Civic Culture

Civic Culture

Defining and promoting healthy civic culture.

An initiative dedicated to developing a publication for practitioners in a wide range of settings who want to create a healthier civic culture. The publication will define what we mean by civic culture, why it matters to American constitutional democracy, and how it can be fostered in different contexts across America.

America has long recognized the importance of civic culture to the health of the nation’s democracy, yet fewer efforts have focused on reforming civic culture or society compared to the major institutions of government. Moreover, many efforts have focused on boosting the supply of civic organizations or experiences rather than the qualities of civic culture or those experiences.

Many champions of the civic culture recommendations in Our Common Purpose are working with the Academy to make progress on defining and elevating civic culture as a key component of renewing our commitment to constitutional democracy. Together, we seek to increase recognition for the value of civic culture in fostering powerful, responsible citizenship.

The Academy, the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program, and Citizen University are convening a working group to develop definitions and assessments that will help communities across America strengthen civic culture. 


  • Eric Liu, CEO, Citizen University; co-chair, Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship


  • Kristen Cambell, Chief Executive Officer, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) 

  • Sybil Francis, President & CEO, Center for the Future of Arizona 

  • David French, Opinion columnist, The New York Times 

  • Sam Gill, President and CEO, The Doris Duke Foundation 

  • Ted Johnson, Senior Advisor, Executive Office, New America 

  • Ben Klutsey, Director of Academic Outreach, Director of the Program on Pluralism and Civil Exchange, Mercatus Center 

  • Mathieu Lefevre, Co-founder and CEO, More in Common 

  • Peter Levine, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Jonathan Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University 

  • Patty Loew, Professor, Medill School of Journalism and former Director, Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, Northwestern University

  • Eunice Lin Nichols, Co-CEO, CoGenerate 

  • Suzanne Nossel, CEO, PEN America 

  • Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith America 

  • John Spann, Program and Outreach Officer, Mississippi Humanities Council 

  • Shanta Thake, Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts 

  • Natalie Tran, Executive Director, CAA Foundation 

  • Jose Antonio Vargas, Founder and President, Define American 

To learn more about this initiative, please contact Abhishek Raman.