Why civics? American democracy is in peril. In the wake of polarizing social media platforms, declining resources for local journalism, and 40+ years of atrophied civics curriculum in schools, many Americans lack the civic know-how necessary to take action on the issues they care about. Low levels of civic knowledge paired with high levels of partisanship have led to an America in which many people have given up on the idea of democracy. There are a handful of incredible organizations that are working to promote civic learning, but they focus exclusively on K12 classrooms. When it comes to engaging, effective civic learning for the general public, America has nothing to offer. At Forward Labs, we’re working to fill that gap.
What is a civic learning game? We use what works in the field of educational game design to create playful experiences that help players build civic skills while they learn about and support local causes. For example, last October we ran a Get Out the Vote Scavenger Hunt with the League of Women Voters and this spring we’re running the WI Earth Day Virtual Scavenger Hunt with a coalition of climate action and environmental justice organizations. We’re also working on a WI History and Civics game for this Fourth of July!
Our big goal is to build a civic learning app that can help people anywhere in the country build civic skills while they follow and support local causes (think Duolingo for civic learning!). You can learn more about our app here.
Why should I support this project? We are one of the only initiatives working to address civic literacy for adults in America. Your donation enables us to experiment with new ideas and cover expenses for games that serve volunteer-run, community-based organizations that cannot fund this work internally. Today, foundations are not focused on public education – they only fund civics education in K12 classrooms; until that changes, our work depends on independent donors like you!
We know what we’re doing. Our founder has over ten years of experience in learning games and developed the foundation for this initiative as part of her graduate research at MIT.
Is my donation tax-deductible? Yes! The Civic Learning Games Fund is fiscally sponsored by Arts Wisconsin, a 501(c)3 organization that advocates for the arts, arts education, and creative economy in every corner of Wisconsin.
You have three ways to donate:
1) Check – payable to Arts Wisconsin, Box 1054, Madison, WI 53701-1054. Please include a note indicating the donation is for Forward Labs.
2) Credit card (MC/Visa) – via Mightycause. Please include a note in the “dedication” line indicating the donation is for Forward Labs.