Elizabeth Youth Organization Named Civic Spring Project Grantee

Groundwork Elizabeth, a nonprofit devoted to building healthier and more sustainable communities and promotes youth interaction within the Elizabeth community, announced today that it has been selected as one of six Civic Spring Project grantees by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

Groundwork Elizabeth will use the grant to work creatively to engage young people in building civic knowledge while strengthening the Elizabeth community’s civic capacity to plan and act in a COVID 19 environment.

Groundwork was selected from among nearly 150 applications nationwide because their initiative is an innovative proposal that is civic-minded, youth-oriented, nonpartisan, nimble, measurement-minded, and generative.

The program will be done both remotely, and at times bring the youth together via CDC socially distant guidelines.

Launched last month, the Civic Spring Project was collaboratively developed by nearly 40 cross-partisan, subject-matter experts with input from youth. It was developed to catalyze organizations from across the political spectrum to increase civic learning opportunities for young people and challenge the current paradigm of traditional civic education.

The experience is intended to increase understanding and social cohesion while individuals expand networks, especially those from marginalized populations.

By working with partners including the City of Elizabeth, Union County, Elizabeth Housing Authority, Gateway Family YMCA, Jewish Family Service, Harbor Consultants, and Shaping Elizabeth, the youth cohort and their program Directors will speak with policymakers as well as community members affected by the pandemic to help bring the ideas that the youth team comes up with to the civic discussion.

Successful outcomes gained during the program will pave the way for a continuing youth-led discussion that can help inspire future generations to continue to make a difference.

Jonathan Phillips, Executive Director of Groundwork, sees this as another step in helping move a community agenda forward,

“Groundwork and its partners believe that young voices within our community need to be heard, and their opinions need to be incorporated in their ability to help coordinate civic actions,” Mr. Phillips said.

In a statement issued by the Groundwork youth contingent, the team is committed to taking on community issues, “for youth, by youth”, and laying the foundation for future generations of young voices via a legacy role in community discussions.

“As we continue adjusting to new realities from COVID-19 and seeing citizens across our nation calling for massive and much-needed change, there is tremendous opportunity for our young people to learn what it means to be an informed and effective citizen,” WW Foundation President Rajiv Vinnakota said.

Founded in 1945, the WW Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.

For more information on Groundwork Elizabeth, click HERE.

For more information on the Foundation’s Civic Spring project, click HERE.