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Center for Civic Education Wins 2024 Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award

The Center for Civic Education, a national nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, has been named the recipient of the 2024 Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

The Center’s winning proposal, “Elevating Unheard Perspectives through Discourse,” aims to promote civil discourse and civic engagement among underserved rural and tribal communities throughout the United States. The initiative, which focuses on civic education in grades 6 through 8, was selected by a panel of judges involved in K-12 and college education for the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics (LAIC).

With the $200,000 award, the Center will develop three online instructional units aligned with middle school curriculum. Through these resources, which will include short- and long-form video, primary sources, podcasts, and interviews, the Center seeks to elevate unheard perspectives, increase access to best practices in teaching and learning, and better equip students for civic engagement.

“We are delighted to present the 2024 LAIC Award to the Center for Civic Education,” said Andrea (Ang) Reidell, director of outreach and curriculum for the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. “Its project focuses on several key areas of need in civics education, including creating material for use by middle-school teachers and students, and the emphasis on connecting with rural and tribal schools. It is so important that students of all ages have access to high-quality civics resources, no matter where they live.”

Unheard voices

Logo of the Center for Civic EducationThe Center for Civic Education, founded in 1965, has served 42 million student and 440,000 educators, and describes its mission as “promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy, serving K-12 students, their teachers, and adults.”

Donna Phillips, president and CEO of the Center, says the group plans to work with partner organizations in tribal and rural communities in states such as Alaska, Kentucky, Montana, Arizona, Indiana, and Virginia.

“It’s always a good time to teach civil discourse and do what you can to increase knowledge and have good conversations across lines of difference,” Phillips said. “We’re seeking to find that common ground. We’re focusing on tribal and rural schools in particular because we don’t think civic education has done enough to apply its problem-solving skills to reaching rural areas.”

Phillips added, “Underrepresented groups have been learning about our history from the dominant perspectives for so long and we’re excited to bring forward these lesser-heard voices that are an important part of our American story.”

The Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award

The Center for Civic Education project was selected from proposals submitted by some of the 46 partners in the Civics Renewal Network, a consortium of nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to strengthening civic life in the United States. CRN was founded as a project of the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, whose award aims to help an exemplary project that would improve civics education in the nation’s elementary, secondary, or high school classrooms. The competition is open to partner organizations in the Civics Renewal Network.

The first LAIC Award was presented in 2019 to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate to create resources to help 8th through 12th grade teachers conduct productive civic conversations on difficult issues. Past winners also include Street Law, in 2021, to develop a curriculum for middle and high school students on the rule of law; the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in 2022, to create a high school program on the role of the states in determining and protecting voting rights; and Retro Report, in 2023, to create educational videos and curriculum to accompany the debut of a PBS civics docuseries.