From Young Voters to Young Leaders: ALBA/Puffin Human Rights Award Goes to “18by Vote”

February 24, 2024

18by Vote activating voters ahead of the 2022 Georgia Runoff Election. Photo Jessika Landon.

The 2024 ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism will be awarded this May 4 to 18by Vote, an organization that creates sustainable civic leadership among young people who have been historically excluded from positions of leadership and power. Founded in response to low youth voter turnout in the 2016 general election, 18byVote has since activated hundreds of thousands of young people across the country to engage civically.

“I am thrilled to accept the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism on behalf of 18by Vote,” said Ava Mateo, Executive Director. “In alignment with the legacy of the International Brigades, young people are continuing to rise up in support of human rights, but they need our support to make their voices heard at the polls this Fall. This award will be transformational in our ability to activate young Americans nationwide during and beyond the 2024 election.”

“18by Vote is doing absolutely critical work, helping young people understand and navigate the voting system and be active participants in democracy who demand that their voices be heard and acted upon,” said Jack Mayerhofer, Chair ALBA Human Rights Committee. “This type of work is desperately needed both for presidential elections but also for the many other elections and civic opportunities that take place in between them. Given what these elections could mean for democracy both in the US and abroad, 18by Vote’s work is needed now more than ever.”

“The all-white and male founding fathers did not include the right to vote in the Constitution,” said Neal Rosenstein, President of The Puffin Foundation. “As a result, our country has seen more than 200 years of struggle for emancipating, expanding, and protecting the electorate. With efforts to disenfranchise voters only increasing in recent years, it has fallen on youth champions like 18by Vote to help educate their peers and increase youth participation in elections.  We owe them our thanks and look forward to their work ahead.”

One of the largest monetary awards for human rights in the world, the ALBA/Puffin Award is a $100,000 cash prize granted annually by ALBA and The Puffin Foundation to sustain the legacy of the experiences, aspirations, and idealism of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. It supports contemporary international activists and human rights causes. A philanthropist and visionary, the late Perry Rosenstein of The Puffin Foundation created and established an endowed fund for this award in 2010. The award will be granted during an in-person ceremony in New York City on May 4. Those interested in attending may attending to please contact the ALBA office at