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The New Civics Grant Initiative

We recently heard from NCDD supporting member Cynthia Gibson of the Philanthropic Initiative about a grant opportunity from the Spencer Foundation that we think would be an excellent match for people in the NCDD network. The New Civics grant initiative offers two levels of grant funding to apply to projects in civic education and action, as well as a third category for quality measurement research. We encourage you to read more about The New Civics below, or read the Spencer Foundation’s information about it here.


The New Civics initiative is embedded within the broader Foundation belief that cultivating knowledge and new ideas about education will ultimately improve students’ lives and enrich society. The designation “new” refers to an expanded understanding of civic education and its relationship to civic action. Ultimately, we see civic education not simply as a grounding in historical and procedural knowledge of systems of government, but, more broadly, as education, whether in schools or elsewhere, that develops skills, knowledge, and dispositions that lead to informed and reasoned civic action.

With this expanded understanding, we aim to support research that deepens our understanding of educational and other influences on civic action, that attends to social inequalities in civic education and civic action, and that has the potential to shape future research and practice in these fields. And we aim to create occasions for scholars’ learning, inquiry, and exchange – to strengthen the research community and its connections to educational policy and practice.

Funding Opportunities in The New Civics

Measuring the Quality of Civic and Political Engagement ($100,000-$400,000):

  • Those interested in submitting a proposal to create reliable and valid measures of the quality of civic and political engagement among youth ages 15-25 should read the request for proposals – click here.
  • Guidelines for online submission will be available on May 1, 2014. See the RFP for details about the components of preliminary proposals.

Small Grants ($50,000 or less) and Major Grants ($50,000-$350,000)

  • Those interested in submitting a proposal for a research grant to The New Civics should review the request for proposals – click here.
  • Guidelines for a Small Grant proposal to The New Civics – click here.
  • Guidelines for a Major Grant proposal to The New Civics – click here.

(Note: The Major Grant program in The New Civics will be ending in 2014. The last deadline for submitting a preliminary proposal for a Major Grant is April 29, 2014. Submission guidelines can be found using the link above. Large research projects on civic education may be eligible for funding through the Lyle Spencer Research Awards – click here. There are no changes to the Small Grant program.)

The next deadline for Small Grant proposals is 4pm CST, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. The following deadlines will be 4pm CST, August 28, 2014 and November 18, 2014. Additional deadlines will be posted as they are scheduled.

You can find more information on The New Civics by visiting www.spencer.org/content.cfm/the_new_civics. Good luck to all the applicants!

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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