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Our mission is to build a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship across the country.

Through our programs, Citizen University inspires belief that a strong democracy relies on strong citizens—that we all have the power to make change in civic life and the responsibility to try.

We are working to realize the country we know is possible: a mass, multiracial democratic republic that works. A society with healthy, responsive institutions where every person feels represented and knows how to contribute. A society where we share responsibility for strengthening community and country by reckoning with our past and recommitting to our future together.

Ready to work with us? We’re hiring →

 


 

The challenge we’re addressing

We’re taking cynicism, despair, and feelings of powerlessness head on. Our current culture in the US is marked by hyper-individualism and distrust towards institutions and our fellow Americans. A decades-long neglect of our collective, civic health has led to a culture crisis in the United States.

We believe that culture is upstream of structure. What do we mean by that? Well, the ways we feel and act together define the frame of what’s possible in policy and structural change. Structural reform, while necessary, is not sufficient on its own to address disconnection, fear, prejudice, hopelessness. Without opportunities to build trust and see each other’s shared humanity—to build a stronger civic culture—we will be stuck in self-serving cycles, believing that we’re in a zero-sum game.

 


 

How we’re building culture

We’re throwing our weight into reimagining the ways Americans relate to one another and build a sense of commitment and responsibility. Through ritual and reckoning, gathering and galvanizing, we equip people across the nation with the tools to strengthen this sense of civic culture in their communities.

Embodying this culture means each of us live like powerful, responsible citizens. We’re not talking about documentation status, rather, the ways we show up as contributing members to society. Living like a citizen means bringing a sense of civic character to all that you do—and using your power for good.

 

“The process definitely gave me a greater scope of how to hear and see others. I feel more empowered and motivated to live out my civic responsibilities.”

– Citizen Redefined Mentor

 


 

Why we do what we do

The American creed promises everyone freedom, equality, and justice—whether one’s family has lived on this land since time immemorial or has just arrived. We envision an America in which that promise is truly realized for everyone, because America is not America until “we the people” means all the people.

To live up to the promise of America, we must face ourselves in full. Americans have betrayed the American creed from the start, and still betray it; Americans have also tried to redeem the creed from the start, and still redeem it. To live like citizens means to see both these truths; to confront the history and persistence of white supremacy in our laws, customs, and institutions. To reckon with what binds us together as Americans. To deeply understand that we’re all better off when we’re all better off.

When we take responsibility and strengthen our resolve to live like citizens, we take ownership of our country and the challenges we face, and are one step closer to realizing the promise of America.

 

“It’s one thing to feel responsible, and another to actually have the toolkit to make things happen. Citizen University was the first place that I came to.”

– Civic Saturday Fellow

 


 

Find your role

For the better part of a decade, curious citizens just like you have found civic inspiration, discovered new resources, and tapped into their power through our programs. No matter your background or race, your political ideology or family history, if you are looking to take a step further in building civic power and character for yourself and your community, you’re in the right place. Our programs offer you an experiential deep dive into concepts like civic power, civic character, and civic faith.

Learn more about our programs →