Forefront’s #ILVote Grantees Register Voters Across Illinois

November 15, 2018


Earlier this year, Forefront’s #ILVote initiative gave 20 Illinois nonprofit organizations grants to assist them in building voter engagement into the fabric of their organizations. These nonprofits were tasked with registering at least 250 new voters, as well as gaining voter pledges, educating, and otherwise assisting their constituents with voting. We are thrilled to report that our grantees registered over 2,000 voters between July and November, allowing those voters to make their voices heard at the polls on November 6th. Forefront also offered #ILVote grantees the opportunity to compete for additional financial incentives based on which organizations had collected the most registrations and pledges by the Midterm Elections.

We are pleased to announce the winners of our #ILVote Campaign Challenge:

  1. The HANA Center with 500 voter registrations
  2. Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights with 250 voter registrations
  3. Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and Faith Coalition for the Common Good, with 200 voter registrations each

The HANA Center is a Chicago nonprofit that empowers Korean-American, immigrant, and multi-racial communities. During the #ILVote Campaign, the HANA Center focused primarily on voter engagement with young people and senior citizens. They attribute their success to their consistency, stationing themselves at University of Illinois at Chicago campus every day from Monday to Friday for an entire month. They engaged senior citizens by travelling to senior apartment buildings on the North Side of Chicago, providing residents with education on using voting machines, as well as background information about candidates, and various community issues at stake.

The Hana Center also reported inspirational stories about registering first-time voters, including one about a 17-year old high schooler who would turn 18 by Election Day, and another about a senior citizen who had never before participated in an election. He said he was too afraid because he did not know how the election system worked here in the US, and that he didn’t speak English well enough to ask questions. Upon finding out that HANA Center provides language assistance and culturally appropriate support, he felt comfortable registering to vote, and voted early for the first time. “The more we engage with our community members, the more they are realizing that voting is their power to elect legislators and hold them accountable to legislate responsibly and to work toward building a system that protects and supports all people,” says the HANA Center.

Our second place winner was Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). ICIRR is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. ICIRR worked tirelessly, registering over 250 voters in Chicago. They collaborated and worked closely with Chicago Votes and the Cook County Clerk’s Office during National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 25, focusing on voter education.

We had a tie for third place; Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and Faith Coalition for the Common Good (FCCG) registered over 200 new voters each. Bright Park Neighborhood Council serves the working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest side. They used their organization’s esteemed standing within its community to do incredible voter outreach. Faith Coalition for the Common Good’s mission is dedicated to voter registration, voter education, and voter turnout at the polls. They use an integrated voter engagement strategy to educate communities, and to encourage individuals to participate regularly in the democratic process. On National Voter Registration Day, FCCG stationed themselves in several locations around the state, including bus stations in order to catch potential voters transferring buses. They also collaborated with local universities and community colleges to educate and register young voters. In order to get people to the polls, they encouraged and supported their network in giving rides to polling places on November 6.

In total, our 20 #ILVote grantees registered over 2,000 voters, empowering Illinoisians to vote, vote early, and vote educated. Forefront is pleased to continue to support our #ILVote grantees’ incredible work across Illinois!


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