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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Yolo County Office of Education accepts James B. McClatchy Foundation Grant

The $100,000 grant will go toward civic engagement in Yolo County schools


By SOFIA BIREN — city@theaggie.org


On April 28, Yolo County announced that its Office of Education had accepted a $100,000 grant from the James B. McClatchy Foundation to build civic engagement among its students. This grant was received in conjunction with the Yolo County Youth Civic Initiative (YCYCI), which helps foster student engagement in the local community. 

The James B. McClatchy Foundation was founded in 1994 by Susan and James B. McClatchy to help support English learner students and foster the First Amendment in the Central Valley. However, it eventually grew to include an expansion of this First Amendment ambition to support local journalism and civic engagement, especially in underserved communities. It was originally called the Central Valley Foundation, but after the passing of James B. McClatchy, the name was changed in 2019. 

The Yolo County Office of Education will use the money toward youth engagement initiatives within the county. In a press release, the county said that the “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.” 

The vision of the YCYCI aligns directly with the vision of the James B. McClatchy Foundation to foster civic engagement in communities. The Yolo County Office of Education was one of 25 recipients of the grant and serves public schools within the county. According to their website, the YCYCI since its inception in 2017 aimed to “increase civic engagement by building teacher and student awareness and understanding, connecting youth involvement in the civic process with the end result of creating, promoting, and enhancing school and community improvement of efforts.” 

In 2020, the YCYCI was awarded a LIFT Grant, partly funded by the James B. McClatchy Foundation to raise awareness about the First Amendment. Additionally, the YCYCI is working with the History Project at UC Davis to help teachers engage with their students. 

In a press release, Garth Lewis, the Yolo County superintendent of schools, said that Yolo County will always value civic education. 

“In Yolo County, we continue to prioritize the importance of civic participation from youth,” Lewis said. “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.”

In 2005, James B. McClatchy said, “As time goes by, I hope this organization will continue to fight to protect the dreams and hopes of ordinary people.” The YCYCI has done that since its inception in 2017 with the help of funds provided from the James B. McClatchy Foundation. Yolo County students, with the help of the generosity of the foundation, have attended the Youth Empowerment Summit, have been acknowledged by the Latino Policy Bootcamp and have also engaged with the community regarding voting. 

Grants are essential to many school districts beyond Yolo County. Lucy Soriano, an LAUSD teacher, said that projects and initiatives like these keep students engaged. 

“Grants are really appreciated by teachers because it allows teachers to expand the classroom in a more engaging way,” Soriano said. “Grants like these are especially helpful for the student because it gives them the resources they need to develop important skills they wouldn’t have developed otherwise.” 

Written by: Sofia Biren — city@theaggie.org



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