Advancing Democracy, Building Power: One Time Grant for 2019

Artwork by Arielle Lee Campbell, Raychelle Duazo and Shepard Fairey, courtesy of

In some years, KFW is able to offer a one-time grant on select topics. The topic for 2019 was “Advancing Democracy; Building Power.” See below for an overview of this one-time grant.

For Full List of 2019 Grantees and Summaries, click HERE.

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“History is right here, right now. We are in it; we are making it.” – Joy Harjo, Native American Poet

How do we build power for women and girls? How do we share power? How do we advance an equitable democracy?

In this era of extreme political division in our nation, we reflect on the promise of our democracy, as well as the ongoing struggle to live up to its unrealized potential. We honor the long history of social justice work through small networks, largely unseen and unrecognized, often led by women of color, to secure voting rights for women and access to full participation in our democracy.  We also recognize that this struggle is far from over.

There is a hunger and opportunity to challenge those who traditionally hold power and change the stories currently at the center of our politics and economy. The steady erosion of our democratic systems, rising authoritarianism, uneven rule of law, and weakening civil and human rights protections signal challenges to essential aspects of our democracy.

This moment provides an opportunity for feminist artists to use an intersectional lens to imagine a world where all women and girls and gender nonconforming people can engage equitably. Where women lead and are seen. Where people from diverse worldviews and cultural backgrounds build, share and wield power, leading us toward a future of inclusion across boundaries of age, race, ethnicity, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, citizenship status, geographic homeplace, and socio-economic status. Where women lead the charge to create an equitable democracy for all.

With this grant, we invite you to imagine how your art (visual, performing, media or literary) can inspire action towards building power for women and girls, sharing power among and within your communities and wielding power towards fulfilling the promise of an equitable democracy. You might consider:

  • Art that emphasizes decision-making power and affirms personal agency for women and girls.
  • Art that turns to indigenous ways of sharing power that can unseat current power structures and dominant paradigms.
  • Art that illuminates untold stories, currently and historically, of women of color, rural women, or women with disabilities in the struggle for full participation.
  • Art that addresses electoral politics, voter protection, misinformation and disinformation, voter intimidation, who is counted in the census, gerrymandering, restoration of voting rights for former felons, citizenship status, (currently and historically), building democratic power and catalyzing democratic renewal.
  • Art that honors the ancestors as well as prepares for the generations to come. Art that reflects on history while inspiring action.
  • Art that explores what shared power looks like in relationships, organizations or communities. Art that envisions new ways of practicing democracy and community.
  • Art that opens opportunities for young women and allies to learn about what it means to participate in our democracy.
  • Art that is designed to build sustainable collective power for women and our allies, resulting in greater civic participation and impact.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker, Author

“The arts are not a frill. The arts are a response to our individuality and our nature, and help to shape our identity. What is there that can transcend deep difference and stubborn divisions? The arts. They have a wonderful universality. Art has the potential to unify. It can speak in many languages without a translator. The arts do not discriminate. The arts can lift us up.”  —Barbara Jordan, Former Texas Congresswoman

For Full Grant Guidelines, click HERE.

Click here to view past One Time Grant awards.