For Immediate Release:
Friday, December 8, 2017
Generation Citizen Selected as Grant Recipient by the Texas Bar Foundation
AUSTIN, TX (December 7, 2017) — The Texas Bar Foundation has selected Generation Citizen as a grant recipient for its work “Growing Young Civic Leaders in Central Texas.” The support of the Texas Bar Foundation will be used to help expand Generation Citizen’s Action Civics program to high needs schools in Central Texas, where opportunities for local civic engagement are limited.
Generation Citizen works to ensure that every student in the U.S. receives an effective action civics education, providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in our democracy as active citizens. What started as an idea on a college campus in 2008 in Providence, Rhode Island, Generation Citizen has grown to teach Action Civics to more than 40,000 young people, deploying 1,200 college volunteers, in more than 300 schools across the country in Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Central Texas. After a strong first year in Texas, with over 350 students at 7 Austin and Bastrop schools showing growth in civic knowledge, skills, and motivation, Generation Citizen is expanding its Action Civics programming to over 1000 Central Texas students this school year.
The Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $18 million in grants to law-related programs since its inception in 1965. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation. This is the Foundation’s first award to Generation Citizen.
The resources will support Action Civics program outreach in Central Texas’ “Civic Deserts”, a term coined by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) to describe communities where residents have less access to their political representatives and civic role models and less robust career opportunities. These barriers to full political engagement are especially challenging in rural areas, where research suggests that 60% of residents live in civic deserts, compared with 30% for urban and suburban residents. Generation Citizen aims to fill that civic opportunity gap in Texas by prioritizing partnerships in schools in rural-based schools in addition to its urban-based work in Austin. This funding will support curriculum design, teacher training, and be a gateway to learning best practices for future expansion into other parts of Texas.
Meredith Norris, Central Texas Site Director for Generation Citizen added, “Generation Citizen is incredibly honored by the Texas Bar Foundation’s support for our action civics programming. Our experience has been that, given the chance, young people in our state are eager to engage in issues facing their communities and have their voices heard. This funding will allow us to dramatically expand our reach in Central Texas and play a meaningful role in improving civic participation among our youngest generation.”