Civic Spring Partners with Youth Research Experts

FOR RELEASE: Thursday, July, 30, 2020
CONTACT: Frances Hannan | [email protected] | 201-587-4755


Partnership with Tufts University’s CIRCLE to Derive Important Lessons From Youth-Led Initiatives

PRINCETON, NJ (August 5, 2020) – As a continuation of its work to develop and increase more opportunities to learning about civic and community life, the WW Foundation has partnered with the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) on a timely initiative to support youth leadership in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CIRCLE, which is based at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, is a preeminent non-partisan research institution focused on civic education and youth civic engagement. Through this partnership, WW and CIRCLE hope to learn more about the ways in which young people create and improve on civic work and civic learning in their communities—particularly when they are valued as experts based on their lived experiences and their deep understanding of the places in which they live. The lessons gleaned from this partnership will have significant implications for the civic learning and civic education communities, as well as others working to support youth learning and strengthen communities.

“We’re excited to partner with the WW Foundation on Civic Spring, and to have the opportunity to learn from and tap into the expertise of the young leaders and participants in each grantee project,” said Dr. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Director of CIRCLE. “We know this work will contribute to our mission of understanding how youth leadership, and youth working in partnership with diverse adult stakeholders, can cultivate meaningful civic pathways for young people across diverse contexts and backgrounds, and contribute to the development of inclusive communities where all young people can find their voices and drive the future of their communities.”

The Civic Spring Project was developed with the collective goal of creating a program that will catalyze summer civic learning experiences, especially in light of COVID-19. Because schools and localities—the systems typically leading civic learning programs—continue to experience stress and fatigue from combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation and its partners want to tap into a group eager to help communities make productive change: youth.

After a national selection process, the WW Foundation awarded grants to six youth-led initiatives across the country working creatively over the summer to engage young people building their own civic capacities while strengthening their community. Each project is facilitating hands-on learning opportunities to build the civic knowledge, dispositions, and skills young people need to flourish as effective and committed community members.

The Civic Spring Project is especially timely now, when millions of young people’s lives have been upended by COVID-19. CIRCLE research has shown that youth—especially youth of color—are in many ways bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic, but that they’re also actively engaged in supporting their communities.

“CIRCLE is the leader in understanding what young people need to meaningfully participate in civic life,” said WW Foundation President Rajiv Vinnakota. “WW had to choose from several rigorous proposals by strongly qualified applicants. We look forward to working together to learn from the projects, understand better how youth build their civic capacities, and share the findings with those working in the larger civic learning field.”

The CIRCLE/WW research partnership aims to understand better the civic skills and capacities needed for people to be active and empowered civic actors across diverse communities and backgrounds. CIRCLE’s work on the Civic Spring Project, an important step in continuing to strengthen the civic learning field, will connect this initiative’s research and lessons to work happening across the country. CIRCLE will produce and publish a report on Civic Spring, share findings with stakeholders in the civic learning and engagement fields, and incorporate lessons learned into its own work to promote healthier and more equitable youth development.

The WW Foundation launched the Civic Spring Project in May and announced the six grant winners in early July, based on a competitive pool of 145 applications and more than 1,100 eligibility inquiries. Find out more about the Project, the grant winners, and the honorable mention proposals at www.civic-spring.org.


About the Civic Spring Project
The Civic Spring Project gives young people resources to build their own civic knowledge and skills through bettering their community. Six youth-led projects aimed at meeting acute local needs in responding to COVID-19 and/or building civic capacities for the 2020 election cycle were funded in July of 2020.

About the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)
CIRCLE is a part of Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. CIRCLE is a nonpartisan, transdisciplinary research institute that focuses on the civic engagement of young people—especially those who are marginalized or disadvantaged in political life. CIRCLE has extensive experience evaluating a wide range of youth programs, civic education initiatives, and other efforts at the intersection of community impact and young people’s civic development.

About the WW Foundation
Founded in 1945, the WW Foundation identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society. In June 2020, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the organization and to remove Woodrow Wilson from its name; a new name will be announced by early fall.


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