Civic Spring: Arizona
Piloting the Best Civic Youth Programs
Young people play a critical role in strengthening our democracy today and for the long haul. Civic Spring Fellows are young people or members of youth-centered organizations who are working on projects that address a local community need, such as public health or local elections.
The Civic Spring Fellowship Arizona program is an opportunity for young people in Maricopa County to lead a community project this summer. By focusing on community projects as Civic Spring Fellows, young people are building skills to continue engaging and driving meaningful change for the long term.
More Than Funding
Fellows build a powerful network of peers and partners to help maximize their impact. They build civic knowledge and skills while gaining on-the-ground experience in effecting change in their communities.
The Civic Spring Fellows receive critical support and mentorship from a network of community and nonprofit organizations, government agencies, schools, religious institutions, and businesses, including PayPal. As the program sponsor, PayPal will fund the projects and connect fellows with employees who will serve as mentors. PayPal is a local Maricopa County employer with offices in Scottsdale and Chandler.
Civic Spring Projects 2020
The 2020 projects addressed local community needs in one of two areas: responding to COVID-19 and/or building civic capacities for the 2020 election cycle. Fellows worked in communities in Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Texas.
The Civic Spring Fellowship was originally developed in 2020 by 40 subject-matter experts with insight and recommendations from young people. An independent evaluation of the 2020 Civic Spring Fellowship was conducted by Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and confirmed the individual and community impact of the program. Key findings included that the fellowship helped youth:
- Find or strengthen their own voice, including their social-emotional learning capacities, abilities to navigate both civic institutions and their mental health, and strategies for working with stakeholders across lines of difference.
- Make their city or town a better place, including advocating for policy change to city leaders, securing seats for youth on local government committees, holding voter registration events, and engaging local news media.
- Gain knowledge and skills that would typically be part of a Civics class