WW Launches Civic Spring Project
FOR RELEASE: DAY, May 15, 2020
CONTACT: Frances Hannan, Director of Multimedia Projects | 201-587-4755 | [email protected]
WOODROW WILSON FOUNDATION LAUNCHES CIVIC SPRING PROJECT TO INCREASE CIVIC LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE FOCUSING ON COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE
Program Will Award Grants to Local Organizations, Partnerships will Provide Effective Summer Civic Learning Experiences
PRINCETON, NJ (May 15, 2020) – The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation today launched the Civic Spring Project, which will catalyze a broad array of organizations to increase civic learning opportunities for young people. The Civic Spring Project will use the summer months to increase civic knowledge, skills, and engagement by creating incentives, support, and rewards for locally defined youth civic engagement initiatives aimed at meeting acute needs.
“As we adjust to new realities, civic action to address local needs has never been more important,” said Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Rajiv Vinnakota. “How we, as individuals, families, communities, organizations, experts and leaders, respond to the current situation is both a real-life civics test and opportunity to empower a new generation of civic leaders.”
The Civic Spring Project will award at least five grants (in the $75K–$100K range) to organizations that can meaningfully partner with, mentor, and involve young people. During summer 2020, partnerships that receive grants will address local community needs in responding to COVID-19 and/or building civic capacities for the 2020 election cycle. The program will seek to fund projects that are civic-minded, youth-oriented, nonpartisan, nimble, measurement-minded, and generative.
The initial programs will be designed by grantees and may include participation from groups such as community and nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, businesses, out-of-school-time organizations, K-12 schools, higher learning institutions, and religious institutions. In addition to catalyzing local action in communities throughout the nation, the Foundation aims to demonstrate the lasting value and potential of civic learning and action.
“This moment could hold tremendous potential opportunities for young people, particularly those in high school and college, to increase their local knowledge, engagement and leadership while acquiring further civic skills,” said Mr. Vinnakota.
The Civic Spring Project was developed by nearly 40 subject-matter experts with the collective goal of creating a program that will catalyze summer civic knowledge and experience efforts, especially in light of COVID-19. Because schools and localities—the systems typically leading civic learning programs—continue experiencing stress and fatigue from combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation and its partners want to tap into a group eager to help its community make productive change: youth.
In addition to input from civic learning experts, the Civic Spring Project was developed with insight and recommendations from young people who were members of the task force. Youth will continue to have an engaged and meaningful role throughout this process, as young people will be part of the Selection Committee, as well as develop and co-lead the Community of Practice across all of the grantee programs.
“This type of partnership between students and adult allies is needed at this moment as we co-create new possibilities for civic action,” said Merrit Jones, President of Student Voice and member of the task force.
The Civic Spring Project will provide teens and young adults with the ability to connect with others across a wide range of socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. The experience is intended to increase understanding and social cohesion while individuals expand networks, especially those from marginalized populations.
Interested applicants are invited to submit their proposals through Monday, June 1, 2020 and can learn more and apply here: civic-spring.org
Grantees will be selected and announced in early June.
About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) 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. Rajiv Vinnakota became president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in July 2019, after serving as Executive Vice President of the Youth & Engagement division at the Aspen Institute and as co-founder and CEO of The SEED Foundation. He also founded Red and Blue Works, a civic learning initiative, in spring 2019.
Civic Spring Project Partners:
Sanda Balaban | YVote
Ashley Berner | Johns Hopkins Institute
for Education Policy
David Bobb | Bill of Rights Institute
Brian Brady | Mikva Challenge
Andrew Brennen | Prichard Committee Student
Mary Jo Callan | University of Michigan–
Edward Ginsberg Center
Elise Corbett | Entercom
Joe Daly | Bloomberg Philanthropies
Mario Fedelin | Changeist
Chris Gates | Philanthropy Bridging Divides
Mary Ellen Giess | Interfaith Youth Core
Abraham Goldberg | James Madison Center for Civic
Jeannemarie Halleck | Waynflete
Sarah Harris | Entercom
Daniel Hart | Rutgers University – Camden
Shawn Healy | McCormick Foundation
Audrey Hutchinson | National League of Cities
Merrit Jones | Student Voice
Deb Jospin | Cities of Service
Rebecca Kelley | National 4-H Council
Matt Leighninger | Public Agenda
Peter Levine | Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch
College of Civic Life
Phebe Meyer | Clapham Group
Jose Oromi | Horizons National
Nikola Pavelic | Cities of Service
Eileen Resnick | Sumners Foundation
Mark Rodgers | Clapham Group
Rose Rodriguez | Cities of Service
Dara Rose | Horizons National
Anna Saavedra | University of Southern California, Dornsife–
Center for Economic and Social Research
Stefanie Sanford | College Board
Andrew Seligsohn | Campus Compact
Bela Shah Spooner | National League of Cities
Robert Sherman | Robert Sherman Consulting
Julie Silverbrook | iCivics
Lucian Spataro | Arizona State University
Kurt Dean Squire | UCI Donald Bren School of
Information and Computer Sciences
Leslie Gabay Swanston | National Summer Learning
Tamara Tweel | Teagle Foundation
Jane Williams | Horizons National
Adam Zalisk | Amplify