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Civics education grants available

Oregon State Capitol Foundation

The Oregon State Capitol Foundation (OSCF) is now accepting applications for a third round of the Civics Education Initiative program.

“The Civics Education Initiative aims to educate Oregonians about how our citizen democracy works, how to get involved and how to make their voices heard,” said Kim Duncan of the OSCF board. Duncan co-chairs the CEI committee with board member Ed Schoaps. 

The initiative was established “to fund programs that educate adults and students about the state’s legislative process, state and local budgets, public administrative processes, governmental history, and the essential importance of citizen involvement in all phases of public policy decision-making,” according to OCSF.

Organizations with existing or aspiring civic education projects and programs that teach the value of civic engagement and appreciation for Oregon’s state and local government are welcome to apply. Applications must be received no later than Sept. 30.

In early 2022, the nonprofit funded programs for the Oregon Alliance of YMCAs, Classroom Law Project and League of Women Voters of Oregon, amounting to $24,000. 

Later that year, six applicants received a collective $50,000, including the Young Leaders Program, Healthy Democracy and Foundations for a Better Oregon. OSCF will award as much as $80,000 to successful applicants for the 2023-24 CEI program.

“We’ve helped bring YMCA Youth and Government classes to more rural communities,” Duncan said. “We support the League of Women Voters teacher training for local schools and Civics Learning Project studies at the high school level. We also helped bring Oregon’s Kid Governor program to more students statewide.”

A Eugene elementary teacher with the Classroom Law Project, one of the winners in the first round of CEI Awards, said, “I look forward to bringing Community Action Projects to my student leadership club and integrating what I learned in the Civil Discourse text in my classroom meetings. Both have provided meaningful structures, documents, examples and methods for how to implement them with success into my classroom. I also plan to bring my fifth graders to the State Capitol Building for a field trip!”

Eligible programs and proposals for the 2023-34 CEI program will expand civics education classroom and extracurricular activities. Programs should provide experiences for Oregonians to learn about Oregon’s government and inspire civic engagement and public service. Another goal is to support research or advanced study of significant public policy topics.

The projects can be implemented to share the history of Oregon’s capital as well as local and state governments. Telling stories of Oregonians who made a difference in Oregon’s civic life is another option. Funds can be used to support travel costs for groups to visit the Oregon State Capitol. 

“We want to encourage Oregonians from an early age to wade into the issues, learn with others, and find solutions that work for all of us,” Schoaps said.

Following the Sept. 30 application deadline, the Capitol Foundation Education Committee will evaluate applications and make a final award decision at their December meeting. 

Selected awardees must sign their Award Agreement and supply a program status report halfway through the program as well as a final report once they’ve completed their program.

Applicants may check their application status by contacting the Capitol Foundation via email at [email protected] or by calling 503-363-1859.

To apply to or learn more about the Civics Education Initiative, visit

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