For Immediate Release
Friday, September 11, 1998

For more information, contact:
Kim Alexander or Saskia Mills
(916) 325-2120



CALIFORNIA VOTER FOUNDATION RECEIVES TWO MAJOR GRANTS

Funds will support new membership program & „Digital Sunlightš

Sacramento, CA -- The California Voter Foundation announced today that it has received two major grants totalling $210,000 to support the development of a new, Internet-based membership program and the group‚s continuing „Digital Sunlightš efforts to promote Internet disclosure of campaign finance records.

„These two grants will allow the California Voter Foundation to continue to shape the Internet as a tool for democracy and political reform and to grow into an even stronger and healthier membership-based organization,š said Kim Alexander, President of the California Voter Foundation (CVF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to using new technologies to better inform and engage the public in politics, elections and government.

CVF has been awarded a two-year, $150,000 grant from the San Francisco-based Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation to develop and implement a membership program designed to ensure CVF‚s long-term sustainability. The grant funds will be used to hire a full-time membership director and support the creation of a pioneering membership program that uses innovative applications of technology to recruit, service, and retain members.

„A healthy democracy requires an informed, engaged electorate,š said Tom Layton, the Gerbode Foundation‚s executive director. „This is especially true in the area of campaign finance. We know of no one doing more effective, constructive work in this field than the California Voter Foundation. We are proud to provide support for such critical work."

CVF was also awarded a $60,000 grant from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation for continued work in the area of digital disclosure, including a redesign and expansion of CVF‚s Digital Sunlight web site, the initial development of which was funded by the Joyce Foundation in 1996.

"The Joyce Foundation believes that no reform of the campaign finance system is more fundamental than full, accurate and timely disclosure of how candidates raise and spend their money,š said Larry Hansen, Vice President of the Joyce Foundation. „Without disclosure, little else matters. Thanks to computers and the Internet, there is absolutely no reason the public should ever again be kept in the dark about the fundraising activities of their elected representatives,š he added.

„Much of the credit for this transformation in our politics is owed to organizations such as the California Voter Foundation that have championed electronic filing of, and Internet access to campaign finance records," Hansen said.

The Joyce Foundation grant includes funding for a state-by-state evaluation of electronic filing programs, continued tracking of electronic filing developments in jurisdictions around the country, and the creation of a ratings program that will allow the public to easily determine how their state compares to others in the area of digital disclosure.

The Gerbode Foundation and Joyce Foundation have been CVF‚s two top funders since Alexander re-founded the organization in 1994. Other major contributors to CVF include the Columbia Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Foundation, The Piper Fund, and the Pew Center for Civic Journalism. In addition, several corporations have supported CVF‚s programs, including Pacific Telesis, Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Intel. Since 1994, the California Voter Foundation has raised a total of nearly $800,000 in grants and in-kind support.

More information about the California Voter Foundation is available at the organization‚s web site, at http://www.calvoter.org.

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