Empowered Citizens Effective Democracy

Cultivating this generation’s civic potential

The growing divisiveness in the United States is palpable and alarming, fueled by disinformation and distrust. Americans are drawing battle lines online, at school board meetings in our hometowns, and in the treasured halls of our nation’s Capitol.

We see a way forward in today’s young people.

Today’s 42 million 14–24-year-olds are entering the public square–what they know and how they engage going forward will determine the direction of our democracy.

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

First-of-its-kind national survey of 18–24-year-old Americans sheds light on their civic readiness.


How We Do It


We prepare 14-18-year-olds to be civically well-informed through fellowships, community groups, and online learning outside the K-12 school system.



We enable 18-24-year-olds to be productively engaged through fellowships and partnerships with employers, policymakers, and college presidents.



We accelerate the civic learning field by reprioritizing civic preparedness. through common measurement tools, shared vision, and collaboration across divides.


Everyone is a civics teacher

Get Involved

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Support Us

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

Ways to Support Us

Cultivating Empowered Citizens

To unleash this generation’s civic potential, the time is now to support and cultivate young people as empowered citizens. Empowered citizens are civically well-informed, productively engaged, and committed to democracy.

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

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

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

What is an Empowered Citizen?

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

New Research: Mapping Civic Measurement

Read more

The Co-Creation Generation

This report from Civic Spring Fellows on how to engage young people in the design of civic development programs.

Co-Creation Generation

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.



a group of graduate students standing on stairs at a seminar

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

The Fellow Network

two smiling women seated in a crowd at a conference


Visionary thinkers of all ages and fields in our Fellow community


Pulitzer Prize recipients


MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients


College and University presidents

Educating for Democracy Since 1945

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

Today, we’re on a mission to ensure that a majority of Americans get the foundational experiences needed to become effective citizens.

Our Approach