Our democratic institutions and ability to meaningfully influence government policy are at risk, especially for overlooked communities in Southern and battleground states. Organizing is crucial, but we also need to support trusted local messengers who are meeting their communities where they are and with culturally-resonant messages. Through our new Voices for Democracy pooled fund, we are investing in and scaling an ecosystem of diverse, grassroots voices and media outlets. We will be accepting applications from March 22 – May 22, 2023.
We are looking to fund early-stage nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies in categories including:
– Emerging media properties & platforms with a culture-first approach;
– Community-based reporting reaching underserved or overlooked audiences;
– Innovative, idea-stage proposals and experiments leveraging media and tech;
– Organizing and advocacy groups developing impactful narratives and communication strategies; and
– Tech tools and platforms driving participation and/or measuring impact.
We are targeting key states on the front lines of the battle for American democracy. These states include: Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
We have a preference for work that is sustainable and builds progressive power. We’d like to invest in ventures who expect to generate revenue, although they may not now, or who have a plan for a sustainable operating model.
We are mission-driven and work to invest in entrepreneurs and activists building progressive power in the United States. We believe that protecting democracy in this climate requires investing in media properties delivering cultural value and fact-based news to historically overlooked Americans.
We look for diverse leadership teams with varied skill sets who understand their communities intimately. In our experience, founders with direct experience of the challenges they are working to solve are best positioned to do so. We are especially interested in democratizing access to capital and encourage people who have been historically overlooked by philanthropy and venture capital to apply.
We're looking for early-stage (and even idea-stage) organizations and proposals, which generally means budgets of <$1M. Beyond providing early financial support, we will leverage our existing network to mobilize additional funding to Voices for Democracy funding recipients. Additionally, recipients will gain access to our community of entrepreneurs, activists, and innovators and receive mentorship from our Investments Team.
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We are using a platform called Airtable to process applications, and you can apply here. The application opened on March 22, and will close on May 22 at 11:59 PM PT. We will host an informational webinar in April at a date TBD. The recordings, deck, and Q&A will be made available here. If you have questions about the open call that are not answered on this page or in the application, please email your question to email@example.com.
- March 22: Accepting applications
- April 2022 (date TBD): Informational webinar for prospective applicants
- May 22: Open call closes at 11:59 PM PT
- June: Due diligence and investment committee meetings
- July 2023: Final investment decisions made and selected applicants notified
- $25K to $50K in funding. We typically give unrestricted grants to nonprofits and make investments in for-profits, most often via convertible notes. (Note that we are continuing to fundraise and sign on co-funders throughout the spring to hopefully increase both the number and size of grants/investments.)
- Access and introductions to NMV's network of institutional and individual funders, and connections with other groups in our portfolio and our ecosystem of allies and partners.
- Various forms of cohort support and workshops on topics like designing revenue generating strategies, philanthropic fundraising, and building through uncertain financial times.
New Media Ventures funds for-profits and nonprofits. We’re looking for scalable solutions from diverse, mission-driven teams. We will consider funding a new project within an existing organization, as well as collaboration proposals from multiple organizations working together to build and scale a solution. Voices for Democracy is best suited for early-stage organizations (pre-seed/seed stage) for which $25K to $50K in funding can make a meaningful difference.
Yes! If Voices for Democracy is not a match for your startup, you may find that our Continuous Investment Cycle is! To get started, please review the criteria here.
Yes! At NMV we believe that funders are more effective when we work together. That’s why we’re inviting mission-aligned individuals and organizations to join us in supporting the Voices for Democracy open call. For more information, here is our funder-focused deck. If you have additional questions about how to support this project, contact NMV’s Director of Development Brittany Grimm.
Find out more about who we fund and what kind of individuals are in our network. Also explore resources for entrepreneurs in Tools for Change.