YCOE, Partners Awarded Grant to Expand Youth Civic Engagement in Yolo County New Funding from the James B. McClatchy Foundation Will Support the ‘Yolo County Youth Civic Initiative’

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Yolo County Office of Education (YCOE) has been awarded a $100,000 competitive grant from the James B. McClatchy Foundation to build awareness and understanding of civic engagement among youth in Yolo County.

In partnership with the Yolo County Youth Civic Initiative (YCYCI), the grant funding will enhance student civic engagement and media literacy to help youth support their communities and strengthen our democracy.

“In Yolo County, we continue to prioritize the importance of civic participation from youth,” said Superintendent Garth Lewis. “We are grateful to the James B. McClatchy Foundation for their continued support which allows us to connect local youth to the civic process in our schools.”

YCYCI will utilize the new cycle of funding to create and build curriculum modules for 12th grade government courses in Yolo County, to be focused on interacting with local government and developing media literacy.

Once completed, YCYCI intends to use the classroom curriculum to connect students to two existing programs: the annual Youth Empowerment Summit (YES!) and the California State Seal of Civic Engagement. The State Seal of Civic Engagement is a new statewide program which allows schools to enhance and incentivize students’ civic engagement.

“Our goal with the curriculum is to help students move beyond the walls of their schools and allow them to see local government as a beneficial organization they can directly affect,” said Stacey Greer, director of the History Project at UC Davis. “By training teachers to provide authentic engagement in the classroom, we intend to transform civic engagement at the local level.”

“When schools implement the YCYCI curriculum, students will be able to take their newly acquired skills and knowledge of civic engagement and apply them to a real-world setting by interacting with their locally elected officials during the YES! summit and other community efforts,” said Yolo County Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters, Jesse Salinas. “We need to continue to teach and inspire our future leaders to promote positive change in our community.”

Community partners will hold the 2022 Youth Empowerment Summit (YES!) on April 30 from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the UC Davis ARC Ballroom. The event is open to youth to high school students and registration is open now at yolosaysyes.com.

This year, YCOE is one of 25 statewide grantees to receive funding from the James B. McClatchy Foundation.

In all, the foundation issued $1.5 million in new grant funding to nurture pipelines for homegrown journalists and civic leaders. In a press release, the foundation calls it “one of the largest one-time investments of its kind for local journalism and democracy.”

In 2020, YCOE was awarded funding from the foundation to establish a teacher community of practice with government teachers in Yolo County, which was facilitated by the History Project at UC Davis.

Launched in 2017, YCYCI is a collaborative effort from various partners including YCOE, Yolo County Office of Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Elections, Baylor University’s School of Education, and the History Project at UC Davis.

The James B. McClatchy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit philanthropic organization founded in 1994 by Susan and the late James B. McClatchy to address needs in the Central Valley for English Learner students and in protecting the First Amendment.

Additional information about the YCYCI is available on the Yolo County Office of Education website at www.ycoe.org.


 Yolo County Youth Civic Initiative webpage

Press Release: $1.5M in Grant Awards across the Central Valley of California dedicated to local journalism and civic engagement

James B. McClatchy Foundation

Supporting Partners for the Yolo County Youth Civic Initiative

Youth Empowerment Summit: https://yolosaysyes.com

  • Saturday, April 30, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., location: UC Davis ARC Ballroom
  • This year’s guest speakers include Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair, Angel Barajas, State Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry.