Every Voice, Every Vote initiative returns to Philly for another year with focus on solutions journalism and civic engagement

More than 50 media orgs, including WHYY News, and community groups collaborated to cover the mayoral election last year. Now, the EVEV project returns with new focus.

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Philadelphia City Hall

North Broad Street side of Philadelphia City Hall. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

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A cooperative effort to better inform and involve the public on the work of the new government officials in Philadelphia is getting a big financial boost.

Last year, more than 50 media organizations — including WHYY News and Billy Penn — joined with community groups in the Every Voice, Every Vote project to spotlight voices in the community as part of the coverage of Philadelphia’s mayoral election.

The EVEV initiative will continue this year with $2.85 million in grant money now being made available to support journalism and civic engagement around the issues that matter to Philadelphians.

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The Lenfest Institute’s Shawn Mooring said the goal is to make sure the city is moving in the right direction under the new administration.

“Ensuring that Philadelphia’s residents are informed about city government and underscore its significance in their lives” is the focus, Mooring said. He said the project will also “provide consistent access to credible and trusted information that catalyzes and enhances civic engagement.”

The impetus of the effort was a 2023 Pew survey that showed 65% of those questioned believed the city of Philadelphia was on the wrong track, compared to only 38% in 2019.

Mooring said the money is designed to help facilitate a better interaction with city government.

“Looking at issues around housing, economy, crime, and what role can everyday citizens play in partnering with the administration to move these issues in a positive direction,” he said.

In total $4 million will be spent on the Every Voice, Every Vote initiative over a two-year period. The grants will total $2.875 million and there will also be public issue awareness campaigns, public opinion research and partnerships with social media creators to connect with residents in non-traditional methods.

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This will include “holding town hall or community engagement opportunities for people to better understand how to work with municipal government, better understand the programs and issues that are happening, and then be able to kind of act on those things,” said Mooring.

Organizations interested in joining Every Voice, Every Vote can apply for funding for community-centered journalism or nonpartisan civic engagement projects to address the needs of underrepresented communities. Applications are welcome in the following areas of civic support:

  • Solutions journalism and government accountability reporting;
  • Civic education and civic literacy;
  • City performance data, data visualization and related news reporting;
  • Collaborative community civic engagement activities;
  • Translation services, applied to civic education and/or civic news and information;
  • Projects focusing on one or more of the following issues of concern to Philadelphia including: Public safety, public health, education, economic opportunity, affordable housing, homelessness, trash pick-up and the environment.

The grant money will range from $10,000 to $150,000. The deadline to apply is April 19.

Funding is being provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional support from The Lenfest Institute, Comcast NBC Universal, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Henry L. Kimelman Family Foundation, Judy and Peter Leone, Arctos Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation and others.

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