Letter from the Executive Director
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As we approached our 30th anniversary in 2012, CityClub’s board and staff asked: What are the most effective ways we can continue to engage citizens and promote our community’s civic health over the next – our fourth - decade?
We turned to our founders’ vision and goals for inspiration. We affirmed that the values that motivated them to start CityClub – direct access to leaders, civil discourse and debate, an informed citizenry, an inclusive invitation to engage in public life – are still our core values and still urgent today.
We analyzed our recent experience growing CityClub’s programs from what is still at the center — topical public forums and timely election debates — to an expanded portfolio that includes research and publications, the Washington State Jefferson Awards, television and web broadcasts, and a new online community-generated voters guide. With this expanded portfolio, we’ve grown our impact and reach from 4,000 participants five years ago to 47,000 participants today.
We also turned to data to plot a path for our future. In 2010 we published the first Greater Seattle Civic Health Index, comparing our community’s civic vitality to national standards. We learned that by almost every measure – volunteering, philanthropy, belonging to groups, political action – we are one of the most civically engaged communities in America. But we also learned that Seattle’s civic health is at risk because we’re failing to provide our children with the knowledge, experience, values and skills they need to be responsible citizens. In the 1960s, American high school students took courses in government, democracy and civics. Today civics has all but vanished from the curriculum in favor of a single course offered in American government and its history.
Given the core values of our founders and data on the critical importance and decline of civic learning, we committed to investing in youth civic education as a new initiative. We’re proud of our service over the past 30 years, and we’re excited about working even harder to boost greater Seattle’s civic health over the next decade. I invite you to join CityClub! Your investment will truly make a difference in the quality of our civic vitality.
An engaged community matters.