Contributed by Jennifer McGovern and Mark Hellman of The People's Alliance Fund Board of Directors
You Can Vote transitions from project of The People’s Alliance Fund to independent status
You Can Vote has become an independent nonprofit with Kate Fellman continuing to serve as its Executive Director. The voter education and registration project was started within Durham People’s Alliance by Kate in 2013 working as a volunteer.
Since the work of You Can Vote is strictly nonpartisan, the project moved under the wing of The People's Alliance Fund in 2014 to take advantage of the Fund's tax-deductibility for donors. You Can Vote grew spectacularly within the Fund over the next five years under Kate’s leadership, from one staffer covering two counties to a large staff currently serving 12 counties and from a budget under $20,000 to one over $500,000. You Can Vote has registered over 30,000 voters in that time, thanks largely to the work of the more than 2,000 volunteers it has attracted and trained and the skill of the staff in finding high-traffic venues for them to engage potential voters.
Fund president Mark Hellman congratulated Kate and the Board of Directors of You Can Vote (YCV) for meeting all the requirements over the past year to establish YCV with the Internal Revenue Service as an independent tax-deductible nonprofit.
"The People’s Alliance Fund is delighted by You Can Vote’s growth and success and will continue to support it financially and morally, as it has since YCV’s first full year of 2014," he said. "The tremendous nonpartisan work of the You Can Vote staff, board, and volunteers is vital to democracy in North Carolina. And because North Carolina is a swing state in national elections, it is also vital to the future of democracy in the United States," he added.
The members of the initial Board of Directors of You Can Vote are president Susan Yaggy, vice-president Duncan Yaggy, treasurer Marty Belin, secretary Angie Santiago, and at-large member Tania Walker.
YCV’s goals for 2020 are to double the number of volunteers it trains and mobilizes and to increase the counties it serves from 12 to 20, according to a new video at the You Can Vote homepage (https://www.youcanvote.org/).
You Can Vote’s association with The People’s Alliance Fund made donations to it tax-deductible for individual income tax purposes. It also permitted You Can Vote to solicit and secure grants from charitable foundations located in North Carolina and across the country.
A large part of the Fund’s support was provided by Fund treasurer Jennifer McGovern. She managed You Can Vote’s finances on a volunteer basis as its annual budget grew more than twenty-five times its initial size. Durham People’s Alliance staff person L’Tanya Durante provided crucial administrative assistance in this task under a cost-sharing arrangement between the Fund and Durham People’s Alliance.
The People’s Alliance Fund will continue to sponsor The Durham Living Wage Project (https://www.durhamlivingwage.org/) and to award quickly decided micro-grants to volunteer-led progressive projects in Durham and surrounding counties, including eligible activities undertaken by Durham People’s Alliance action teams. Visit the Fund website at https://www.peoplesalliancefund.org/ to learn more.