The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) is dedicated to strengthening civic life in America. We pursue our mission through a nationwide network of partners involved in a cutting-edge civic health initiative, our cross-sector conferences and engagement with a broad spectrum of individuals and organizations interested in utilizing civic engagement principles and practices to enhance their work. Connecting people for the purpose of strengthening civic life is our goal. At the core of our joint efforts is the belief that every person has the ability to help their community and country thrive.
Established in 1946, NCoC was chartered by Congress in 1953 to harness the patriotic energy and civic involvement surrounding World War II. Since 1953, the mission has been recognized by Congress as unique and in the public interest. In 2016, there were approximately 1.8 million nonprofits in America. Of that number, fewer than 100 are chartered by Congress.
In 2009, Congress named NCoC in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, once again memorializing its important role. This legislation codified and expanded the Civic Health Initiative (CHI) in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service resulting in the nation’s largest and most definitive measure of civic engagement. Click here to download our Congressional Charter.
NCoC has been an important incubator for programs such as the Civic Data Challenge, The Civic 50 and the Service Year Alliance. Each program has used data and 21st century tools to create collective impact efforts across the country.
Under the leadership of a committed board of directors who have ensured the financial viability of the organization, NCoC has hosted conferences since 1946 bringing together leaders in the civic engagement field to share experiences and challenge participants to be increasingly engaged.
Civic Health Index (CHI) is at the center of our work. We think of “civic health” as the way that communities are organized to define and address public problems. Communities with strong indicators of civic health have higher employment rates, stronger schools, better physical health, and more responsive governments. For the past 10 years NCoC, together with the Corporation for National and Community Service and state and community level collaborative networks across the nation, has documented the state of civic life in America in city, state and national Civic Health Index (CHI) reports.
CHI partnerships have changed the way governments go about their work, reintroduced civics to our classrooms, redirected investments, influenced national and local conversations resulting in enhancing civic life, and bolstered a network of civic leaders across the country. By 2020, our goal is to integrate this pioneering initiative into ongoing partnerships in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The Annual Conference on Citizenship is NCoC’s signature event. Held in proximity to Citizenship Day (also known as Constitution Day), NCoC convenes leaders in the field of civic engagement along with other individuals and organizations interested in utilizing civic engagement principles and practices to enhance their work. Connecting people for the purpose of strengthening civic life is the goal.
The 2017 Annual Conference took an honest look at a number of challenges facing our communities today—from a dearth of civic learning, to the raging opiate epidemic, to the persistent opportunity gap confronting our nation’s youth in marginalized communities. Collectively, conference participants considered what it will take to repair the civic fabric of our communities, begin closing the opportunity gap, and focus on civic learning to support both. Going forward, work will focus on tangible ways philanthropy and other leaders can support and invest in civic learning and civic health as mechanisms to influence equity and opportunity outcomes.
In addition to the Annual Conference, NCoC partners with institutions to host and convene programs, events, webinars, and discussions throughout the year.