Cleveland VOTES is a nonpartisan democracy building and mobilization entity that aims to strengthen civic muscle and power to ensure we have a more informed, participatory, and cohesive community.


Thank you for your interest in applying for funding via Cleveland VOTES' Equitable Civic Engagement Fund! Advancing Equitable Civic Engagement is about bridging resources, identities, and organizations to a greater purpose of reclaiming our narrative. The purpose of the Equitable Civic Engagement Fund is to provide grants to nonprofit organizations committed to educating, connecting and empowering voting age residents in the Greater Cleveland area. We seek organizations that are committed to democracy building, racial equity and participatory practices. Ultimately, we seek to shift power while catalyzing innovation and inclusive strategies to strengthen the social fabric of our community.

[To learn more about Equitable Civic Engagement, please review this report.]

Release Date: Monday, May 24, 2021

Submission Deadline: Friday, June 25, 2021 at 11:00 p.m.

Eligibility Criteria: Applicant must be a registered 501(c)3 or be fiscally sponsored by a registered 501(c)3. 

Types of Grants: There are three categories of funding available. Please note, you can only apply for one category. The description for each category may be found below: 

  • Capacity Building (up to $10,000): Applicants considering this category are seeking funding to support infrastructure and/or organizational capacity. Permissible items for this category may include costs associated with general operating, staffing, stipends for volunteers or training.
  • Category 2, ACTivate + Mobilize (up to $7,500): Applicants considering this category have a plan to educate, connect and empower voting age constituents. Applicants plan to conduct nonpartisan education, registration and mobilization (including Get-Out-to-Vote efforts).
  • Category 3, Educate + Engage (up to $3,000): Applicants considering this category seek to amplify and educate voting age constituents around the importance of nonpartisan engagement. The applicants will use funds to support democracy building initiatives such as forums, pop up events and printing voter guides.

Grant Application Assistance: 

The Cleveland VOTES team wants to support you and a successful application submission! We will host (2) two grant application assistance sessions (see below for dates). Please note, these sessions will be open to any and all organizations interested in applying for funding. The Cleveland VOTES team will be present to answer questions and provide insight on the application process. 

If you are interested in attending a session (you only need to select one date), please register here. If you have any issues with the registration, please email us at

Prior to scheduling grant application assistance, review the Cleveland VOTES 2020 Post Election Report and our #Commit2CLE 2021 Toolkit

Grant Application Assistance Date I: June 2nd from 10:30am - 11:30am 

Register Here: 

Grant Application Assistance Date II: June 9, 1pm - 2pm

Register Here:

Grant Application Assistance Date III: June 15, 6pm - 7pm 

Register Here: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Submission Instructions: 

You will need to create a free Submittable account or sign in with Google or Facebook credentials to submit to these forms.

  • You can save a draft of your work if you would like to finish filling out the form at a later date.
  • If anything changes with the information you submitted, please request to edit the submission / If you need to make changes to your form, please withdraw your submission and resubmit.
  • Submittable works best on Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Internet Explorer is not supported. Please make sure you are using a supported browser.
  • We will follow-up with you about your submission by email. Please be sure to whitelist notification emails from Submittable and check the email you used to sign up for your Submittable Account regularly.

Technical Questions?

Check out the Submitter Resource Center or contact Submittable Customer Support.

Additional Application Guidance + Tips: 

For purposes of this fund, we are asking you to detail at least two activities, goals and outcomes. You have the option to add a third, but it's not required. 

Please see below for an example:

Activity No. 1: ABC organization will host a drive-thru voter registration event 

Goal No. 1: ABC organization will increase the number of registered voters at the event 

Outcome No. 1: ABC organization will register at least 'xx' persons at the event.


  • June 25, 2021 at 11:00 p.m. (EST): Application deadline
  • June 28 - July 9, 2021: Internal review by staff 
  • July 13, 2021: Cleveland VOTES staff will present recommendations to the Advisory Board
  • July 14, 2021: Applicants will be notified of grant award status
  • July 16, 2021: Awarded applicants will receive their official grant award letter and funding will be  administered in 7-10 business days.


  • Applicant’s Board, staff and/or volunteers reflect the constituents they seek to engage 
  • Applicant has a clear understanding of Equitable Civic Engagement
  • Applicant has previously and/or is committed to embedding racial equity and inclusion strategies
  • Applicant has previously engaged and/or partnered with Cleveland VOTES. 
  • Applicant plans to focus in/on historically disenfranchised geographies and/or population(s)
  • Applicant has demonstrated adequate funding and staff/volunteer capacity to execute project/plan
  • Applicant has previously engaged in nonpartisan and/or civic engagement activities 
  • Applicant has knowledge pertaining to effective data management and quality control measures

Technical Assistance: If you have any technical support needs with your application or the platform, please contact the Submittable Support Team at:

For content related needs please contact

Thank you! 


The Cleveland VOTES Team

Cleveland VOTES