Civic Learning: Leading Organizations

In addition to AAC&U and the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Action Network, a number of organizations strive to advance more comprehensive and inclusive civic learning and democratic engagement both in higher education and in campus/community partnerships, whether local or global ones. The following list is not all-inclusive, but showcases the diversity of organizations in the field and the abundance of resources they offer. To suggest an organization be added to this page, contact

American Political Science Association's Civic Education Portal
A project of the American Political Science Association (APSA), the Civic Education Network provides materials for Civic Education teachers at all levels, and includes such resources as major reports on civic society and university centers working on civic education. Resources are divided into three areas: Scholarly Essays; Civic Education Organizations; and Teaching and Research Resources. Teaching Civic Engagement: From Student to Active Citizen, a 2013 publication, demonstrates how to bring civic questions and pedagogies to the heart of the disciplines.

Amizade Volunteer and Service-Learning Programs
Amizade is a non-profit organization that encourages intercultural exploration and understanding through community-driven volunteer programs and service-learning programs. Its service learning programs offer undergraduate and graduate credit to students interested in challenging academic and service experiences with communities around the world. Along with hosting a global consortium on service-learning, Amizade launches partnerships with different universities in the US and across the globe to promote innovative service-learning programs for educational credit.

The Andrew Goodman Foundation
The Andrew Goodman Foundation works to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy. We support youth leadership development, voting accessibility, and social justice initiatives on campuses across the country with mini-grants to select institutions of higher learning and other financial assistance to student leaders. Join us as we inspire more young people to pursue social change work, activate important lessons of the past, and sustain today’s effective social action.

Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools was created to expand and improve civic learning in K-12 and in Higher Education. The Campaign works with its 60+ coalition partners, the Campaign's Steering Committee, to bring about changes in state, local, and national policy that promote civic learning and implement the recommendations in “Guardian of Democracy: the Civic Mission of Schools,” a report published by the Campaign in 2011. This report reflects a broad consensus among scholars and practitioners on the major challenges confronting civic learning, research based practices that are proven to effectively provide civic learning and recommendations for policymakers, educators and all Americans.

Center for Civic Education
The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to fostering the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life. The Center administers curricular, teacher-training, and community-based programs. The Center specializes in civic/citizenship education, law-related education, and international educational exchange programs for developing democracies. Programs focus on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights; American political traditions and institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; constitutionalism; civic participation; and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Close Up Foundation
The Close Up Foundation is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan citizenship education organization. Founded in 1970, Close Up connects individuals of all ages to their communities and institutions through a variety of educational programs and products. By building partnerships with the education community, the private and philanthropic sectors, and all branches and levels of government, Close Up promotes civic participation in meaningful and dynamic ways. Close Up works with teachers and students on service learning initiatives, providing training workshops, program development seminars, curriculum-writing institutes, "training of trainers" sessions and materials, youth service summits, student guide books, and teacher manuals to help integrate service learning into the curriculum.

CIVNET: An International Resource for Civic Education and Civil Society
Published by CIVITAS International, a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting civic education and civil society. CIVNET is a web site for civic education practitioners (teachers, teacher trainers, curriculum designers), scholars, policy makers, civic-minded journalists, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) promoting civil society all over the world. CIVNET includes such resources as textbooks, lesson plans, original journal articles and book reviews, historical documents and speeches, civic news headlines, events listings, and organizational contacts, and more.

Community College National Center for Community Engagement (CCNCCE)
The Community College National Center for Community Engagement (CCNCCE) is a national leader in advancing programs and innovations that stimulate active participation of institutions of education in service learning and community engagement for the attainment of a vital citizenry. For 21 years, the CCNCCE has successfully developed and managed innovative partnerships and disseminated lessons learned throughout the higher education community. An outcome of the mission of the CCNCCE is to support and promote the pedagogy of service-learning, a teaching method which combines academic instruction with community service as it focuses on increasing college access and completion, academic achievement and engagement, critical and reflective thinking and civic responsibility. In addition to an annual conference in May of each year, CCNCCE also offers abstracts, articles and publications, funding opportunities, manuals and workbooks, presentations, and syllabi.

