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Examining Economic Inequality @SUNY Cortland

Economic Inequality Logo

SUNY Cortland, one of 30 campuses participating in our ADP/TDC Economic Inequality Initiative, is launching a monthly series of lunchtime talks addressing issues of economic inequality beginning Tuesday, June 23.

Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology/Anthropology Craig Little will present “Pathways to Opportunity in Cortland County: A Presentation and Conversation” at noon in Room 203 of Main Street SUNY Cortland, located at 9 Main St. in downtown Cortland. His talk will focus on where Cortland County stands relative to other New York State counties in terms of inequality and opportunities for its citizens, especially young people.

The lunchtime series, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the SUNY Cortland Pathways to Opportunity Initiative group. The goal of the initiative is to bring together the area’s campus and community members to study the relationships between economic inequality, public policy, business opportunity, social mobility and civic engagement. Members discuss issues that include student loan debt, a livable hourly wage, and poverty.

Additional talks are slated for noon on select Tuesdays throughout the summer. Talks will continue to be scheduled monthly and updates will be provided.

For more information:

2015 Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service Grants

mlk logoThe Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has reopened the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service grant competition. The competition has been reopened in order to allow applicants to act as pass-through entities. Pass-through entities must select sub-recipients on a competitive basis through a sub-grant. Acting as a pass-through entity (sub-awarding) is not required.The new application deadline is Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

All modifications to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service grant competition are highlighted in yellow within the Notice of Federal Funding Availability (Notice). Please review the Notice carefully and take note of the changes:

For applicants that have already submitted a grant application, you can request to have your application returned to you by sending an email to Please include your Application ID Number and the Legal Applicant Name in your request. In cases where your application is returned to you for additional work, all applicants are still required to adhere to the new deadline of Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Visit to access technical assistance including upcoming assistance calls, and contact information for questions specific to these funding opportunities.

Boyte on Higher Ed’s role in “Regrowing Democracy”

In his June 15, 2015 op-ed “Regrowing Democracy–The Role of Higher Education,” Harry Boyte calls on higher education to reassert itself as a space for fostering “skills of a democratic way of life” and for tying “work with public purposes” not just with job preparation. He suggests that higher education’s “democracy mission has eroded as an “Ivory Tower” culture has taken hold.”

Yet he also indicates that “stirrings of a movement to renew higher education’s democracy purpose are appearing, tied to educating for work for the common good, colleges that are part of the life of communities, and a revitalized vision of democracy as a way of life.” He offers as an example the work of Chancellor Nancy Cantor of Rutgers University-Newark (N.J.). She calls for colleges and “universities to be citizens of a place, not on the side lines studying it.” Her opening plenary at our recent 2015 ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting” underscored this call and provided a lens and jumping-off point for participating colleges and universities to explore their own contributions to “regrowing democracy.”



Partner Spotlight: New Data & Report from CIRCLE


Does the Age of a Presidential Candidate Matter to Young Voters?

As more contenders enter the next presidential race, CIRCLE continues looking ahead to 2016 and exploring the role that youth will play in that election. With candidates ranging in age from 43 (Marco Rubio) to 73 (Bernie Sanders) already among the declared aspirants, we explored an oft-asked question: do young people prefer to vote for younger candidates?

The answer is, largely, no. In 2008, less than 20% of young voters (ages 18-29) said that age was an important factor, and very few reported that it was “the single most important factor” in deciding their vote: only 6% of young Democrats and 4% of Republicans. While youth have voted for the younger of the presidential candidates in a majority of recent elections, those younger candidates have also generally been Democrats, which means the age of candidates is tied to other factors.

Read more.

America’s Civic Renewal Movement: Implications for Youth Engagement

Last month, Tisch College—the home of CIRCLE—released “America’s Civic Renewal Movement: The View from Organizational Leaders,” a report by former CIRCLE Director Peter Levine and Eric Liu, founder and CEO of Citizen University. The report is the product of interviews with 20 leaders from large, national civic engagement organizations who discussed the state of the field and broader strategies for civic renewal.

