We look forward to the announcement of grant recipients

july, 2020


Q: What is civic learning?

A: Civic learning is a concept of civic education that includes interactions in families, community activities, online, and throughout k-12 and higher education. The aim of civic learning is to produce citizens who are well-informed, productively engaged in working for the common good, and hopeful about our democracy. To learn more, the full research study completed by Raj Vinnakota can be found here.

Q: Why is the grant called the Civic Spring Project?

A: The concept of the Civic Spring Project was developed in Spring of 2020 when the team at The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation considered how to create a civic learning ecosystem in the era of a historic pandemic. Ultimately, they brought together a skilled and diverse task force to set the groundwork for CSP, which is intended to seed at least five innovative and inspiring projects.

Q: What is the purpose of the Civic Spring Project?

A: We have six major goals, click here to see the Civic Spring Project goals

Q: How do you define a Locality?

A: A locality is a defined geographic area that could be bounded by a zip code, a municipality, other jurisdiction or service area. The identified need and the work must be located in the same place.

Q: How do you define Youth-led?

A:  Youth-led entities and organizations centralize and prioritize the role of young people in a variety of ways, including but not limited to: creating equitable partnerships with adults that promote youth engagement, providing leadership roles and/or mentorship opportunities for youth throughout the entity/organization, meaningfully engaging youth at top-level positions such as advisory committees and Board seats, and/or recognizing the unique knowledge, experience, and perspective of young people.  Groups that do not identify as civic educators per se, but have a demonstrated commitment consistent with the goals of the project and a desire to constructively engage youth in their mission are also encouraged as partners.

Q: My partnership serves a community/communities outside of New Jersey–are we still eligible to apply for the CSP grant?

A: Yes, the grant pool is aimed at supporting projects throughout the United States. However, a portion of our funding will be dedicated to supporting New Jersey projects as one of the CSP funders is a New Jersey-based grant maker.

Q: I have some questions about the Civic Spring Project. Is it possible to schedule a brief call with someone on your team?

A: Please send your questions via email, as we intend to publish all responses so that multiple organizations can receive consistent answers. If you have a question, we are pretty sure that others are asking the same thing!

Q: I have assembled a vast network of organizations seeking to engage young people in civic learning opportunities across my State. Our collaborators are numerous, but I can’t possibly include them all in the proposal. Should I just include the core organizing forces, including my organization as the grantee/Lead Partner?

A: Under the “Organization Details” section of the application, you can list your organization as the Lead Partner. Under “Proposed Project Details” you can provide a brief description of the other core organizers. We ask you to provide any other relevant information at the end of the application—this might be a good place to explain that there are a number of additional collaborators associated with the project.

Q: Regarding the Civic Spring Project, I see that the intention is to have a quick turnaround and to support summer programming. Can you tell me more about the timeframe parameters for the grant? I was unable to find anything specific online.

A: You can learn more about the project timeframe under the “Commitment” section of the FAQ.

Q: My question is around the use of the word “local” in regard to impact. Is the grant specific to NJ based programs (we have a large presence there) or is it open to a national initiative if it makes local impact throughout the county? Clarity around this would be helpful.

A: Local and/or national organizations or entities with demonstrated experience in engaging young people in civic learning are eligible to apply. While the grant pool is aimed at supporting projects throughout the United States, a portion of our funding will be dedicated to supporting New Jersey projects as one of the CSP funders is a New Jersey-based grant maker.

Q: How much total funding is available for New Jersey-based projects?

A: Applicants with projects servicing New Jersey can apply for grants of $75,000 – $100,000 even if they are not based in New Jersey. No organization can win more than one grant.

Q: I am a young person interested in participating in one of the summer projects. How can I get involved?

Once the winners are announced (sometime in early June), you can contact a grantee in your region directly to see if you might be able to engage in a specific project.



Q: Who should apply for the Civic Spring Project grant?

A: A partnership of two or more youth-led, local and/or national organizations or entities with demonstrated experience in engaging young people in civic learning. At least one applicant partner must have 501(c)(3) status or the engagement of a fiscal sponsor with the ability to receive, manage and report on the use of the grant funds. Applicant partnerships must together have 1) the capacity to deliver within the timeframes and context, 2) has local roots and 3) has a meaningfully engaged young people.

Q: Who can be included in an applicant partnership?

