Kelley Elliott believes communities are strong when citizens are engaged.
Kelley is an experienced issue and advocacy organizer. She has led multiple campaigns—doing work for immigration, education, climate, health care and more. She’s worked on state, local and national elections. In 2016, Kelley organized volunteers around the Presidential election with a focus on youth organizing and voter registration on college campuses and rural communities in Pennsylvania.
Did you know that Tennessee ranks LAST in voter turnout? That was part of our inspiration when we launched our Civic Engagement Causeway Challenge in 2017, asking: How can we use creativity to increase civic engagement in Chattanooga? Kelley put her political experience to work, and won a Challenge grant for her program: Proud Voter. Their team set a goal to register 1,000 new voters in the fall of 2017. Not only did they reach their goal, they more than doubled it!
Proud Voter is a non-partisan coalition of individuals in Tennessee who are committed to supporting citizens through voter registration and participation initiatives. Launched in September 2017, Proud Voter pairs the latest online tools with on-the-ground outreach strategies to reach a wider audience. Funds from the Causeway Challenge allowed the Proud Voter team to create systems and build relationships that would transform local civic engagement from the inside out.
The success of Proud Voter really lies in their strategy and partnerships. In the beginning, Proud Voter was a initiative with 5 community partners. Partners join the program and agree to bring civic engagement into their mission, meeting their existing audience where they are. Fast forward to today, there’s over 35 community partners ranging from organizations like La Paz and the NAACP to Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Women’s Fund of Greater Chattanooga. Proud Voter works diligently to intentionally communicate, promote and take action towards increasing voter access, education and participation.
Through the Causeway Challenge, Kelley found that the weekly sessions and one-on-one coaching helped her team examine the mechanics of executing their program and how to scale it. Through the Proud Voter website, you’ll find a variety of ways to stay connected and access resources on all things related to voting and voter education.
The next General Election is November 6 and Proud Voter, along with its community partners, is working hard to register new voters by the October 9 deadline. You can text ‘vote’ to the number 91990, to easily register online. Help them reach their goal of 75,000 new registered voters by joining the challenge, volunteering or donating. To follow along with Proud Voter’s progress, visit their website or follow along on Facebook.
The Causeway Challenge is an ideas contest centered around a specific question, that empowers individuals to pilot their ideas for community change, with grassroots funding and hands-on coaching.
Kelley applied to the Causeway Civic Engagement Challenge, which asked: How can we use creativity to increase civic engagement in Chattanooga? Kelley applied and was awarded $3,000 for her program: Proud Voter. She put her political experience to work by developing a non-partisan coalition of individuals in Tennessee who are committed to supporting citizens through voter registration and participation initiatives.