While the interviews did not focus on youth, its findings are highly relevant to youth engagement. Young people are developing their civic identities when there is not yet a robust network for civic renewal, and several interviewees lamented the lack of youth in formal settings, such as facilitating conversations.

Read more.

Civic Engagement & Democracy News from our Friends at the DDC

DDCSelected News from the Deliberative Democracy Consortium

  • Can a group of people write a graphic novel about civic infrastructure? We’ll find out at the Frontiers of Democracy conference
  • Public Agenda celebrates their 40th anniversary and opens the Yankelovich Center for Public Judgment –
  • New issue of the Journal of Public Deliberation – has articles on online deliberation, institutional design, inclusion, recruitment, voting, culture, divided societies, and more, by authors like John Gastil, Alan Tomkins, Carolina Johnson, and Jennifer Stromer-Galley, and reviews of books by Josh Lerner, Chris Karpowitz and Tali Mendelberg, Paula Cossart, and Jose Marichal
  • Rich Harwood champions the role of libraries in engagement, as “uniquely trusted local institutions” –
  • Boiling down public engagement to four basic types –
  • How can “social deliberative skills” be encouraged and supported online? New research from Tom Murray and colleagues
  • Personal Democracy Forum is now accepting applications for its Civic Hall Fellowship Program –
  • New National Issues Forums guide on health care costs –
  • Using keypad polling as part of community planning in Laconia, NH – @OrtonFoundation
  • The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas is seeking a new director –
  • Latest issue of the National Civic Review focuses on the connection between engagement and educational opportunities
  • The new Promising Practice Database is a feature of membership in the National Civic League – @allamericacity
  • How schools in Pittsfield, NH have implemented a more democratic, student-centered approach to leaning –
  • MetroQuest releases a free guide to effective online engagement –
  • Luca Belgiorno-Nettis reflects on whether the great democratic documents of the past have meaning for us today –
  • What do we mean, exactly, by “participation?” Take the survey at to help clarify
  • The Rockefeller Brothers Fund revises its guidelines for its Democratic Practice Program – @RockBrosFund
  • Online engagement platforms mainly involve the privileged? Probably. Here’s why this matters – and why it doesn’t –
  • Should all institutions be democratic? No, says Peter Levine
  • The National Issues Forums Institute releases three new discussion guides on water issues –
  • “The biggest crisis in the world is that we are at a low point in how we all participate in shaping our communities”
  • IAP2 USA seeks nominations for 2015 Core Values Awards, for project, research project, and organization of the year –
  • Rita Allen Foundation announces $515,000 in grants to build civic engagement through technology and media –
  • The session schedule is filling in for the Frontiers of Democracy conference, June 25-27. See the list so far at
  • Everyday Democracy on how to create spaces for all voices, in Baltimore and elsewhere –
  • “‘When people have meaningful, productive roles in making public decisions and solving public problems, we get smarter, more equitable, more broadly supported public policies,’ says Leighninger”
  • Peter Levine has been named associate dean of Tisch College; Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg will succeed him as CIRCLE director
  • Peter Levine & Eric Liu find that no civic renewal organization “ has managed to be large, deep, diverse, and focused”
  • Martin Carcasson and Leah Sprain introduce “deliberative inquiry,” a theory designed to aid the work of practitioners – “ Deliberative inquiry moves from a linear event-focused model where deliberation produces refined public opinion and decision outcomes to using deliberative principles to guide a cyclical learning process.”
  • The Democracy Fund releases its first annual report –
  • The National Conference on Citizenship will be held October 9 in DC –
  • Laura Black, Tim Shaffer, and Nancy Thomas take stock of the field of public deliberation for JPD – “Traditionally, journals haven’t played a central role in social change. But for JPD, we have the potential to do more than a traditional ‘academic’ journal. This is not to be interpreted as a diminishment of rigorous scholarship; instead, we see it as a commitment to making scholarship meaningful to people and communities.”
  • Submit lab ideas now for the World Forum for Democracy 2015. Theme: “Freedom vs control: For a democratic response”
  • “The future of journalism and the future of civic engagement are closely intertwined.”
  • Combining thick and thin engagement in budgeting through a new tool, Balancing Act – @BalancingActEP

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