Type Media Center is pleased to announce voter registration non-profit HeadCount as the 2023 recipient of the Puffin Prize for Creative Citizenship. The Puffin Foundation and Type Media Center are the mutual sponsors of the award, which is given annually to an individual or organization who has challenged the status quo through distinctive, courageous, imaginative, and socially responsible work of significance. 

“Type is thrilled to join The Puffin Foundation in honoring HeadCount with the Puffin Prize for Creative Citizenship in this critical election year for our democracy,” said Taya McCormick-Grobow, Executive Director and CEO of Type Media Center. “Their efforts are so needed to seed a future that is more equitable and just for all.”

The Puffin Prize awards $100,000 to its recipient, with the intention of encouraging them to continue their work and to inspire others to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies they face in their careers. The prize was first established in 2001 and has since been awarded to distinguished recipients including Bryan Stevenson, Tony Kushner, Colin Kaepernick, and the National Network for Abortion Funds.

“At HeadCount we keep our pulse on youth culture, and we bring some of the biggest names in music and entertainment to the table to inspire generational change,” said Lucille Wenegieme, Executive Director of HeadCount. “After 20 years we are still innovating and collaborating with our partners in New York and nationally to engage young people in the civic process. In a time of divisiveness and apathy we strive to engage young people in authentic and joyful pathways to civic participation that last a lifetime. We are truly honored to receive such a prestigious award and look forward to the countless music fans we’ll turn into voters because of this opportunity.” 

Creative citizenship is the crux of the Puffin Prize, and is central to the mission of HeadCount. HeadCount’s work with musicians, influencers, and creatives to engage younger generations in the electoral process plays a vital role in increasing and diversifying the electorate. Deviating from the typical route of campus outreach, HeadCount reaches young people and music fans where they already are, at concerts and online, using the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy.

HeadCount stages nonpartisan voter registration drives at over 1,000 events each year and collaborates with cultural leaders to promote civic engagement on a national scale. Since 2004, they have signed up over 1,000,000 voters nationwide. 

“The Puffin Prize recognizes those who approach the fight for social justice not just with tenacity, but with creativity,” said Neal Rosenstein, President of The Puffin Foundation. “Through their work with musicians, artists, and other creatives, HeadCount has trained and motivated thousands of volunteers to directly engage more than a million youth in the election process and to educate millions more. In these challenging times, as levels of inequity, conflict, and intolerance continue to rise. HeadCount’s work with young people gives us hope that a brighter future is possible.”

Type Media Center and The Puffin Foundation presented the award to Lucille Wenegieme at Type’s Annual Celebration on May 8. The celebration was be held at the Museum of the City of New York and was preceded by a working session with representatives of HeadCount, NYPIRG, the Andrew Goodman Foundation and many of the leading non-partisan organizations working on student and youth electoral empowerment in NYS.

To learn more about the Puffin Prize for Creative Citizenship, visit the prize page.

About The Puffin Foundation

The Puffin Foundation Ltd. has sought to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy. The Foundation’s grant search provides funds to hundreds of artists annually. They also partner with numerous other organizations and institutions on special projects to bring the values of the Foundation to the public at large. 

About Type Media Center 

Type Media Center is a non-profit home for independent journalists and truth-tellers at all stages of their careers. Our mission is to produce high-impact journalism and literary nonfiction that addresses injustice and inequality, catalyzes change, informs and uplifts social movements, while transforming and diversifying the fields of journalism and publishing.