Contributed by -

Kofi Amoo-Gottfried


Communities of color across the U.S. face barriers to access - including experiencing food insecurity, lack of economic opportunity, and obstacles to obtaining information - that impact how they engage in the democratic process. For many people, the lack of access to the resources and economic opportunity they need can lead to disengagement, when the democratic system in the U.S. could most benefit from full participation. But, when someone is worried about their next meal in only hours, rent payment in only days, and their month’s bills next week, making time for civic participation and reaping the benefits of change in months -- or  years -- takes a backseat. 

For people facing these and other challenges, participating in our democracy shouldn’t be an either/or choice between their daily needs and their lifetime civic priorities. Hunger, financial obligations, or lack of access to materials related to an upcoming election shouldn’t be barriers that prevent anyone from voting. By broadening food access and creating supplemental earnings opportunities, we’re empowering people to make choices that help themselves and their families so when it's time to make their voice heard, they can do so effectively.

Civic engagement starts at home and, often, at the kitchen table. Spirited debates about politics and the issues of the day occur when a table has been set with nourishing food, but, when that meal is missing, the only thing that dominates the discussion is where the next meal will come from. Food insecurity impacts elections and keeps people from coming out to vote. It discourages people from waiting long lines and makes the barriers that confront them seem insurmountable, preventing them from voting entirely. 

DoorDash works to broaden food access in communities of color through Project DASH, which allows food banks and food pantries to leverage DoorDash logistics so people can dependably access fresh, nutritious food. In fact, over 85% of Project DASH deliveries are in communities of color. This transformational way to access charitable food provides the choice, convenience, and dignity that allow people to work more hours, care for a loved one, pursue an educational credential, and vote.

However, having access to fresh, nutritious food is just the first barrier some may need to overcome to make their voice heard. It is just as difficult to contemplate choices up and down the ballot when the most important choice confronting someone is whether to pay for rent, medical bills, or other necessary expenses. Unemployment impacts whether Americans will vote and, how quickly people are able to meet their obligations and save money correlates with their civic engagement. Empowering people to take control of their financial situation so they can make the choices that work for them is key to increased civic participation. DoorDash is proud to offer supplemental earnings opportunities at the touch of a button, with most Dashers able to earn within a day or so of signing up. In 2021, the DoorDash platform enabled more than 6 million Dashers to earn over $11 billion. In fact, a 2021 Dasher survey found that more than half of Dashers did so in order to avoid applying for government benefits. 

In 2021, Dashers who live in communities of color made more than $5.9 billion that has helped them reach their financial goals like home ownership, starting a business, or saving for their next big purchase.* Through initiatives like, established in partnership with the National Urban League, we’re helping people earn, save, and grow their earnings to help build financial stability. offers free on-demand and digital multimedia courses that cover topics such as building credit, creating a budget, growing savings, and applying for mortgage financing and education financing, providing Dashers and Urban League clients with the tools they need to create a solid financial future. 

To help spur civic engagement and empower the communities we serve, DoorDash has partnered with When We All Vote in addition to supporting the efforts of local Urban League affiliates. We’ve leveraged our platform to provide voting resources to customers, merchants, and Dashers so they can register to vote and have the information they need on how, when, and where to go vote when it's time to do so. We believe voting access should be protected and we have opposed measures that make it harder for citizens to vote. 

Empowered local economies begin with empowered communities whose voices are heard in the choices they make, by marking a ballot and determining their future. Helping to remove the barriers that prevent people from participating in our democracy by powering the delivery of fresh, nutritious food via Project DASH, providing supplemental earnings opportunities that can lead to financial stability, and making it easy to access information on the nearest polling place is just some of the work we’re proud to do. We’re grateful for our partnership with the National Urban League and to be able to serve people and local communities every day.

* We define a community of color as a zip code where the share of non-white residents exceeds the national average for the US population in 2019 (approximately 40%).

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