The Civvys

Meet the Winners

We honored awardees in a ceremony at the National Conference on Citizenship in Washington, DC in October 2017.

And the 2017 Civvy Award goes to:


Youth Winner: Student PIRGs

The Student Public Interest Research Groups from several college campuses were nominated for their work supporting voter education, voter registration and creating safe spaces for dialogue between students with diverse perspectives. Student PIRGs promote learning and understanding about a host of current issues, while providing a forum for students to become politically active and effective. As one elected official put it, “the work PIRGs do is vitally important in a democracy and serves as such a great role model as a set of engaged citizens so necessary to building effective public policy.”

Regional Winner: New Hampshire Listens

New Hampshire Listens is thewinner in the regional category for their work facilitating civil conversation in the state of New Hampshire on controversial public challenges. They also train others to facilitate such productive dialogues. Bruce Mallory and Michele Holt-Shannon have developed programs to elevate the state’s problem-solving capabilities, modeling a respectful and inclusive approach that many hope will be replicated nationwide. As the person who nominated them put it, “People feel relieved and respected when Bruce and Michele enter the room.”



National Winner: Collaboration between SLLF, NICD, and NFWL.

The partnership between the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, the National Institute for Civil Discourse and the National Foundation for Women Legislators has resulted in a new leadership program designed to deliver insight, inspiration and techniques to legislative leaders working to improve public policy discussion in their states. With NICD’s expertise in training community leaders and legislatures, SLLF’s success in providing state legislators with nonpartisan information and a forum for discussion, and NFWL’s work in empowering leaders, this partnership aims to replace gridlock with progress and criticism with compassion. In the words of their nominator, “since many of our federal leaders begIn their political service in state legislatures, success in this program will eventually improve our federal government.”

Thank you to all those who submitted nominations and helped take part in recognizing organizations doing great collaborative work

Here is to another year of innovation and collaboration!


Congratulations To All the Nominees

The 2017 Civvys received over 50 inspiring nominations from across America, of organizations and people working actively to fight partisan rancor and ideological division. Nominations highlighted youth-led initiatives, community efforts, and professional initiatives from every corner of the country, all working to unite and improve America.

Nominees and finalists have been notified.

The Finalists


Honorable Mentions

  • Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact- 92nd Street Y
  • Tim Cook- Apple Inc. 
  • Emily Schoephoerster- Westbrook-Walnut Grove
  • Beth Lewis- Save Our Schools Arizona
  • Sheila Sydnor- The Penn Alexander School
  • Lewena Bayer- Civility Experts Worldwide 
  • Erin McIlraith- WSU Center for Civic Engagement
  • Senator Diane Allen- NJ State Senate
  • Betsy Newmark- Raleigh Charter High School
  • Common Good
  • William Jackson and Quinton McGirt- The Justice Project
  • Jeff Girvan, Delegate Richard Anderson- Virginia House of Delegates
  • Junior State of America
  • Hunter Buxton- First Vote NC
  • Maria Hadden- Participatory Budgeting Project
  • Cindy Elias, Jan Phillips, Kathy Leighton- Green Dot Lewiston Auburn
  • No Labels
  • Jeff Clements- American Promise
  • Representative Helene Keeley- Delaware State Legislature
  • Curtis Miller- Connect Battle Ground
  • Amy Koch, Brian McDaniel, Javier Morillo, Carin Mrotz- Wrong about Everything Podcast
  • Dr. Clyde Rivers

Be sure to follow Big Tent Nation and Bridge Alliance on social media, where we will share more details about the winners and their work, as well as updates from the awards ceremony.

While nominations for this year have closed, please check back next year for ways to get involved with the Civvys!

Review Committee

Thanks to our esteemed reviewers for the inaugural Civvys - we couldn’t have done it without you.


Peter Levine

Peter Levine is the Associate Dean for Research and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs in Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch College of Civic Life. He has secondary appointments in the Tufts Philosophy Department, the Tufts Political Science Department, and the Tufts Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. He was the founding deputy director (2001-6) and then the second director (2006-15) of Tisch College’s CIRCLE, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which he continues to oversee as an associate dean.


Betsy Hawkins

Betsy Wright Hawkins is the Director of the Governance Program at the Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Focusing on principled leadership and effective governance, Betsy leads the Democracy Fund’s mission to invest in approaches that help our elected leaders deliberate, negotiate, and serve the American people. 


David Sawyer

David Sawyer is Partner of Converge, a team of strategists and designers who partner with others to tackle complex social and environmental problems. He is also President of Context, a consulting firm with practice areas in strategy, leadership, and culture.

Sawyer is a strategy guy for a better world, specializing in networks, design, and systems thinking. He is active across all sectors and has played key roles in a variety of fields: education reform, national service, social entrepreneurship, women & girls, venture philanthropy, and environmental preservation.

We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.
— Bill Richardson