What is RISE?

An updated summary of what RISE is and what we're trying to do. Check out our Medium account, where original content will be posted regularly.

We are a grassroots, nonprofit, political, tech startup dedicated to improving the world in our very specific way. We are trying to:

  1. Unify existing activist groups to collaborate, not compete, in order to achieve a common goal.
  2. Motivate and mobilize non-voters to the polls to increase voter turnout in ALL elections.
  3. Communicate between party lines in order to bridge current gaps.
  4. Empower everyone with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

RISE is the brain-child of a political expert (Ellie Bahrmasel) and a tech expert (Genevieve Thiers.) The two of them have come together to apply design thinking to the political world. What does this mean, exactly? Politics is a slow game, right? We are trying to govern a modern world using laws created hundreds of years ago. Innovation generally terrifies politicians. Bills move slowly through government because dozens of different departments need to sign off on them. Tech, on the other hand, is fast and sleek. New tech companies are constantly popping up, swearing to be better than what’s already on the market. Innovation is the name of the game in tech. If something doesn’t work in tech, we don’t completely take it off the market, right? We test, iterate, then try again. What if we applied that logic to politics?

Because politics moves so slowly, it’s inherently detached from the average person. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Politics is supposed to be for the people, by the people, and yet, far too many of us don’t have the first clue how to meaningfully participate. Politicians have long promised to speak for the voiceless. Let’s hope these proclamations are well-intentioned, but even so, why should anyone speak for us? We have the privilege of voting. That’s how our voices are heard. It’s paradoxical that they vow to speak for the voiceless while so many of us are voluntarily foregoing our voice.

We can’t blame the non-voters for this situation, although, that’s another post entirely. The system has failed them. We aren’t putting out good enough candidates, we aren’t engaging the voter personally enough, we aren’t making it easy enough to find important information about every election, we aren’t doing enough to motivate far too many Americans.

RISE hopes to solve for these pain points. We want to empower the average citizen with important information about every election. We want to make sure you know that politics isn’t something simply done by suits in D.C — it’s happening every day, all around us. We want to make politics fun again, by adding a social aspect to voting. A democracy can’t function without full participation. Long-lasting participation will lead to a healthy nation that reflects the will of its people. Then, and only then, can we move the needle ever so slightly forward.

RISE with us, won’t you?


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