The Robert R. McCormick Foundation has announced grants totaling $715,000 as part of a new, $1.5 million commitment to support civic education and engagement initiatives in the Chicago region.
Awards include a two-year, $160,000 grant to the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago in support of the Illinois Youth Summit and Illinois Democracy Laboratory; $130,000 to Northwestern University for its Center of Civic Engagement; $125,000 to Mikva Challenge in general support and for its Youth Peace Councils; and $80,000 to the Chicago Area Project for the Youth as Resource program, which aims to mold future leaders in low-income communities. The foundation also awarded a $80,000 grant over two years to the Citizen Advocacy Center in support of the Civic Empowerment Zone, a series of lesson plans focused on the concepts of good citizenship and community participation; a two-year, $80,000 grant to Illinois Campus Compact for a range of civic engagement and service learning initiatives at the administrative, faculty, and student levels; and $60,000 to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights in support of the New American Youth Civic Leadership Academy.
The commitment was announced in conjunction with the foundation's annual convening of the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, which was held on March 9 and focused on the integration of civics education across high school and middle school curricula.
"The bottom line is our democracy cannot thrive if our citizens do not have the knowledge and the interest to maintain it," said McCormick Foundation president and CEO David Hiller. "Citizens who are involved in civic learning and civic engagement opportunities at a young age gain the skills and confidence they need to make a difference in their schools and communities, and are more likely to continue this engagement into adulthood."