deadline: MONDAY JUNE 1, 2020 5pm pst


Supporting organizations who can meaningfully partner, mentor and involve young people over the summer in responding to local community needs in one of two areas: responding to COVID-19 and/or building civic capacities for the 2020 election cycle with grants of up to $100,000

what we are looking for

With an application deadline of June 1, 2020, we will be granting at least 5 programs up to $100,000 each (and $200,000 dedicated to NJ based projects) that share the following characteristics


Committed to young people’s development of civic dispositions, skills and/or knowledge.


Focused on helping young people respond to local needs resulting from COVID-19 and/or prepare for the 2020 election cycle.


Projects that encourage youth to engage with peers of different viewpoints and experiences (i.e.: projects are ideologically open or neutral, and non-partisan).


... in terms of delivery, such that the program can be both face-to-face and virtual as the need arises.


Be willing and able to collect data that allows independent impact assessments.


Seek to inspire new partnerships and collaborations that build local communities.


Learn more

How we are evaluating proposals


This rubric will provide guidance for the selection committee during its deliberations. It is not intended to be used to generate a determinative, quantitative outcome. Additional criteria will also play a role in final selections including, but not limited to, geographic considerations of the grants to provide a mix of urban, suburban and rural, as well different geographic viewpoints and experiences across the country (i.e.: all projects must be ideologically open or neutral, and non-partisan), to promote understanding across differences in the youth-led community of practice.

PDF version of complete document available here

Proposal is youth focused

Leadership: Co-design/participation by youth in the development of this proposal; provide mechanisms for youth input and feedback

Representation: Depth, breadth, and diversity of youth participants, and outreach to communities historically excluded from civic opportunities

Sustainability: Experience/track record with youth, compensation (% funds to be paid to youth on staff, or through microgrants to youth-led partnerships)

Proposal shows capacity to deliver within the timeframe and public health context

Capabilities: Partner alignment on project goals; interlocking partner capabilities that provide confidence that the project will achieve its goals

Budget Alignment: Project budget/available resources to be allocated

Experience: Track record of similar projects; commitment to mission

Virtual-Ready: Flexibility to deliver virtually or in person, as necessary

Proposal shares desired impact on youth




Capacities / social capital

Proposal shares desired impact on local priorities

Integration with local planning and response

Acuteness of local needs to be met

Effectiveness of solution/approach (impact on need)

Proposal shares concrete program outcomes

Project-defined “deliverable(s),” i.e., specific civic actions, voter registration, virtual convening, visual art, performance, learning content delivery, etc.

Clarity of project-specific measures (input, output and outcome) of impact and its connections to the goals of the Civic Spring work

what is expected of you after receive a grant

  • Project leader(s) will participate in the program delivery.

  • Project leader(s) will participate in community of practice meetings and activities as required before, during and after the project (see Community of Practice section below).

  • Youth leader(s) will participate in the community of practice before, during and after the project (see Community of Practice section below).

  • Applicants should provide a final report against the project deliverables.

  • Participants commit to systematic data collection (see evaluation section below)

Overview: Community of Practice
  • Supported by subject matter experts, the community of practice will be youth-driven (youth will be paid for their participation). The community of practice will develop shared objectives about the lessons being learned, youth uptake of programming, and other goals. It is envisaged that the community of practice will continue in some form beyond the summer programming and will generate a valuable, diverse social network of youth participants across projects.

    • As part of their mandate, the community of practice will capture outcomes, personal testimonies and stories through videos of the participants. The concept is to develop a narrative about the lasting value and potential of civic learning and action:

    • around civic knowledge, skills and/or dispositions.

    • around youth-defined civic engagement and experience.

    • around outcomes orientation

Overview: Evaluation
  • Tracking of some consistent, existing measures across all grantees, as determined by the measurement subgroup/task force. These measurements will be financially supported independent of the grant funds.

  • Capturing some measures which could help with a baseline for longer-term study after the projects have finished; these would largely be dispositional or implementation-/systems-focused




Support organizations that can meaningfully partner with young people


Building communities of practices with strong youth participation


Develop young people’s civic dispositions, skills and knowledge


Use summer to catalyze effective civic learning


Measure program impact, share learnings around effective implementation


Provide young people the ability to connect more widely



about us

Rajiv Vinnakota, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, NJ, partnered with Bellwether Education Partners to lead a project examining civic education in the United States. Over the course of 2019, he interviewed more than 100 practitioners, researchers, policymakers, funders and public intellectuals in the broader civic learning and preparation space which is documented in the white paper, From Civic Education to a Civic Learning Ecosystem. The work resulted in significant momentum to engage in cross-partisan field building activities and led to the development of specific goals around four major work areas. A March convening to finalize the goals and next steps was delayed until the fall. In this window of time, Raj facilitated the creation of a highly skilled and diverse Task Force and set the groundwork for the Civic Spring Project. A team from WW will be administrating the work in conjunction with a tremendous group of volunteers.


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 Voice Team)

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 Engagement)

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 Association) 

Tamara Tweel (Teagle Foundation) 

Jane Williams (Horizons National) 

Adam Zalisk (Amplify)

with great thanks to our funders and partners

and anonymous donors

Contact US

Have any questions? Please reach out to us via email to or use the contact form below. We look forward to hearing from you!