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The Pew Partnership for Civic Change

The Pew Partnership for Civic Change (www.pew-partnership.org) is a civic research organization that provides consulting and program support to communities, governments, foundations, and nonprofit agencies. We help clients identify and implement solutions and strategies crucial to making communities stronger.

The Pew Partnership for Civic Change was established in 1992 as a civic research organization with primary funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 2004 the Partnership moved from an intermediary organization for the Trusts to a stand-alone nonprofit consulting firm as an administrative unit of the University of Richmond. Today, the Pew Partnership for Civic Change is funded by foundations, nonprofits, and governments.

Three of the Pew Partnership’s cool project sites, which are listed separately in the Resource Center as well, are:


This is a blog for anyone who has said, “The community I live in could be better – I’d like to help but I don’t know where to start or even if I can make a difference.” We can show you places to start and show you that change is possible in your community.

The Smart Communities blog highlights all of the factors that have been identified as vital for making positive change in communities. There is no “silver bullet” when it comes to community development but there are strategies that have worked across many different kinds of communities.

Those strategies are underpinned by things like broad-based citizen participation and attention to particular problems (like high school dropouts or affordable housing) that can change a community’s chances for economic development. This blog addresses the broad range of issues that encompasses what’s at stake for communities in their struggle to not just survive but thrive.



This wiki is an effort to foster dialogue between people committed to the idea that a high school diploma means everything to both individuals and communities. A wiki is a type of website that any user can add, edit, or remove information from — we built the basic website and have handed it over to anyone interested in sharing what they know about the dropout crisis. With categories ranging from alternative education to incentives, from literacy clubs to mentorship, and from parenting education to teen pregnancy, this resource offers numerous opportunities for users to learn from, and contribute to, dialogue on this pressing issue.



Developed in 2003 as a resource for anyone interested in addressing a broad range of community challenges, Solutions for America is a clearinghouse of information organized into four categories: healthy families and children, thriving neighborhoods, living wage jobs, viable economies. With brief overviews of each topic backed by relevant statistics and publications this website is a great first-stop resource for anyone interested in social change in their community.


And check out some of the Pew Partnership’s great publications…

What's Already Out There The School Dropout Crisis
The problem of high school dropouts is becoming more urgent as the formulas for calculating dropout rates are being changed and communities discover that a problem previously described as minor is actually reaching crisis proportions. How do we begin to address the dropout problem? What solutions are available? What can communities do to help their young people stay in school and get a diploma? Our dropout discussion guide can help answer these questions and more.
Inventing Civic Solutions Inventing Civic Solutions: A how-to guide on launching and sustaining successful community programs
This is an invaluable resource for individuals looking to promote civic change in their own communities. Inventing Civic Solutions contains the results from eight different civic problems ranging from accessible transportation to rural leadership development to thriving business districts. Written by a practitioner and a university research partner, these successful initiatives are described in detail from the perspective of the particular challenge that was posed, its proposed solution, how its success was evaluated, and reasonable expectations for replication.
Smart Communities Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future
Based on the results of more than a decade of research by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, Smart Communities provides directions for strategic decision-making and outlines the key strategies used by thousands of leaders who have worked to create successful communities. Smart Communities offers leaders from both the public and private sectors the tools they need to create a better future for all the community’s citizens. Smart Communities offers hope to those who are striving to make significant inroads to their communities and addresses vital issues such as poverty, race relations, and offering a good start to all children.
New Eyes on Community New Eyes on Community
New Eyes on Community is an eleven-year retrospective of the work of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change. Joining with hundreds of community partners the Pew Partnership has built a wealth of knowledge and experience about the kinds of programs and processes that will change communities for the better. This booklet tells the story of the evolution of the organization’s thinking and programs.
New Directions in Civic Engagement New Directions in Civic Engagement: University Avenue Meets Main Street
New Directions in Civic Engagement has four thematic elements representing the most pressing questions surrounding university and community partnerships. Each of those elements are available here in a separate PDF. A fifth PDF includes the publication’s introduction, lessons, and endnotes. Section titles and their related chapters are listed below. Click on a section title to download the PDF of that section.
University + Community Research Partnerships University + Community Research Partnerships
The Pew Partnership is pleased to make available this July 2003 report on higher education & community research partnerships. The publication summarizes the findings from a nineteen-site participatory research initiative that partnered community-based organizations with academics from area colleges and universities. It also highlights the conversation and general themes that arose during a roundtable discussion with representatives from higher education, the philanthropic sector, and the nonprofit community.
What Makes a Solution? What Makes a Solution? Lessons and Findings from Solutions for America.
What does a homelessness prevention program in Los Angeles share with a rural infant mortality program and a job training program for women in construction? This report from August 2003 highlights research findings from nineteen Wanted: Solutions for America sites and identifies common features of effective community-based programs. It also describes the participatory evaluation model that partnered faculty and program staff in the research process.
What We Know Works What We Know Works
This guide translates complex evaluation research into actionable strategies needed to build stronger communities. What We Know Works is a primer that summarizes current research in four broad areas: healthy families and children, thriving neighborhoods, living-wage jobs, and viable economies. These are issues of paramount concern to citizens and of critical importance to the future of all communities. This resource provides a road map through the array of social service programs and a starting point to address discrete issues-from quality childcare to homelessness to downtown revitalization.
What's Already Out There What’s Already Out There
What’s Already Out There is a compendium of community-based programs that are effectively addressing urgent national issues. The programs profiled in this volume are the result of a research project called Wanted: Solutions for America that set out to document existing solutions to some of the nation’s toughest problems. This report is organized around five major issue areas: Programs that Help Young People Stay in School, Off Drugs, and On Track; Programs that Create Viable Local Economies; Programs that Equip Families for Success; Programs that Begin with Neighbors; and Programs that Create Collaborative Change. Each section offers the nuts and bolts of successful programs in that issue area.

Resource Link: www.pew-partnership.org

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