RISE to Vote initiative expanding with grant from Democracy Fund Voice

January 10, 2018

NEW YORK – The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) received a $200,000 grant from Democracy Fund Voice to expand the RISE to Vote nonpartisan voter registration campaign.

RISE to Vote began in June as a pilot project and launched a yearlong national campaign in September aiming to register as many professional athletes as possible to vote and encourage them to spread the important message of voting to their fans.

RISE to Vote has conducted sessions with various professional teams. The grant will allow RISE to Vote to expand to college campuses and through fan-focused events. The grant will support a total of 55 RISE to Vote sessions: 20 with professional teams, 25 as part of fan-focused events – including at Super Bowl LII – and 10 on college campuses.

The RISE to Vote campaign aims to register as many professional athletes as possible to vote by National Voter Registration Day – Tuesday, Sept. 25. The one-year grant, which allows RISE to continue RISE to Vote work with fans and colleges beyond that date, runs through Friday, Nov. 30.

“Voting is one of the most important steps an individual can take to generate social change,” said Jocelyn Benson, RISE CEO. “By empowering athletes to be informed and engaged citizens, we can promote the importance of civic responsibility through the unifying power of sports and inspire fans across the country to follow their lead by registering and voting. Thanks to Democracy Fund Voice, this goal can be achieved.”

RISE has completed voter registration events with teams including the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins and the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets and San Antonio Spurs.

As part of a RISE to Vote session, RISE partners with state and local election officials and nonpartisan organizations with expertise in leading and executing successful voter registration drives to amplify the effort and ensure its effectiveness.

RISE also secures special guest speakers and experts to speak with athletes, coaches and staff about the significance of their engagement in democracy.

“Professional athletes command a unique place in our society as leaders and role models, especially among younger Americans,” said Adam Ambrogi, program director of Democracy Fund Voice. “Supporting athletes’ voices and work to promote wider voter registration is an exciting opportunity to reach and engage fans where they are.”

Democracy Fund Voice is a nonpartisan organization created by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar dedicated to helping America build a stronger, healthier democracy. For more information, visit www.democracyfundvoice.org.

RISE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2015 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross that is dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Through educational programming and public awareness campaigns, RISE aims to bring people together to promote understanding, respect and equality.

For more information about RISE to Vote, visit www.RISEtoWIN.org/RISEtoVote. Follow the campaign on social media using #RISEtoVote.