A: In addition to a 501(c)3 or fiscal sponsor, partnerships may include community and non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, businesses, out-of-school-time organizations, online providers, K-12 schools, higher learning institutions, and religious institutions.

Q: What constitutes “meaningful youth participation” in the development of our proposal?

A:  Meaningful youth participation includes youth participation in co-creating and co-designing the proposal, not an afterthought.

Q. Can my organization/entity apply for several grants with different partner sets and localities?

A: Yes, you can apply as part of multiple partnerships. However, organizations and/or entities will not be part of more than one winning proposal.

Q: Is there a maximum number of organizations or entities that can be included in the partner application?

A: No.

Q: My organization/entity serves undocumented young people. Can we apply?

A: We will consider any projects that partner with young people this summer to identify and respond to community needs in one of two areas: responding to COVID-19 and/or building civic capacities for the 2020 election cycle.

Q: I would like to talk to someone about eligibility. How do I get in contact with someone?

A: You can email or fill out this form on our website.

Q: Where do I find the eligibility requirements?

A: Eligibility Quiz

Q: My organization meets most of the eligibility requirements but not all. Should we apply?

A: Our strong suggestion is that you develop a partnership that meets all the elements.

Q: We serve high school youth in 9th-12th grade. Would projects targeting high schools students younger than 18 be eligible for this this grant opportunity?

A: Yes, the project should target a segment of the high school-through-college age range but is not required to reach the entire range group.

Q: We are a multi-site non-profit. Would we be able to apply for multiple grants from our locations?

A: Yes, your organization may apply as part of multiple partnerships. However, organizations and/or entities will not be part of more than one winning proposal.

Q: I was wondering whether organizations from outside the US who have a US fiscal sponsor can apply.

A: Yes, you can apply if your organization proposes a US project and has a US sponsor.

Q: Would we need a formal MOU or a signed partnership letter, either at the time of the application submission or as a finalist during the grant-making process?

A: You will not need a formal MOU or signed partnership letter during the application phase. However, a partner signatory will be required as a part of the contracting phase.

Q: Does an organization have to partner with another organization, or can a single youth-led organization apply for the Civic Spring proposal that it will implement individually?

A: We expect that projects that speak to local needs, integrate young people into the problem definition and solution and can be quickly and effectively implemented will necessarily require a partnership of at least two organizations. However, if a single youth-led organization can achieve these goals and successfully makes this case in their proposal, we are open and excited to see the application.

Q: We plan to apply with partners at the national scale and at a state scale. Is this acceptable? Can the same proposals be submitted more than once or are there constraints?

A: Institutions will only be part of one partnership receive funding. The higher ranked proposal will be the partnership that will receive the grant.

Q: I am in process of coordinating efforts with a couple different non-profit organizations. Given that I am also part of two different 501c3’s that serve different populations, is it appropriate to submit two different applications that have two different types of partnerships?

A: Yes, you may submit two different applications. However, organizations and/or entities will not be part of more than one winning proposal.

Q: Our program is based at a university. Can we apply straight from our university or would we need to apply through a 501(c)(3) ? Sometimes for grants we are allowed to apply straight from our university and other times we have to apply through our university foundation.

A: One of the applicants needs to be a 501(c)(3) organization, even if they are not playing a role beyond providing the mechanism to receive the funds and taking legal responsibility for the funds and for reporting.


A: Yes, the project should target a segment of the high school-through-college age range (roughly 14-24) but is not required to reach the entire range group.



Q: What materials are required for a completed application?

A: Only a written proposal available online and submitted online is required. Follow-up questions and documentation requests may be necessary before making a final decision on an application. A video interview also may be requested with finalists.


A: You can find a PDF version of the application here.

Q: Does the project budget have a ceiling for overhead allocation?

A: No, but we will be assessing your budget for efficiency.

Q: What details should be included in the budget?

A: In addition to projected expenses, tell us how the budget is to be allocated between the partnerships, where relevant. Please note that we will favorably assess proposals where a significant amount of the awarded grant funding go directly to youth.

Q: How much money should we request?

A: The budget needs to be big enough to successfully operationalize the proposed project; the requested amount must align with the rest of the proposal. The budget cannot exceed $100k unless you have already secured funding from another source that will be dedicated to this project as well.

Q: I’m having technical issues with the application form. Who do I contact?


Q: Is there a word count or character length we should be aiming for in our responses?

A: There is no limit. However, we ask you to be as concise as possible.