Community Outreach Partnership Centers (COPC) Program
The Community Outreach Partnership Centers (COPC) Program, an initiative of The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s Office of University Partnerships, provides 3-year grants for colleges and universities to join in partnerships with their communities in order to respond to the problems of greatest concern to the community. Community Outreach Partnership Centers play an active and visible role in community revitalization by applying research to real urban problems, coordinating outreach efforts with neighborhood groups and residents, acting as a local information exchange, galvanizing support for neighborhood revitalization, developing public service projects and instructional programs, and collaborating with other Centers.

Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy is organized to advance deliberative democracy and to improve the quality of public life in the U.S. Funded by the Topsfield Foundation, Everyday Democracy helps organize community-wide dialogues around issues of public importance, creates and distributes discussion materials, and provides technical assistance and discussion resources related to race relations, education, and other issues. Everyday Democracy is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 to promote the use of community dialogue in critical social and political issues.

ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation
ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation is a national program engaging undergraduates at colleges and universities in state-level legislative change by learning to work with legislators, staffers, and community organizations to advance policy. It is becoming a major voice in addressing challenges to American democracy by engaging young people around the country in civic activism built on knowledge, cooperation, justice and integrity. Students learn through direct engagement in this work, traveling to the state capital, meeting with and lobbying legislators, strategizing with advocacy organizations and creating outreach materials to advance their chosen issues. ENACT has launched programs in 29 colleges and universities located in or near state capitals, and is building a national online network of students, faculty, activists and legislators.

Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP)
The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is an independent, nonprofit organization that is dedicated to access and success in postsecondary education around the world. Based in Washington, D.C., IHEP uses unique research and innovative programs to inform key decision makers who shape public policy and support economic and social development. IHEP offers a nonpartisan perspective through a staff that includes some of the most respected professionals in the fields of public policy and research. It is committed to equality of opportunity for all and helps low-income, minority, and other historically underrepresented populations gain access and achieve success in higher education.

International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership
The International Partnership for Service-Learning, founded in 1982, is a non-profit organization serving colleges, universities, service agencies and related organizations around the world by fostering programs that link community service and academic study. IPS-L initiates, designs, and administers off-campus programs in the Czech Republic, Ecuador, England, France, India, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, the Philippines, Scotland, and South Dakota (with Native Americans). In cooperation with affiliated universities in Britain, Mexico and Jamaica, IPS-L also administers a one-year British Master's Degree Program in International Service. Undergraduate programs are open to qualified high school graduates, college students and graduates, and in-service professionals. IPS-L also organizes conferences and publishes materials related to service-learning.

Learn and Serve and the National Service Resource Center
The federal government's Corporation for National and Community Service has established Learn and Serve to support service-learning projects in schools. The web site includes information about service learning, resources for programs, and research materials for both K-12 and higher education institutions. Learn and Serve provides grants to individual institutions and statewide consortia and sponsors a leading database on service learning, the National Service Learning Clearinghouse.

National Society for Experiential Education
For more than two decades, the NSEE has been active in promoting service learning and other types of experiential education at the K-12 and college levels. It provides consulting for faculty and administrators, runs conferences and workshops on service learning and civic participation, publishes resource packets and other materials, and runs special interest groups on various topics.

Pew Partnership for Civic Change
The Pew Partnership for Civic Engagement is a civic research organization whose mission is to document and disseminate cutting-edge community solutions. Pew collaborates with local and national partners to empower diverse leadership for action, catalyze broad-based community partnerships to solve problems, and research successful community solutions and civic practices. The Pew Partnership tests strategies to address the toughest issues facing the nation—from affordable housing to at-risk youth to economic development—through three initiatives: LeadershipPlenty; Solutions for America; and Civic Engagement.

Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America
The Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America is an initiative launched by Professor Robert D. Putnam at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. This multi-year dialogue focused on how to increasingly build bonds of civic trust among Americans and their communities. The web site includes descriptions of the eight meetings and resource lists linked from each meeting page with more information on Civic Engagement and Youth, Government, Politics, Faith-Based Efforts, Work, and the Arts.