Generation Citizen, Inc

A nonprofit organization

$3,100 Raised by 52 Donors

100% complete

$3,000 Goal

Generation Citizen (GC) is transforming how civics education is taught by bringing the subject to life. We champion real-world democracy education that equips all young people with foundational civic knowledge and skills needed to understand systems of inequality and effect change. In the classroom, our Action Civics program inspires robust civic participation by inviting students to engage directly with the local issues and institutions impacting their communities. We also provide thought leadership, conduct research, and build national and regional coalitions to advocate for state and district level policies that ensure schools prioritize Action Civics. 

GC works to inspire robust, equitable civic participation by promoting Action Civics education: a student-centered, experiential approach in which young people learn about democracy by actively working with local government to address issues in their own communities. This educational opportunity provides students with the knowledge, skills and motivation they need for a lifetime of responsible active civic engagement. 

Over the course of a GC semester, students democratically choose a local issue that matters to them, research how that issue is impacted by municipal government, and then take substantive, real action towards local policy change. At the end of the semester, student representatives from each GC classroom come together at Civics Day to present their work to community leaders, share their experiences with peers, and reflect on how their experiences have helped prepare them for long-term civic engagement. Like many aspects of Action Civics, Civics Day is designed to provide students with a real-world opportunity to practice public speaking, networking, and reflecting on lessons learned.

Through GC’s programming, students engage in Action Civics through the following scaffolded framework:

Building their Civic Identities: The program begins with self-reflection to connect the student’s own life experiences to the vocabulary of civic engagement and is followed by students practicing the norms of collaborative dialogue.

Selecting a Focus Issue using Collaborative Teamwork: Students learn to build consensus, advocate for individual views, use the power of persuasion, and experience compromise. As a class, they select one local issue they care about.

Conducting Research and Dialogue: Students gather research as they prepare to share their views. They draft scripts for productive conversation, prepare questions, and conduct follow-up to thank guests for their time. They learn to take notes in a format that supports reflection on how they can relate to what they are learning. In making these connections, they learn how to establish empathy with their audience. Ultimately, they determine the root cause of the issue they have selected, and select a specific goal to pursue.

Taking Action: Students spend half of the program implementing the action plans they have created. Every action plan includes tactics to engage key decision-makers, mobilize community members, and continue research to defend arguments as they use evidence to engage with prospective champions and skeptics. Students work in small groups with one target or one tactic at a time in mind. They plan daily, set goals, conduct outreach, reflect on their learning, present updates, and suggest changes of course as they reconcile new realities with the progress they have made. 

Culminating Event: Civics Day is the end-of-semester finale for students. Like a science fair, students present their action plan and preliminary outcomes to volunteer judges who include public officials and other professionals from the community. It is an opportunity for students to take pride in their projects, advocate for their issues to a local audience, and collect feedback on their plans from the panel of judges and other student attendees. This experience provides students with an opportunity to practice public speaking and network with professionals.   

The work is centered in GC’s comprehensive, state and C3 standards-based Action Civics curriculum, and our approach is rooted in researched best practices in civics education. These practices include: the use of project-based learning, the importance of a student-centered pedagogy, opportunities for student agency, social relatedness, and development of moral-political understanding, peer interactions, and activities related to Action Civics like youth participatory action research. 

The curriculum is designed to be student-driven, entirely predicated upon issues of students’ interest and choosing. Our own qualitative research demonstrates that this student-driven perspective resonates most profoundly with the students who are typically least well-served in a traditional classroom: they become motivated as they are given the opportunity to engage personally in relevant and creative work with real-world implications. 

Organization Data


Organization name

Generation Citizen, Inc

Tax id (EIN)





New York, NY 10005


405 206 8898

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