Firestarter Focused Grant 2019/2020: IGNITE THE VOTE!

“The Right to Vote is the most critical aspect of democracy and citizenship.”

 — Nikole Hannah-Jones, The1619 Project


KFW is accepting applications from young artists focused on voting and everyone being counted in the census.

Are you a young leader of social change? Can you move other young people to make their voices heard through voter registration and getting out the vote?

Are you an artist, writer, photographer, theatre-maker, musician, puppeteer, graphic designer, or otherwise creative person? Are you 18-25? (If not you can forward this to someone who is!)

Have you heard about other young changemakers and their work across the nation? We want to see Kentucky creativity added to the mix.

To learn more: see Firestarter Voting Grant Guidelines or scroll down for more info.

To apply: go to our online application portal and click “Firestarter Ignite the Vote.”

Here are some examples of what’s happening around the country:

  1. March for Our Lives organizers created a shirt that registers voters. They’ve registered over 100,000 new voters.,
  2. We The Future: Young Leaders of Social Change. We the Future showcases the stories of ten young leaders working to build an equitable and inclusive world through their respective social change movements.
  3. Midwest Culture Lab from the Alliance for Youth Organizing – The Midwest Culture Lab shared one thousand stories in Fall 2018 to increase the civic and political participation of young people in the Midwest. They focused on Media (Digital: videos, podcasts, .gifs, graphics, copy; Physical: posters, yard signs, comic books, door scripts) Experiences (Songs, parades, marches, parties at the polls, comedy shows, “Give A Shit” Happy Hours!) and Products (Tees, hats, stickers, buttons, patches, posters) They say, “As the drivers of culture, artists and influencers have an unparalleled ability to create change by creating stories that engage communities and tell untold stories.”
  4. Project South supports voter education, registration, and activation. They have developed tools, guides, FAQ, swag and even games about voter suppression, registration and engagement.
  5. Rock the Vote developed a street teams guide leading up to the 2008 election and had a goal of registering 2,000,000 18-29 year olds to vote

Apply to get funding to do this work, too!

 What you can ask for: You can request up to $500 to make art to focus on voting and being counted in the census. Applications will be accepted on the 15th of the month on a rolling basis through April 15, 2020. Applicants must be 18-25 to apply and residents of Kentucky.

What you can make: posters, videos, podcasts, songs, singles, comic books, graphics, yard signs, billboards, t-shirts, hats, buttons, stickers, essays, poems, blogs, memes, plays, graphics, paintings, drawings, quilts, book art or anything creative and artistic that addresses the issue.

What issues: Art that addresses voter protection, voter registration, misinformation and disinformation, voter intimidation and suppression, who is counted in the census, gerrymandering, and how these issues affect women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, former felons, immigrants, and/or other marginalized groups of people who are not currently being counted.

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:  

  1. Action: Art and activities that inspire action on voting rights, voter registration, voter turnout or everyone being counted in the census.
  2. Artform: Art is central to the activities and feminist in nature.
  3. Activities: the activities are clearly defined. Work plan, timeline and budget are clear and realistic.
  4. Audience: a specific audience is defined and the activities or art will reach the intended audience in an effective way.

How to apply: Artists who live and work in Kentucky may apply through our online portal: If you need help with the online system, need a paper copy of this information, or need to submit a paper application, contact

KFW is committed to making grants accessible to all regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, educational level, economic condition, or geographic origin. With proposals of equal merit, priority should be given to: first-time applicants; women from rural areas; women of color, especially Black or African American women; LGBTQ+ women; low income women; women who did not complete high school or college; and women with disabilities.

Eligibility: Grants cannot be used for: tuition, costs or living expenses while working toward a degree (or fees for auditing a class), promotion of specific religious doctrines, non art-related expenses  (i.e., overdue bills, taxes, etc.), work conducted by artists that are not residents of Kentucky, and activities that do not focus on improving the lives of Kentucky women or girls. A full list of eligibility requirements are listed here:


  • Applications are due on the 15th of each month at 5 pm EST. Decisions will be made by the 15th of the following month. Activities should not begin until after the decision date for the grant cycle in question.
  • Activities beginning prior to the notification date will not be considered. Applications are due on the 15th of the month with a one-month turnaround. Applications received after the 15th may be considered for the next month, if applicable.
  • In order to meet the demand for funds, partial funding may be awarded.
  • A brief final report of activities will be required within 30 days of completion. If awarded a grant, you must complete the Final Report before applying for additional funding.
  • Recipients must acknowledge KFW in social media and other communications of their work related to the this grant.

QUESTIONS? Contact the KFW at 502-562-0045 or by email at

A Note About Archives: Duke University is the designated archive for all KFW records. The foundation forwards all paper and digital files concerning the grant programs to the Rare BookManuscripts and Special Collections Library at Duke University. All KFW records deposited at Duke are open to qualified researchers. By submitting this application, you waive any right to claim a privacy interest if your project is accepted for funding.


To apply, go to our online application portal and click the “Firestarter Ignite the Vote” opportunity.