Dear Civics Unplugged family, friends, and partners,
We hope this letter finds you well, that your loved ones are safe and healthy, and that this update gives you some cause for optimism.
While COVID-19 has disrupted just about everything, as a digital-first social enterprise that chose to do virtual training and virtual community building from the start, we have never felt more confident in our forward-thinking approach to civic leadership development. Moreover, our community of partners continues to grow, and now consists of over two dozen organizations collectively reaching millions of Gen Zers.
Below is a brief update on our path to launching Civics 2030, our national campaign to empower millions in Generation Z to contribute to building a much brighter future for American democracy by 2030. You can watch the video version of the update here, courtesy of the brilliant Thanasi Dilos.
After reading or watching our update, if you’re interested in learning more and getting involved, please email me! And don't hesitate to forward this email on to your friends and colleagues. We have plenty of room on this civics train.
In the meantime, please stay safe and know that a country united can overcome any challenge.
In January, we launched the CU Fellowship to kick off Gen Z’s journey to become the civic superheroes we need to build a brighter future for American democracy.
The Fellowship has continued uninterrupted throughout the pandemic with 200 Fellows from around the country taking part in weekly, cohort-wide, interactive lessons on Monday nights and smaller, discussion sections later in the week. Our Fellows have remarked that our recent lessons, focusing on “how to better understand complex events and systems,” have helped them think through this once-in-a-century moment. (And given how some of our elected leaders have handled this crisis, it seems like they would have benefitted from these lessons too!)
Civics 2030 Pilot Projects
While we initially planned for Civics 2030 projects to begin after the Campaign officially launched in the summer, once the pandemic hit, our Fellows insisted that we begin pilot projects now—and of course we listened!
Our Fellows have spearheaded three amazing Civics 2030 pilot projects, each with the goal to learn, engage, and reach more of their peers from across the country and political aisle:
- CU Summer Camp: A completely virtual 9-week summer program geared toward civic-minded high school students who are deeply committed to finding their civic purpose and growing as community leaders. Applications are due May 10th!
- Youth Organizers Collective: A new, youth-led, digital-first community that exists to connect community-spirited high school students and provide them with the relationships, support, and knowledge they need to cultivate strong youth-led clubs, teams, or communities.
- The Quaranteen Guide: A guide, compiled by teens for teens, to help answer the question: “What can teens personally do to support the health, safety, and productivity of themselves and other Americans during this period of coronavirus outbreak?”
By 2030, our goals include moving 5,000 Gen Zers through the CU Fellowship, empowering 50,000 to have worked on Civics 2030 projects, and helping inspire 5 million to find their civic purpose.
We will only be able to achieve these goals in close partnership with dozens of dedicated individuals and organizations across disciplines and sectors. Big shoutout to Points of Light, National Geographic, DoSomething, BridgeUSA, Govern for America, and 1440 for collaborating on some big projects we are excited to reveal in the coming weeks.
Since February, we have hosted seven Unplugged Conversations—open, honest fireside chats with civic superheroes (elected officials, social entrepreneurs, policy entrepreneurs, journalists, activists, philanthropists, etc). Our guests have included Audrey Tang (The Digital Minister of Taiwan), Katie Fahey (who led the successful effort to end partisan gerrymandering in Michigan), Lee Drutman (a world-renown political reform expert), and Brian McClendon (a cofounder of Google Maps).
We will soon be opening up these conversations to the wider community.
How You Can Help ♀️
For those looking to support our work and our launch of Civics 2030, the best ways include donating to Civics Unplugged, helping us secure corporate sponsors, and helping us secure foundation grants. If you can help in these ways, please reply to this email!