Cultivating Empowered Citizens

Now is the time to cultivate an empowered citizenry—together.

American constitutional democracy has always depended on citizens who understand its premise and promise, who seek out diverse perspectives and ideas, respect each other’s differences, and believe in a common future. Yet right now, the future of an effective democracy hangs in the balance.


of young adults can correctly answer only 1 out of 4 standard civics questions.


of young adults report no trust at all or very little trust in government institutions.


of young adults have no intention to participate civically in 2024, including voting.

The growing divisiveness in the United States is palpable and alarming, fueled by disinformation, distrust, and disgust. Americans are drawing battlelines online, at school board meetings and college campuses, and in the treasured halls of our nation’s Capitol. Countless polls report historically low levels of trust in neighbors and institutions. Wittingly and unwittingly, we surround ourselves with people who look, feel, think, and act like we do, and with information sources that only confirm our own points of view.

This cultural, social, and political unraveling is driving government dysfunction, a deepening crisis of belonging, even fears of violent revolution.

A path forward

If we are to find a peaceful path forward for our republic, we need a critical mass of effective citizens who are civically well-informed, productively engaged for the common good, and hopeful about the future of democracy.

When we say citizen, we’re referring to someone who demonstrates the ancient concepts of civic virtue and civic spirit, and who works toward the common good. This kind of citizenship has nothing to do with legal status or formal national identity. Rather, citizenship that rests in a commitment to the well-being of society as a whole; knowledge of and respect for the full range of histories, perspectives, and priorities that the whole encompasses; and active engagement in sustaining and furthering one’s various communities.

Citizens & Scholars focuses on a truly holistic approach to cultivate youth as effective, lifelong citizens.

How We Do It


Our portfolios achieve youth civic development priorities through fellowship programs, ventures, special initiatives, and investments.

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Focus Areas

Our work prepares 14-18-year-olds and enables 18-24-year-olds for effective citizenship while accelerating the civic learning field.

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