The Rural Utah Project seeks to empower underrepresented voters in rural Utah through training, education, voter registration, and issue advocacy. We identify, invest, and ignite a dialogue with voters that live in Utah's rural areas, empowering them to take action and vote on the issues that matter most to Utah's future. We believe that when we organize overlooked communities in our state, that we will be able to inspire important conversations and create life-long citizen advocates for Utah's future.
The world changed in March when the COVID-19 pandemic forced governments and organizations to do everything possible to slow the spread. Here at the Rural Utah Project, our mission relies on meeting and engaging with people and voters where they are. The social distancing restrictions forced us to pause and rethink.
In late March 2020, the Rural Utah Projet Education Fund was asked to serve as fiscal sponsor for Ethel Branch’s Navajo Hopi COVID-19 Relief Fund. Fiscal sponsorship, a fairly common agreement for non-profits, allowed for Ethel and her leadership team to focus on what matters most: how to get aid to the greatest number of people as quickly as possible. Our Education Fund, as fiscal sponsor, doesn't make decisions over operations or messaging of the relief fund. We’re simply here to ease logistical hurdles, and provide donors to the Relief Fund with the ability to write off your generous donation as a tax deductible charitable contribution. You can contribute to the Navajo and Hopi Families Relief Fund here.
For our own programs, with our staff and volunteers in Bluff Utah, we have helped create a mutual aid network for the Bluff Area, the 7 Utah chapters of the Navajo Nation, and the White Mesa Areas called Bluff Area Mutual Aid. This effort has focused on the delivery of food and supplies to families in need of aid. We’re proud to work with our partners in Bluff, Utah Navajo Health System, and the Navajo Nation on ensuring this program provides sustainable and direct aid.
Contributions by check to either effort can be made out to "The Rural Utah Project Education Fund" with either "Navajo and Hopi Fund" or "BAMA" in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to: The Rural Utah Project, 323 S 600 E, Suite 130, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84102.
In 2018, the Rural Utah Project registered over 1,600 voters on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County - the home of Bears Ears National Monument. This work paved the way for the landmark election of Willie Grayeyes and Kenneth Maryboy, who now serve on the first ever majority-Navajo San Juan County commission. This historic progress represents what can be accomplished when we invest in underrepresented areas of Utah.
In 2019 - the Rural Utah Project will continue its Navajo Nation voter registration program by working to provide addresses to Navajo Nation residents to aid in voter registration, emergency services and mail delivery. In Partnership with Google Plus Codes, the Rural Utah Project will seek to create addresses for 70% of registered voters on the Navajo Nation. Addresses will not only ensure that voters are registered in the correct location and their votes cannot be contested, but it will allow vital emergency services to reach residents more quickly.
The Rural Utah Project works to put important concerns before the voters in areas of impact. That's why in 2019, RUP will be taking its voter registration programs to counties all across rural Utah. We will continue to expand our work across Utah so that rural voters feel empowered to take action on the issues that matter.