The ability to take part in policymaking from the ballot box to the legislative chamber is fundamental to the health of every person, but too few of us have the resources or know-how to participate. We need the tools to support strong, enduring civic engagement in all our communities, so they can elect leaders and shape policies for a quality life and good health. We are calling our project to do just that, simply, Civic Health.


Text on the left reads: “How we Improve Health.” A flow chart on the right begins with an icon of blocks falling into place in a grid, next to the words “Capacity Building.” An arrow points down to an icon of a person behind a podium, next to the words “Elected & Appointed Officials, Advocates & Leaders.” AN arrow points down to an icon of a stamped document, next to the words “Policy & systems Change.” An arrow points down to an icon of a hand holding a city, next to the words “Community Change.” An arrow points down to an icon depicting a group of people with their arms raised, next to the words “Improve Health.”

Civic Health’s Strategy:

  • Boldly resource and support 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 organizations led by Black people, Indigenous people and people of color (BIPOC)

  • Build independent political power and infrastructure using integrated voter            engagement

  • Connect urban and rural communities across Oregon and Southwest Washington

  • Appoint leaders, elect candidates and move important policies.


Civic Health’s Goals:

  • Build the skills and infrastructure in BIPOC communities to change policies at the local and state level so that everyone has access to the resources and opportunities they need

  • Develop leaders and talent rooted in, and supportive of, BIPOC communities

  • Establish a vibrant democratic culture that values, centers and supports BIPOC


BIPOC Leadership

Race/ethnicity is one of the strongest predictors of health, so Civic Health places Black, Indigenous and people-of-color-led (BIPOC) organizations at the the forefront of this work. We also recognize that intersecting factors like class, geography and disability compound to create even greater barriers to civic engagement and health. Civic Health will emphasize the leadership of people and organizations that work at these intersections.


Integrated Voter Engagement

Civic Health will use the Integrated Voter Engagement (IVE) framework. IVE organizations register and turn people out to vote, mobilize their base to change policy and hold elected officials accountable during and between elections. They also strive to build long-term relationships and trust with communities rather than episodic or transactional engagement. In using IVE across the program, Civic Health grantees will work together to create a vibrant democratic culture and build independent political power. A community has independent political power when it can influence decision-making without relying on mainstream political institutions like political parties.

Ten small circles surround a larger circle that contains the words “Integrated Voter Engagement.” Each smaller circle has an icon inside it and words beside it: a person holding a picket sign, next to the words “Hold electeds Accountable;” a set of scales, next to the words “Defend & Expand voting rights;” two overlapping speech bubbles, next to the words “Engage & Educate the Electorate;” A person from the shoulders up with a checkmark on their chest, next to the words “Register Voters;” A pencil drawing a checkmark in a box, next to the words “Get Out the Vote;” a checkmark inside a shield, next to the words “Protect the Vote;” People standing in a circle, next to the words “Organize & Mobilize Communities;” A person standing on a box, arm raised, with a person on either side of them, next to the words “Develop Strong Leaders;” a capitol building, next to the words “Achieve policy impact;” a megaphone, next to the words “Persuade the public.”


July - Sept 2019 - NWHF accepts applications for an assessment and planning process

Early 2020 - Assessment and planning process

Mid 2020 - Full application process

Late 2020 - NWHF starts making grants

2021 - 2024 - Capacity and movement building; research and evaluation to assess and improve Civic Health


Contact Us

If you have questions, please contact Jen Matheson, Director of Programs, at or 971.230.1292.