Grassroots organizations emerge as the linchpin in shaping policies, exerting influence over elections, and amplifying the often-overlooked voices within our communities. In 2021, Sister District launched the State Bridges Program knowing that the electoral gains we work so hard to achieve are possible in no small part because of the year-round efforts of local grassroots operations, often led by people of color, that center the voices of those most impacted by state policies. Since the program’s launch, Sister District volunteers and donors have been able to direct over $470k in giving to impactful state-based organizations engaged in year-round progressive power building in key battleground states. In 2023, the State Bridges Program supported 8 grassroots organizations who are building sustained progressive power across 5 critical states: Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona. In this blog post, we highlight achievements, testimonials, and goals of the partners we supported this year.
Virginia: New Virginia Majority (Donate here)
- New Virginia Majority has knocked on a staggering 105,978 doors and made 204,903 phone calls so far this election cycle, a testament to their dedication to mobilize voters.
- By leveraging Sister District fundraising, they secured essential resources, like canvassing walk cards for the June primary.
- This November, the ballot will have more women, people of color, and immigrant candidates than ever before and as New Virginia Majority works to continue to center a working-class agenda that pushes Virginia forward, they have their sights set on winning the majority in the state House and Senate this fall.
Wisconsin: Citizen Action of Wisconsin (Donate here)
- Citizen Action of Wisconsin has been hard at work building a progressive bench and securing a majority on the State Supreme Court for the first time in 15 years. They’ve retained and mobilized their dedicated volunteer base, and led a state budget campaign to fight for affordable healthcare in Wisconsin.
- Sister District’s support enabled them to hire two field team members for their spring cycle, amplifying their reach and impact.
- Through the remainder of the year, Citizen Action’s Movement Politics Academy will work to host a training space dedicated to community, values, and to anyone who has ever thought about getting involved in a deep and meaningful way, from running for office to campaign managing to being a super volunteer.
Wisconsin: WISDOM (Donate here)
- After their State Bridges event, WISDOM embarked on an inspiring journey to establish grassroots, locally-led integrated voter engagement programs across Wisconsin. While maintaining their presence in key areas, they expanded their work to regions like Kenosha, Eau Claire, Madison, Appleton, and Green Bay.
- Sister District’s support helped WISDOM hire organizers to connect faith communities and community leaders to their organizing effort, and expand their digital organizing efforts – building bridges within communities.
- The remainder of 2023 will be dedicated to base-building: recruiting, working on local issue campaigns, and leadership development. This year will set the groundwork for 2024.
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Stands Up (Donate here)
- Pennsylvania Stands Up has been hard at work building their electoral bench by training dozens of first-time candidates. After leading the fight to secure a historic $125,000,000 investment in climate and housing through Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature last year, they have been working to implement and expand Whole-Home Repairs by holding info sessions in each of their chapters, organizing a week of action, and holding a rally + lobby day in Harrisburg.
- Sister District’s support funded the entire first year of opening PA Stands Up’s first organizing center in Northeastern PA, creating a vital hub for their organizing efforts in the region.
- Through their fall and summer organizing cycle, PA Stands Up will focus on deep canvassing 10,000 doors, conduct 100 1:1s with prospective members, and make over 1 million digital impressions through a paid digital campaign.
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania United (Donate here)
- Pennsylvania United has knocked on 84,808 doors, emphasizing issue campaigns and electoral engagement. Through values-based campaigns, they are engaging their community members, and ensuring they become action takers and voters every year.
- With a 3-day organizing training that Sister District helped fund, they equipped 27 staff, members, and partner organizations to build impactful campaigns.
- The rest of this year, they will knock on 400,000 doors to educate and turnout voters in the state’s Supreme Court election and focus on building permanent field infrastructure in Western Pennsylvania to be able to knock over 1 million doors in 2024.
Nevada: One APIA Nevada (Donate here)
- One APIA Nevada has advocated for and passed crucial bills that improve language, education, and healthcare access for AAPI residents.
- Sister District’s support helped One APIA Nevada hire a legislative assistant and supported their Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Lobby Day efforts.
- For the rest of this year, One APIA Nevada will scale their voter outreach program and focus on capacity building in preparation for 2024. They will begin with deep canvassing in 2023, and focus on integrating their team with the community by hosting education events, volunteer events, and doing 1:1s to talk to community members about the issues impacting them.
Arizona: Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) (Donate here)
- LUCHA secured $225 million for housing and $40 million in education financial assistance in the Arizona state budget.
- Sister District’s support expanded their digital organizing work through organizing and paid advertising efforts during the legislative session which helped to secure these victories.
- For the remainder of 2023, LUCHA will be focused on the implementation of Paid Family Medical Leave for all state employees and expansion of TANF benefits for low-income communities. They will also be working to kill referendum HCR 1035, which could alter Arizona’s finances for the foreseeable future, effectively ending any surpluses the state may have.
Arizona: Rural Arizona Action (RAZA) (Donate here)
- State Bridges support was used to hire a Deputy Political Director, which will expand the organization’s reach and scope throughout Arizona, allowing them to play in extremely important down ballot races like county recorders and sheriff races.
- RAZA is working to expand their college-aged organizing program – Rural Arizona Advocates – into the battleground county of Yuma, and also advocated for rural investments in the Arizona state budget. They will continue their education and accountability work around the state legislature and Senator Sinema.
The State Bridges Program stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, bridging geographical divides to amplify progressive voices and drive change. From the heart of Virginia to the landscapes of Nevada and Arizona, grassroots organizations foster civic engagement that translates into voter participation. As these testimonials and stories illustrate, the impact of these partnerships extends far beyond borders, creating a ripple effect that resonates across the nation.