Institute For Citizens & Scholars And Paypal Launch Civic Spring Fellowship In Maricopa County, Arizona

Program Awards Young People With Grants To Improve Their Communities

April 18, 2022

FOR RELEASE: April 18, 2022
Jay Geneske | 609-356-1834 |
Meghan Gage | 708-686-5100 | 

PRINCETON, NJ (April 18, 2022) – The Institute for Citizens & Scholars in collaboration with PayPal announced the launch of the Civic Spring Fellowship: Arizona. The program is a grant challenge that awards up to $1,800 to young individuals who are pursuing a project to address a local need in Maricopa County, the largest and most populous county in Arizona.

Grants will support summer projects focused on local civic issues of environmental justice, community health and wellness, the 2022 elections, or the impact of COVID-19. In addition to funding, grantees will have access to a national network of adult mentors and co-learning opportunities to strengthen their project and build their civic skills.

Applications are open now and close April 29, 2022. Finalists will be notified by May 7, 2022, and selected Fellows will be notified by May 27, 2021. Prospective grantees can find full eligibility details and submit their application at

Citizens & Scholars conducted a landscape review of potential locations for the program and identified Arizona as an ideal choice. Home to diverse populations and institutions that have a strong commitment to civic learning, the Civic Spring Fellowship program will help enable and expand the positive impact that young people can have on the civic health of Arizona.

In addition to catalyzing local action in communities throughout Maricopa County, the Civic Spring Fellowship aims to demonstrate the lasting value and potential of civic learning and action by young people. “We must think beyond the high school civics class and consider all the places and ways young people build their civic capacities,” said Institute for Citizens & Scholars President Rajiv Vinnakota. “Young people are eager to engage civically in their communities. The Civic Spring Fellowship provides young people the support they need to create real-time change in their own backyard while also preparing them to be lifelong civic leaders.”

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.

“PayPal is committed to supporting the communities where our employees live and work,” said PayPal  Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Franz Paasche. “The Civic Spring Fellowship provides a meaningful opportunity for our local employees to support and mentor young leaders who are taking action to make a positive contribution to the communities of Maricopa County.”

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.

More information on the Civic Spring Fellowship can be found at


About the Institute for Citizens and Scholars

The Institute for Citizens & Scholars ( cultivates talent, ideas, and networks that develop effective, lifelong citizens. Throughout our 75-year history, we’ve played a significant role in shaping educational talent in the K-12 and higher education spaces. Now, with an expanded mission, Citizens & Scholars unites the left, right, and center to develop breakthrough solutions that create stronger citizens in our country. We bring these solutions to life by forming strategic partnerships with an intentionally diverse group of young people, scholars and education leaders, and civic and business leaders—including the 27,000 world-leading Fellows in our network. Together, we’re on a mission to ensure that Americans everywhere are well-informed, productively engaged for the common good, and hopeful about democracy.

About PayPal

PayPal has remained at the forefront of the digital payment revolution for more than 20 years. By leveraging technology to make financial services and commerce more convenient, affordable, and secure, the PayPal platform is empowering more than 425 million consumers and merchants in more than 200 markets to join and thrive in the global economy. For more information, visit

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