Vote Run Lead Awarded $2 Million Gift from MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving Open Call

Funds will help inspire and train more women to run for state legislatures — creating fairer, more reflective government for everyone

NEW YORK, N.Y., March 19, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vote Run Lead, the nonprofit that trains women to run for office and win, is thrilled to announce it has been selected to receive a generous $2 million gift from MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving Open Call.

In March 2023, Yield Giving launched an Open Call for equity-focused, community-led organizations whose explicit purpose is to enable individuals and families to achieve substantive improvement in their well-being through foundational resources. The Open Call received 6,353 applications and had initially planned for 250 awards of $1 million each. In light of the incredible work of these organizations, the donor team decided to expand the awardee pool and the award amount, giving $640 million to 361 organizations.

As Vote Run Lead was not only selected, but also ranked among the highest scorers of all applicants, Yield Giving awarded it $2 million. This unrestricted gift will be used by Vote Run Lead to strengthen the organization, its work, and community as it prepares women to enter 2024 races and beyond. Specifically, Vote Run Lead will apply these funds to supercharge its key RUN/51 initiative in 9 states: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. These focus areas were chosen strategically to help the U.S. reach a tipping point in women’s representation in government and to achieve 51% women holding state legislative seats.

“We are beyond delighted to receive a $2 million gift from MacKenzie Scott’s Yield Giving,” said Erin Vilardi, CEO and founder of Vote Run Lead. “Innovative ideas like ours, to make America's legislatures 51% women, need innovative support. This investment comes at a time of major growth for Vote Run Lead and will give us momentum we need to meet our goals and equip women with what they need to run and win.”

Vote Run Lead is on a mission to make the statehouse, her house. Women in America make up 51% of the population, but only 33% of state legislators. At the current pace of change, it will take up to 300 years for women to see themselves in the majority in each statehouse. We can’t wait that long. Launched in 2021, the RUN/51 strategy specifically focuses on recruiting and training women to run for state legislative offices and win. Vote Run Lead training has helped 174 alumni run for state legislature seats — and 69.5% of those who made it to their general election ballot won their races! Today, 129 Vote Run Lead alumni sit in state legislative offices across 30 states. Yet Vote Run Lead says the work has only just begun!

As a data-driven visionary organization, Vote Run Lead analyzed 40 different factors across all 50 states to determine the levers of change that will accelerate the number of women in the state legislatures across the country. Policy at the state legislative level is driving crucial changes ranging from voting rights to women’s bodily autonomy to the books our kids can read. This is where the fight is!

“We don’t want it all — but we do want at least 51%,” noted Vilardi. “This gift from Yield Giving, plus the validation from our peers and from the incredible panel of evaluators, is a signal that our work is on the right track, creating impact while in continuous dialogue with our community. We’ve been building Vote Run Lead for 10 years now and it’s highly motivating to earn such recognition from Ms. Scott, one of the world’s most influential philanthropists.”

Vote Run Lead is the largest and most diverse nonpartisan organization in the U.S. focused on women’s leadership as a lever of positive change and social good. In 10 years of sharing the Vote Run Lead curriculum, the organization has trained more women than any similar training organization, including partisan ones, and with high win rates for alumni. Vote Run Lead knows leadership presents itself in different ways and new perspectives must be brought forth if our democracy is to be truly inclusive. Vote Run Lead maintains a commitment to being nonpartisan while holding true to its values of training anti-racist, pro-democracy feminists.

About Vote Run Lead

Vote Run Lead trains women to run for office and win. With more than 55,000 women reached by its programming, Vote Run Lead is the largest and most diverse nonprofit training and campaign leadership program in the country and is focused on improving women’s representation in America’s statehouses. Vote Run Lead was founded by Erin Vilardi, formerly of The White House Project, and the organization seeks to unleash the political power of women as voters, candidates and leaders to create an equitable democracy. To learn more, donate, or get involved, visit or, or follow on X/Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram, all at @VoteRunLead.

About Yield Giving
Established by MacKenzie Scott to share a financial fortune created through the effort of countless people, Yield Giving is named after a belief in adding value by giving up control. To date, Yield’s network of staff and advisors has yielded over $16.5 billion to 1,900+ non-profit teams to use as they see fit for the benefit of others. To learn more, visit

About Lever for Change
Lever for Change connects donors with bold solutions to the world’s biggest problems — including issues like racial inequity, gender inequality, lack of access to economic opportunity, and climate change. Using an inclusive, equitable model and due diligence process, Lever for Change creates customized challenges and other tailored funding opportunities. Founded in 2019 as a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Lever for Change has influenced over $1.7 billion in grants to date and provided support to more than 145 organizations. To learn more, visit


Vote Run Lead wins $2 million gift from Yield Giving Vote Run Lead to Help Train More Women to Run for Office

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