Vigorous civic engagement is the foundation for a strong democracy. Broader participation from people and local communities, especially communities of color and/or low-income groups, will lead to more just decision-making and a stronger social fabric.
FRESC and coalition partners' canvass rallies before hitting the doors, 2008
Too many individuals are discouraged from voting or civic engagement due to a lack of information or barriers, such as confusing procedures or long lines.
FRESC is committed to the engagement of people in the decisions that affect their lives and communities. We work to eliminate barriers to broader civic engagement, provide information about the electoral process and education about the issues the effect people’s daily lives. We work to link civic participation to policy choices that shape our communities, like good jobs, affordable housing, environmental sustainability and creating a strong foundation for public services.
Civic engagement is an element of all of FRESC's programs, but is the primary focus in the following programs:
Voter Engagement FRESC’ s voter engagement program has utilized a variety of tactics to promote board participation in the democratic process. Major components are non-partisan voter education, registration and getting out especially in low-income, moderate-income and vulnerable neighborhoods. FRESC also provides analysis and support for ballot initiatives that fall within our mission to expand good jobs and build strong communities, as well as opposition of initiatives that threaten these goals.
2010 Electoral Program
Coalition members get ready to hit the doors in New Era’s Democracy Bus
In November, Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected three anti-government measures and fought back against attacks on women and communities of color at the ballot. FRESC’s 2010 electoral and non-partisan civic engagement work helped defeat Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, collectively know as the “Bad 3” - harmful and deceptive measures that would have devastated our communities. Numerous Denver area non-profit groups formed a coalition and worked tirelessly to defeat the measures through education and outreach and FRESC is proud to have taken part in this monumental effort.
Participating groups took collective planning and the collaborative model to a level never attempted by the nonprofit community in Colorado. This approach made it possible to be efficient and coordinate work so more turf could be covered. The coalition focused on increasing voter participation in historically underrepresented communities, primarily in the Denver Metro region, using a three tier approach: doors, mail and phones. FRESC helped coordinate and participated in volunteer efforts designed to complement the project, lending not only phone banking, and door knocking skills, but also by helping to prepare for large scale canvassing operations.
In 2008 Colorado faced an unprecedented attack on working families and equal opportunity.
Door-knocking in 2008
The ballot was packed five statewide ballot measures geared to push back opportunities for workers, affirmative action, and women, all but one were defeated (and that one was successfully challenged in the courts). Colorado is the first state in the country to successfully defeat Right to Work (for less) amendment since the 1970s.
Canvassers getting excited to defeat Amendments 46, 47, 48, 49 and 54 in 2008
FRESC developed and executed a comprehensive campaign that linked the issues citizens care about like good jobs, access to quality health care, affordable housing and environmental sustainability with the amendments that would negatively affect working families. FRESC knocked on over 72,000 doors over several months of canvassing, and recruited 3,000 new members to encourage citizens to vote down ballot and against anti-worker and anti-equal opportunity amendments.
FRESC gave presentations on these ballot issues to over 150 community groups and appeared in local and national television, radio, and print media. The Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice in Colorado, coordinated by FRESC (link) organized 55 clergy from across the state to publically oppose and defeat two anti-labor Ballot Amendments in Colorado.
FRESC lead a statewide “get out the vote” push with allies for the final four. This combined effort knocked on more than 71,000 doors, carried out a voter protection plan and prepared to ensure all people had the right to vote. Together with our national network, the Partnership for Working Families, FRESC hosted over 80 partners from across the country who lent their skills, time and enthusiasm to the battle. With razor thin margins of victory on several amendments, FRESC’s ground effort and large labor, community and clergy coalition put us over the top.
In 2006, FRESC made direct contact with thousands of voters and played an integral role in the successful coalition effort to pass the ballot initiative that raised Colorado’s minimum wage to $6.85, indexed to inflation. Our voter engagement efforts targeted neighborhoods that coincided with our Campaign for Responsible Development. (link)