Empowered Citizens Effective Democracy

71 college presidents committed to advancing the principles of critical inquiry, free expression, and civil discourse on their campuses.


Cultivating this generation’s civic potential

This is an urgent time for the nation and for democracy. We see a way forward in today’s 42 million 14-24-year-olds, and we recognize that they are particularly poised to strengthen democracy now and for the long haul.

The Institute for Citizens & Scholars cultivates talent, ideas, and networks that develop young people as empowered, lifelong citizens.

Our mission

How We Do It


We support scholars, journalists, and policy leaders working to ensure all people and perspectives are included in our democracy’s future, including Gen Z leaders affecting civic change.


College Presidents for Civic Preparedness

We convene ideologically diverse college presidents committed to ensuring young people are effective citizens.


Civic Learning Research

We accelerate the growth of the civic field through research, measurement tools, and collaboration across divides.


Get Involved

Sign up to receive funding opportunities, stories about our work, resources and tools, and ways to get involved.

Sign Up for Email Updates

What is an Empowered Citizen?

Empowered citizens are civically well-informed, productively engaged, and committed to democracy.

Informed: They understand our government, our history, and the difference between fact and opinion.

Productive: They build common ground with others and take an active role in local and national decision-making.

Committed: They are committed to democracy and willing to do the hard work to strengthen it.

Learn more

Civic learning really speaks to the power of blending information and action. Making sure that we are really well-informed and seeking out the knowledge that we need and then also translating that into action.

Sadie Bograd
Sadie Bograd Sadie Bograd, 2020 Civic Spring Fellow

New Ideas Shaping a More Perfect Union

In Preamble, Citizens & Scholars president Raj Vinnakota sits down for 15-minute conversations with diverse thought leaders—across traditional divides—on the new ideas shaping our democracy.

Explore the Series

Free Expression Resource & Perspectives

A collection of diverse research, frameworks, articles, and statements on free expression and critical inquiry in higher education.


The Civic Outlook of Young Adults in America

A first-of-its-kind national survey of 18–24-year-old Americans that sheds light on their civic knowledge, civic engagement, and commitment to democracy.


Diverse Leaders Working Across Divides

Over 75 years, Citizens & Scholars has attained unrivaled expertise, experience, data, and a network of funders and practitioners across the ideological spectrum, including 27,000 world-leading Fellows from a multitude of fields.

Our diverse network unites the boldest innovators across education, business, philanthropy, community institutions, media, and government. Sitting at this essential intersection, Citizens & Scholars attracts the ideas, funding, and talent that will ignite the revitalization of our democracy.



Meet the Fellows

From high school students to classroom teachers to Nobel Laureates, we invest in visionary people with diverse ideas that will strengthen democracy for the long haul.

Our Fellows

Apply Now

Explore available Fellowships for youth leaders, journalists, business & policy leaders, and scholars & education leaders.

Learn more

The Fellow Network


Visionary thinkers of all ages and fields in our Fellow community


Pulitzer Prize recipients


MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients


College and University presidents

Support Us

From our beginnings as the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in 1945, we have prepared new generations of American citizenry by opening doors to higher education, supporting more than 27,000 visionary thinkers, scholars, and teachers.

Help us invest in the diverse talent, ideas, and networks that will cultivate young people as empowered, lifelong citizens.

Make a Gift