Puffin Democracy Fellows
Through the generosity and collaborative efforts of the Puffin Foundation, The Andrew Goodman Foundation launched the Puffin Democracy Fellows (PDF) program in December 2017. The Fellowship provides highly motivated and talented graduates of our Vote Everywhere program with the opportunity to take their work to the next level by developing projects that promote AGF’s mission to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy, garner regional and national attention, and lay the foundation for developing progressive solutions to pressing social justice problems.
The first cohort consisted of five Fellows, all of whom are alumni of the Vote Everywhere program. Thanks to their concentrated talents and efforts, AGF was able to address crucial problems, particularly in the South, essential to increasing access to the ballot box for student voters and other traditionally-disenfranchised groups.
Expectations and resource materials of the Puffin Democracy Fellows program are informed by promising practices from leading experts in educating organizers and evidence-based pedagogy on distance-learning for social justice work. The projects our Fellows undertook have varied from providing language assistance to non-native English speakers in Ohio, to restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences in Alabama, to advocating for the use of student ID as voter ID in the South.
The Fellowship has also further positioned the five Fellows as thought leaders within the field of civic engagement and voting rights. For example, Puffin Democracy Fellow Valencia Richardson spoke alongside Senator Cory Booker and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi on Capitol Hill as they introduced The Help Students Vote Act. This proposed legislation aimed at ensuring higher education institutions support student voter registration. Additionally, all five of the Fellows have published op-eds in local or regional publications, discussing their projects or other aspects of voting rights.