Q: Can we include youth compensation in the proposed budget?

A: Yes.

Q: Is personnel providing direct services and lead agency on the application an eligible expense?

A: Yes

Q: Under the section asking to elect practices of the organization, what does “SEL” stand for?

A: Social and Emotional Learning

Q: I am working with an organization to apply for the Civic Spring Project funding and I was wondering what time the deadline is on June 1.

A: Please submit your application by 5:00 pm PST.

Q: Do you prefer that we only submit our Mission Statement in the “Mission Statement” section for the application or also some organizational background? Do you prefer organizational background woven into the project narrative?

A: The project narrative should only address the project deliverable(s) and project-specific outcome measurements. We ask you to provide any other relevant information at the end of the application—this might be a good place to provide some organizational background.

Q: When we complete our project budget- should the majority of the funds be spent during the summer work, or can some of the funding be expanded to the following year? We want to reserve some funding for folks who continue the project through the school year.

A: The goal of the civic spring project is to fund summer projects that address one of two challenges. Though proposals can continue to fund projects into the school year, you must provide a rationale for why that’s the best use of funds given the goals of the civic spring project.

Q: With regard to how some of the grant funds are delivered directly to youth, can we offer stipends or pay them $15/hour (same rate as Summer Youth Employment, which is now canceled)? what is preferred?

A: Either option is allowed; neither is preferable to us.

Q: Can funds also be utilized for salaries, space, and operations? Is there anything that CANNOT be included in the budget?

A: Anything can be used in the budget. Please see the rubric for how we will assess the finances of the project.

Q: Is scale/number of participating young people a criteria?

A: All other factors being equal, the reach of the program is important. Please see the rubric to see other balancing factors, which include youth impact and local impact (COVID-19 response or 2020 election cycle preparedness).

Q: Could more than one locality be included in the application?

A: Yes.

Q: Can indirect costs be charged to the grant and if so, how much?

A: Please indicate any indirect costs you plan to allocate in the proposed budget, and the extent to which their inclusion is essential to the application.

Q: When listing our partnership organization, it asks for annual budgets, staffing models, etc. Is that all necessary for the application? Should I be asking our partners to provide all of this detailed information?

A: We are seeking “top” line information to help us assess the partnerships’ capacity to deliver against the proposal, but detailed budgets and staffing models need only be submitted for the proposed project, as that is what will be most relevant to our selection decisions.


A: Yes. However please note that stipends for youth participation in the Community of Practice do not need to be a part of the proposed budget.



Q: If we are awarded the grant, what is our commitment?

A: In addition to completing your proposal, you will engage in evaluation and in the community of practice. Here is a link to more details

Q: What is the project timeframe?

A: This project is intended to take place in the summer of 2020. Specific dates and timelines can be proposed by applicants in their proposals. It is envisaged that the projects deliverables will be completed prior to the start of the school year in the fall for logistical reasons, but longer timeframes can be proposed and justified in the application. Projects and partnerships may, of course continue beyond this date, provided they are able to sustain themselves. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation makes no commitments to future funding.


Community of Practice

Q: Do these stipends for youth participation in the Community of Practice need to be included in the project budget or are they separate from the project costs and stipends for project participation?

A: Stipends for youth participation in the Community of Practice do not need to be part of the budget. They will be paid from a separate pool.

Q: I am particularly interested in the amount of time being requested of participants in July and August for the Community of Practice and if the community of practice is convened by your organization for project connected youth and if adult allies are part of the CoP?

A: We are still in the process of developing the CoP’s framework. Over the next few weeks, we will have a better sense of the time participants will need to devote to the CoP. Levels of CoP participation will then be discussed with the winners of the proposals in order to ensure their participation.



Q: I started an application, but forgot to register my account. Will I lose my progress?

A: It is not necessary to register your account to complete an application—your browser will save your progress. Just make sure to click “save progress” as you move through the application. To access your application, click on the “Ready? Click here to launch your application” button at the bottom of the Apply page.

Q: Every time I save my application, my formatting isn’t saved (bullet points, bolding, spacing, etc.).

Not to worry–your entries are formatting perfectly on our end. While the formatting may appear differently in your browser, we can see that the formatting is indeed being saved as part of your application.


Proposal Opening Date: Thursday, May 14, 2020

Proposal Due Date: Monday, June 1, 2020

Selection of Grants: Monday, June 8, 2020

Announcement of Grants: TBD