work in 2018 as well as ideas on how funders can best structure their investments to maximize their impact in an election-year. As part of this discussion, you will receive:

  • A mapping overview of the 2018 Elections highlighting key races which may impact spending in different states.
  • Insights into who turns out for Midterm Elections historically and demographic data relevant to understanding the make-up of the voting age population in 2018.
  • Perspectives on election-year best practices for Philanthropy to consider when identifying grantmaking strategies which will be supportive of grantees being successful in 2018 and in building power + capacity for the long-term.
  • Information on what the funding landscape may look like in 2018 and how that may impact your own strategies. 

Moderated by Daaiyah Bilal-Threats, National Education Association


  • Anne Johnson, Grassroots Solutions
  • Tram Nguyen, Virginia New Majority
  • Brandon Davis, GPS Impact