Civic Canopy works with civic-minded individuals, families, and organizations to facilitate and strengthen engagement opportunities to improve the civic health of communities.
The Civic Canopy in partnership with the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization (CLLARO), Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and the Colorado Civic Health Network have released the Colorado Latino Civic Health Index.
Colorado Latino Civic Health Index (Spanish)
What is Civic Health?
Civic health is a community’s capacity to work together to resolve collective problems. It is defined by the degree to which people trust each other, help their neighbors, and interact with their government. Indicators include, but are not limited to:
- Attending public meetings
- Contacting public officials
- Giving to charity
- Staying informed on community issues
- Interacting with neighbors
- Leading time and resources to solve community issues
Strong civic health leads to robust, resilient communities, better government and a more inclusive democracy, improved community outcomes such as health and education, and a greater ability to weather economic crisis. Simply put, when people are civically engaged, they are healthier, and their communities are stronger.
In the fall of 2014, the first-ever Colorado Civic Health Index was released in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, Metropolitan State University of Denver, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, Campus Compact of the Mountain West, History Colorado, the Institute on the Common Good, and The Civic Canopy.
- Colorado ranked among the top states when it came to political actions such as voter turnout (6th), always voting in local elections (16th), and contact public officials (17th).
- Coloradans are also leaders in informal civic participation like holding membership in a group (9th) and talking about politics with friends and family (8th).
- However, when some indicators are considered across locations of residence, income levels, ethnic/racial backgrounds, and level of educational attainment, varying levels of civic participation in the state becomes clear. For examples, voter turnout is 22% higher for residents with a bachelor’s degree compared to those with a high school diploma, and only 3% of African Americans in Denver attended a public meeting compared to 11% of all Coloradans.
Since the report’s release, Colorado has convened three Civic Health Network convening’s and launched a statewide, cross-sector network to drive action.
The Colorado Civic Health Network
The Civic Canopy provides network stewardship, coordination, and communication for the Colorado Civic Health Network, a diverse network of state and local agencies, non-profits, businesses, and beyond who are working together to create strong communities.
Vision: All Coloradans are actively engaged in building strong communities.
Mission: The Colorado Civic Health Network partners with a diverse community of individuals, families, and organizations to collectively strengthen community for all.
Purpose: The Colorado Civic Health Network provides space and conditions for diverse partners across the state – individuals, business, government, and non-profit – to come together to network, identify goals, share best practices, implement strategies, and monitor progress towards improving civic health in the state.
- Civically minded and engaged individuals
- Cross-sector collaborations
- Leadership development
- Inclusive democracy, responsive government, and a more just society
- Civility in public dialogue and increased deliberation about issues that matter to Colorado communities
- Cultural responsiveness (e.g. class awareness, racial/ethnic differences, rural perspectives, etc.) that includes equity, trust, and respect
- Empowering traditionally under-represented communities (newcomers, non-traditional leaders, youth, family, etc.)
- Diverse approaches to addressing improved civic engagement in the state
- Inspiring educational and networking events
- Collaboration, learning, and engagement opportunities
- Sharing best practices and general exchange of information
- Innovative, collective strategies for strengthening civic health across the state
- Shared goals and measure of success
The Network is focused on:
- P-20 Civic Learning and Engagement
- Increasing Volunteerism
- Colorado Latino Health Index
- Community Conversations – Libraries as Civic Conveners
- Leadership Development
- Authentic Community Engagement
The Civic Canopy is honored to take on the work of preserving the Center for Education in Law and Democracy’s (CELD) legacy of supporting civic education in Colorado, and connecting this legacy with a broader coalition of civic partners working together to strengthen civic health across Colorado.
CELD Advisory Committee Recommendations FINAL. We spent the spring and summer working with a dedicated and knowledgeable advisory committee to inform and shape the thinking about how best to preserve and expand the extraordinary work of CELD.
Public Policy: Project Citizen – students learn how to analyze problems, monitor policy alternatives, and develop portfolios to demonstrate their understanding of the policy making process.
Constitutional Studies: We the People – students demonstrate their understanding of constitutional principles in a simulated congressional hearing involving community members.
Jackie Johnson, state director, We the People, Project Citizen, and iCivics, will continue to play an integral role in this work. You can contact Jackie at [email protected] or 303-908-8482.
Click here to view the CELD website, which features valuable resources for teachers and others working on civic education.
The Civic Health Network Mapping: