Citi Foundation Civic Engagement Project Moving Forward•
Opportunity Nation continues its exciting partnership with Citi Foundation that explores how civic engagement can spur the accrual of social capital, which in turn opens doors of opportunity. As we shared in our announcement earlier this summer, this project will result in an issue brief that captures both new research on this important question as well as promising models and critical qualitative feedback from a listening tour we are conducting with dozens of experts and partners. We want to keep our network posted as this effort moves forward. Here’s the latest:
1. Research is ongoing, but the early returns look great. Working with our friends at Measure of America, we are thrilled to be building an interesting new set of findings to demonstrate the correlation between various types of civic participation and multiple positive educational and economic outcomes. We believe this will serve as a real boost to leaders across sectors as they make their case for the individual and collective benefits of civic engagement and for the value of implementing programs.
2. We had a blast in Atlanta. We had a great experience presenting at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in June, led in impressive fashion by our Steering Committee partner Points of Light. We had a chance to present in a couple of sessions including leading a lunch discussion where we heard from some 150 leaders about how civic engagement is a powerful pathway to opportunity in their communities. We learned that people are always hungry for more evidence to bolster what they experience and hear anecdotally, so there is genuine interest in the data coming in our issue brief. Our friends at Citi Foundation also announced their major commitment to building stronger pathways for youth in ten cities: Pathways to Progress, a $50 million investment designed to improve career readiness for 100,000 teens and young adults.
3. The Listening Tour rolls on. We are continuing to speak with cross-sector leaders around the country about how they see civic engagement playing a role in building greater opportunity, especially for young people. We’re asking them tough questions and they’ve got great answers. We are learning a lot and are starting to do the hard work of pulling together these great insights into a cohesive whole.
We need all hands on deck to strengthen our communities and put more of our young people onto successful pathways. Performing service, engaging with neighbors to solve problems, and becoming politically active are all critical parts of the skill-building and network-building to make this happen. More to come—we’ll stay in touch as the project continues. To receive the brief when it’s released, sign-up for Opportunity Nation’s email list.