Human Rights Campaign Awards Grants to Local Nonprofits in Joint Effort to Elect Pro-Equality Candidates in Wisconsin

by HRC Staff

Grants Going to Local Nonprofits Progress North and Black Leaders Organizing for Communities

MADISON, WISCONSIN — Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBTQ+ people – awarded major grants to local nonprofits Progress North and Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC).

Progress North is a nonprofit that connects individuals and organizations in Northwest Wisconsin across race, class, gender, sexual orientation, generation and geography. The grant will support efforts to mobilize voters in Wisconsin. The new partnership will advance efforts to engage the Indigenous and Two Spirit community in Northern Wisconsin ahead of the midterm elections – two communities where Progress North has existing deep connections.

BLOC is a nonprofit that invests and empowers Black citizens, leaders, and businesses in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. The grant will support efforts to expand their reach and turn out the African American community in Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee.

The investment in Progress North is part of HRC’s efforts to turn out voters in Wisconsin and elsewhere. HRC is proud to support community-focused, BIPOC led organizations fighting to protect abortion rights, voting rights, and LGBTQ+ rights.

Human Rights Campaign Wisconsin State Director Wendy Strout released the following statement:

“We are so proud to partner with Progress North and BLOC – trusted organizations that share our values and understand the importance of motivating civic engagement by Wisconsinites from diverse communities.”

Progress North Executive Director Shawnu Ksicinski released the following statement:

"HRC is a great partner that helps us advocate for and pass policy that protects the human rights of our LGBTQ2IA+ communities, in addition advocating for our rights to vote, protecting our freedoms and ability to make decisions about our own bodies. Our staff is reflective of the lived journey and experiences of many within the LGBTQ2IA+ community. We’re excited about this partnership, and the ability to continue to make sure the voices of folks in our region are heard."

BLOC Executive Director Angela Lang released the following statement:

Thank you to our partners at the Human Rights Campaign for investing in our efforts to improve the lives of the Black community in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. Black voters showed up in 2020 and we are working to motivate Black communities to show up in large numbers again this November. In these final days, we will do everything we can do to promote civic engagement by all Wisconsinites, no matter what they look like or who they love.”

HRC’s Commitment to Wisconsin

HRC has had staff and resources on the ground in Wisconsin since 2017. During the 2020 election cycle, HRC staff on the ground recruited 5,800 individual volunteers nationwide who completed 28,500 hours of voter contact in more than 2,650 volunteer events. HRC engaged in robust digital and online GOTV efforts, including sending over 2.7 million person-to-person text messages, a massive increase from 2018 when approximately 500,000 texts were sent. HRC sent over 2.5 million mail pieces, had over 930,000 phone conversations with voters, and engaged more than 200,000 voters through HRC’s voter dashboard.

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