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Join Us, Help Build an Engaged Nation

November 2, 2013
NCoC is recruiting civic health partners representing all 50 states and America’s largest cities.

Detailed information on our current national, state, and city research and partnerships is available at

To begin a partnership with us, contact NCoC’s Partnership Development Director, Kristi Tate.

What It Is
NCoC’s civic health initiatives are efforts to explore America’s civic life and motivate citizens, leaders, and policymakers to strengthen it. Together with our partners, we possess the nation’s largest and most definitive measure of civic engagement. Through analysis and initiatives, we call attention to what we learn, make it applicable to our action planning, and help take an evidence-based approach to helping our communities and country thrive.

How It Started
America’s Civic Health Index started in 2006, when a group of civic researchers and practitioners, social and political scientists realized there was very little information available about the civic vitality of our communities. To measure how our businesses were doing, we could look to Wall Street, our GDP, and other metrics. To see how our schools were performing, there were assessment tests and educational standards and measurements. But there was no measure of how our communities were doing— no one was tracking our civic stock. This was a significant problem, as a lack of information meant a lack of ability to fully measure, understand and shape how our communities and our democracy are functioning.

NCoC began convening a civic indicators working group comprised of some of the leading thinkers in this area, including Robert Putnam, Presidential Advisors Bill Galston and John Bridgeland, Peter Levine of CIRCLE and others to explore what a civic index might look like. A set of indicators was developed that measured actions and behaviors such as the rates at which people were voting and volunteering, as well as some of the emotional levers of civic participation, like trust and connectedness. And in 2006, the first
America’s Civic Health Index was published.

While the research has been conducted annually ever since on a national level, we quickly realized that for the data to have the most impact, particularly on a policy agenda, it really needed to be localized. In 2008, we began working in collaboration with partners in 3 states to produce local Civic Health reports. This number was doubled to 6 in 2009.

In 2009, NCoC was incorporated into the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, and directed to expand the civic health assessment in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Census Bureau. This partnership gave us the largest and most definitive civic data set in the country and has allowed us to further expand our work. In 2010, NCoC worked worth 17 local partners, and we now work in collaboration with partners in 34 states and cities across the country.

We don’t purport to know all the answers, nor do we assert that we are the best tellers of these local stories. That’s why we partner with organizations throughout the country who can tell the local story about the data, give context to the findings, and suggest recommendations on what can be done to strengthen civic life.

For detailed information on our current partnerships, please visit

If we’re already working in your state, we would be glad to discuss opportunities to expand upon the research and connect you with our existing partners to uncover avenues for collaboration.

Why It Matters
We believe that data is essential to informing dialogue and uncovering ways to motivate greater participation. Together with our partners, we want to call attention to what we learn, make it applicable to action planning, and take an evidence-based approach to inform policies, programs, and initiatives that advance engagement and unlock our communities’ potential to thrive.

The Civic Health Index (CHI) has become central to the dialogue about civic life among policymakers, communities, and media across America. As an innovative measure of community progress, the CHI has been used as a tool to inform complex policy issues and drive sustainable civic strategies.

One of the many valuable benefits of becoming a CHI state partner is access to a dynamic cross-sector network of partners convened by NCoC. State partners have the opportunity to learn from one another’s best practices and lessons learned about framing key findings in their reports, crafting effective media outreach strategies, and shaping ongoing initiatives.

Here’s a snapshot what our partners have to say:
"In all cases, we must promote accountability for results. The nation collects good data about its economy, but it can do a better job, I think, in collecting information about our country’s civic health. So we will establish a civic health index, building on the good work of the National Conference on Citizenship and the Corporation for National and Community Service, to collect regular data on volunteering, charitable giving and other indicators of our civic life." -Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Serve America Act co-author

“Our participation in the drafting and disseminating the Illinois Civic Health Index was helpful to the Freedom Project through documentation of baseline information pertinent to our civic mission. We provide civic education that enables informed engagement, and the CHI data delivers a snapshot of our starting point and the steep road ahead.” -Shawn Healy, Resident Scholar of Chicago and Illinois state partner, the McCormick Foundation

“What gets measured matters – so we have to make sure we’re measuring the important barometers of our quality of life. That is why the Civic Health Index being released by the National Conference on Citizenship is so important.” -Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell

What It Takes
NCoC manages the research, provides the key findings, performs customized analysis, provides editorial guidance, manages production, and provides media support with a national platform to raise visibility and support for partner-driven outreach efforts.

Partners take the lead on using NCoC data to craft a narrative that gives life to the findings, providing critical context for the research and preparing recommendations for next steps. Partners also lead local outreach and dissemination to key decision makers and stakeholders.

Join Us, Help Build an Engaged Nation
Currently, NCoC partners with over 30 communities on our civic health initiatives, creating a cross-sector network of partners working to enhance the prosperity and vitality of our local communities and our nation as a whole. We are now recruiting new State and Local Partners to join in this effort.

In the download box above, you’ll find:
--A one-page overview of our civic health initiatives

--Descriptions of the full partnership opportunity for both reports and civic health infographics

--An overview of the indicators and their collection process

--A memo outlining the ways various types of institutions have successfully used the data to inform and advance their work

Ready to Sign On?
To begin a partnership with us, contact NCoC’s Partnership Development Director, Kristi Tate.
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1 Comment
By Ian-Wendell Lipford at 6:03 PM on Nov 19th, 2014
Good Evening:
I've been reading up on the word civic and also looking at your website and I was wondering how I could be of service! I'm from North Philadelphia Pa. I've been working to clean up my community in the streets and in office to officers that misrepresent my community! I would love to share my views from a black young man from the inner city with a good head on his shoulders!
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