Philadelphia Mayoral Election Project: Frequently Asked Questions 

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is embarking on a comprehensive citywide effort to catalyze civic action and dialogue leading up to Philadelphia’s Mayoral Election in November 2023. The initiative will equip Philadelphians with what they need to ensure an informed voting experience through the support of public-opinion research, intensive community listening, issues coverage in multiple languages, voter guides, civics information, and events and debates.

The project’s overarching goal is to ensure that the issues that matter most to all of Philadelphia’s diverse communities are amplified and centered in the 2023 election by media, community organizations, and the candidates.

For more information about the project, click here.

ELIGIBILITY 

Can an organization apply as both a media and a community partner?   

If your organization has two separate projects that fall into different categories (media or community), then we ask that you reach out to us and have a conversation about your proposals before submitting an application.  

Can an organization be part of a collaborative project and also apply for an individual project? 

Yes. Applicants should submit one application per project, regardless of how many organizations may be collaborating on that project.  

Are for-profit media organizations eligible to apply?  

Yes, media partners can be for-profit organizations. However, community partners must be a 501(c)3 nonprofit or have a fiscal sponsor. 

Is this funding only for new projects?  

No. Funding can be used for new community-centered projects relating to the 2023 election, or for existing projects. If applying for an existing project, we’re looking for ways to support the expansion or continued sustainability of that project. For example, are you growing an existing project to include new content, to reach a new community, or support the project internally with staff or operational resources?  

Can projects take place outside of the City of Philadelphia? 

No, this initiative is specifically intended for activities and reporting taking place in the City of Philadelphia. Organizations who operate outside of the city are eligible to apply only if their proposed project takes place in Philadelphia. 

Are op-ed pieces eligible media projects? 

No. All media projects that receive funding must be fact-based and non-partisan; opinion pieces are not eligible. 

Are arts and cultural activities eligible projects? 

Yes, but the projects must aim to increase civic engagement around the election through information access and education.  

APPLICATION PROCESS 

How do I apply? 

Organizations who meet the eligibility requirements above may submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) via Submittable by October 11, 2022.  

What is the timeline for applications and decisions?

Oct 11: LOI deadline
Mid-Late October: Invitations to submit full application
Nov 13: Full application deadline
Nov 21: Grant term begins

What budget information should be included in the LOI? What if we aren’t certain of our expected expenses at this stage? 

In the LOI, please include a requested grant amount and an overview of your anticipated project expenses. We do not expect these financials to be final during the LOI stage. In our review process, we will work with you to flesh out budgeting and determine an appropriate grant amount for your proposal. 

What happens after I submit an LOI? 

We will review all LOIs according to our review criteria. We will then invite some organizations to submit a full application, which includes more detailed questions about project goals, communities served, metrics, and a full project budget. During the full application stage, we will work with applicants to identify potential collaborations and help develop a project budget with a requested grant amount. Full applications will be due on November 13th, and grant decisions will be made by the end of November. 

Can you describe the reporting requirements for grantees that receive funding? 

There will be two formal reports required for each grantee, one interim report due midway through the grant term (May 2023) and one final report due 30 days after the end of the grant term (December 2023). These reports will include progress updates on your grant activities, evaluation of the metrics included in your original application, a financial report on funds spent, and an analysis of successes and challenges. 

In addition to the two formal reports, we will also require grantees to attend informal convenings with project partners, to be scheduled at a later date.  

OVERALL INITIATIVE 

What are The Lenfest Institute’s goals or measures of success for the initiative at-large?  

Our overall goal is for Philadelphians to ensure that the issues that matter most to all of Philadelphia’s diverse communities are amplified and centered in the 2023 election by media, community organizations, and the candidates. While increased voter turnout is one measure of success, we are also focused on the following: 

  • Community engagement with all of Philadelphia’s diverse communities, including activities in every zip code and materials produced in at least five languages 
  • Increased civic engagement and an informed electorate through civics education, service journalism, and a citywide marketing campaign 
  • A deep and regular cadence of community-centered reporting that focuses on the issues most important to Philadelphians  
  • Media and community partners working together to hold the City’s next administration accountable to the needs of their communities and their campaign promises  

What do you mean when you say the initiative will have a “unified citywide message?” 

The project brand will include initiatives that encourage participation in the electoral process, and engagement with project partners’ grant-funded media and activities. We will have unified visual branding appear on all funded content, and an aggregated website that houses all reporting and materials produced by project partners and information on how to get involved.  

What resources (beyond grant funding) will partners have access to? 

  • Public opinion research produced by our partners at Pew, SSRS, and Temple Institute for Survey Research  
  • Trainings for media and community partners on topics relevant to elections and community engagement (such as how to combat mid and disinformation, what nonprofits can and can’t do around elections and politics, etc.) 
  • Access to select materials produced by other partners (reporting, voter guides, civics education materials, etc.)  
  • Community of practice and regular cadence of meetings with other partners 

How can I get in touch if I have further questions? 

For questions related to community partners, please contact Portia Fullard, Community Engagement Consultant, at [email protected]

For questions related to media partners, please contact Kristin Traniello, Editorial Consultant, at [email protected]

For questions about the initiative at-large, please contact Shawn Mooring, Head of Philadelphia Programs, at [email protected].  

For questions related to the grant application process, please contact Allie Vanyur, Program Manager, at alli[email protected].