Initiatives including new ’18 in 18’ campaign funded with $8m from Omidyar Network, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and MacArthur Foundation
NEW YORK, NY –September 26, 2017– DoSomething.org, the largest tech platform for young people and social change with over 5.5 million members globally, today announced that it had raised $8M in a self-led funding round. The new funding will enable DoSomething.org to create a community of leaders and lifelong advocates for critical issues affecting vulnerable populations such as Criminal Justice Reform, Climate Change, Islamophobia and Civic Engagement. The key funders of this new initiative are Greylock Partner and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman ($4M), Omidyar Network ($4M) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($600,000).
With this new funding, The organization will amplify the voices of young people, by launching youth-led initiatives such as “18 in ‘18,” a year-long campaign to educate young people about civic action. The initiative was created to acknowledge the 75% of their 5.5 Million members, who will be eligible to vote in the 2018 midterms; 90% by 2020.
DoSomething will also focus on updating its platform using data to creatively enhance the community experience through increased content and social confidence features. These new features will better connect young people who want to activate around social change to build a community that is supportive, safe, informed, civically-engaged and inclusive— providing accurate, objective and diverse sources and research to their members, focusing on the issues that they know are most important to young people.
Stacy Donohue, Investment Partner at Omidyar Network commented, “To create a healthy, vibrant society we must enable more young people to play a full and active role in civic life. We must give them greater voice and the platforms to share ideas, connect with others and take action on the issues that matter to them. We’re excited to support DoSomething as it seeks to engage millions of young people in civic action to shape our future, strengthen our democracy and to empower a new generation of leaders.”
“DoSomething.org’s initiatives to engage with young people are making it easier for people to find the issues and campaigns that matter most to them, and giving them an evolving set of tools to leverage their impact,” said Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners. “By engaging with young people throughout their life, DoSomething will impact young people in meaningful ways, and equip them with the tools to make a persistent change over time .”
In 2018 Millennials will pass Baby Boomers as the largest generation of Americans eligible to vote, a transition that could potentially shift four decades of political dominance for Baby Boomers, the only catch, is that these Millennials will need to vote for their potential influence to have an actual impact on elections. According to the TMI Strategy Young American Tracking Poll, for the first time in recent history, young people are reporting increased rates of civic participation (growing interest in politics, opinion formation, completion of civic actions), turning their dissatisfaction into the beginnings of political power. Additionally, in an April 2017 survey, 2 in 3 DoSomething.org members now find political engagement as equally as impactful as community service.
DoSomething will focus on increased civic engagement for young people, including those under the age of 18, which is an untapped market by many political organizations; since they’re not of voting age. These efforts are necessary for the organization, whose mission is to mobilize the most socially conscious, socially responsible, socially active generation of young people ever. Understanding that under 18 is the critical time in teens’ lives when they’re developing and solidifying their identity, priorities, and values. By engaging young people before voting age, the organization’s goal is to have young people who are more primed to vote by the time they’re 18 and increase their likeliness to continue to be engaged politically beyond election years.
“Young people are often looked at as lazy, selfish, and less empathetic than previous generations, something that we know is simply not true,” said Aria Finger, CEO and Chief Old Person at DoSomething.org. “Young people are incredibly passionate about changing the world for the better, they just don’t necessarily know how. DoSomething.org is here to connect them with the causes they’re passionate about, provide a diverse network of other young people who are similarly passionate about social change, and work to amplify the voice of young people who want to see change.”
As part of the new civic engagement strategy, DoSomething has created an advisory board including Faiz Shakir, Director of Politics for ACLU People Power; Ilya Sheyman, Executive Director of MoveOn.org Political Action; Jennifer Edwards, Program Director at Color of Change; Abby Kiesa Director of Impact at CIRCLE; Elias Alcantara, Columbia University’s Center for Justice; Jen Tolentino, Director of Tech & Policy at Rock The Vote; Mike Ward, TurboVote Program Director at Democracy Works; Edna Ishayik, Director of Civic Engagement Initiatives at Civic Nation, Ashley Kroetsch #Resist Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance; Ben Yee, Democratic State Committeeman; Secretary of the NY County Democratic Party and State Committeeman for NY’s 66th Assembly District. The work of the advisory board is to connect with other civic tech organizations to increase their understanding of young people and amplify their voices.