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Areas of Support

The health of our communities and democratic institutions relies on an informed and active citizenry. To this end, the Civics Program offers grants to organizations that provide youth ages 12 through 22 in the Chicago area with the knowledge, skills and experiences they need to remain civically engaged throughout their lives.

Our grant-making focuses on four areas: civic education, professional development and training for teachers, civic engagement and policy change.

Civic Education

The Civics Program grants aim to improve civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes among Chicagoland youth.

Specifically, the Civics Program supports:
  • Middle school, high school and university-level civics curricula that tie formal instruction in U.S. Government, history, law and democracy to informed, active engagement
  • Interactive learning opportunities that tie formal curricula to "real life" situations, such as simulations of democratic structures and processes
  • School-based programs linked to extra-curricular civic engagement activities
  • Opportunities for youth to participate in discussions of political, social and policy issues that affect their communities
  • Opportunities to participate in structured conversations about controversial issues
  • Youth leadership development and training

Teacher Professional Development and Training

The Civics Program aims to build the capacity of middle school, high school, and college educators to develop and implement high quality, relevant and engaging civics curricula.

Specifically, the Civics Program supports:
  • Professional and leadership development opportunities for middle school, high school and college teachers
  • Training for middle and high school teachers in specific topic areas
  • Pre-service training for future middle and high school social studies and civics teachers

Civic Engagement

The Civics Program grants support initiatives that develop lifelong civic habits among Chicagoland youth and provide meaningful opportunities for them to become positive change agents in their communities.

Specifically, the Civics Program funds:
  • School-based and out of school programs that offer meaningful community service opportunities combined with civic reflection
  • Service-learning programs linked to formal curriculum and classroom instruction
  • Youth initiated, organized and executed service and volunteer projects
  • Youth initiated policy change
  • Authentic student voice in school governance
  • Programs that encourage youth to become active participants in the political process
  • Programs that place youth in leadership positions in their communities and give them opportunities to partner with elected officials and adult community leaders

Policy Change
In order to inform our grant-making and our direct programming activities, the Civics Program funds advocacy efforts that aim to change civic education policy and strengthen the civic education system in our local school districts.