Civic Spring: Summer 2024

Opportunities to Lead & Learn

Young people play a critical role in strengthening our democracy today and for the long haul. Civic Spring Fellows are young people and members of youth-centered organizations working on projects that address a local need around issues including criminal justice, education, community health & wellness, economic opportunity, environment, immigration, transportation, and/or elections.


81% of young people say they believe they have the power to change the country, however, too many young people lack the opportunities and resources to engage in, and lead, meaningful change.


Since 2020, Civic Spring Fellows have implemented projects around the country tackling topics such as climate change and economic development.


Young people gain hands-on experience by engaging in important community issues while learning about local and state government, influencing systems, and coalition-building.

This project 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, 2020 Fellow
Sadie Bograd, 2020 Fellow

More Than Funding

Fellows build an extensive network of peers and adult partners to help maximize their impact. They build civic knowledge and skills while gaining on-the-ground experience in effecting change in their communities.

Civic Spring Fellows receive critical support through unique experience-based learning and interactions with an intergenerational team of coaches and civic leaders. With these supports, Fellows will develop a greater sense of efficacy, strengthen their abilities to affect positive change, practice collaborative problem-solving, and share their knowledge and skills with their peers and communities.

Civic Spring: Summer 2024

In summer 2024, teams of Civic Spring Fellows from New Jersey will participate in a set of key learning experiences, engage in Community of Practice meetings, and receive support from a dedicated Civic Spring Peer Coach. The Civic Spring Fellowship is generously sponsored by the Maher Charitable Foundation. 

Past Civic Spring Fellowship Projects

The inaugural 2020 Civic Spring cohort implemented projects responding to COVID-19 and building civic capacities for the 2020 election cycle. Fellows worked in communities in Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Texas. 

In 2022 Fellows addressed voter registration, education, access to continued COVID-19 resources, student mental health, and more. Fellows worked in communities in Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Most recently, in Summer 2023, Fellows in Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, and Texas projects focused on climate change and environmental rights, youth activism and mental health projects

Current and Past Fellows

Meet All the Fellows
Sophia Lin

Sophia Lin

Scottsdale, Arizona

Sophia is a high school sophomore. Her project, Arizona S.M.A.R.T. (Success Magnified by Assessing, Reaching, Teaching), aims to address the need to bridge education gaps in Arizona among economically, socially, racially, and physically diverse groups. She plans to design free and high-quality programs, like FASFA training and information campaigns, so students can be informed of their post-high school options. This work builds on the non-profit organization, iReach, that she co-founded.

  • Civic Spring Fellow '23
Arnold  Ludd

Arnold Ludd

Brooklyn, New York

Arnold is a college sophomore at City Tech College. The purpose of his project is to prevent and counteract gun violence and provide a safe space for teens to unpack issues, learn from experts, and receive fitness training from professional trainers. He co-founded Jiggabite Gloves Up, Guns Down, and hopes to expand beyond the 5 NYC Public Schools where the program is already operating.

  • Civic Spring Fellow '23
Maritza  Roberts-Padilla

Maritza Roberts-Padilla

Tucson, Arizona

Maritza is a high school junior. Her project, ISL Matters (Increasing Sexual Literacy Matters), aims to bridge the sexual health knowledge gap among teenagers from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. She plans to create a website for teens to enhancing their knowledge and access to information about sexual health, basic anatomy, and proper hygienic care.

  • Civic Spring Fellow '23
Savannah Smalley

Savannah Smalley

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Savannah is a high school senior. She is partnering with her brother, Sultan Smalley, on their project, Treetop Philadelphia. The project aims to address the lack of trees in neighborhoods that were traditionally redlined.

  • Civic Spring Fellow '23

The Beginning

The Civic Spring Fellowship was originally developed in 2020 by an intergenerational team of 40 subject-matter experts, funders, practitioners, and leaders. An independent evaluation of the 2020 Civic Spring Fellowship conducted by Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) confirmed both 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.
2020 Civic Spring Fellows from New Jersey, Groundwork Elizabeth.