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Ideas for the Common Good: Dickinson's Civic Innovation Competition


During the pandemic, Dickinsonians, local residents develop ideas to help local students thrive

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is upending the ways K-12 children in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, learn and connect with teachers, mentors and friends. That's particularly challenging for already vulnerable students, including those without adult supervision at home. The good news: There's still time to enter your ideas to help local students have a successful school year.

The Civic Innovation Competition: K-12 Youth Support, presented by Dickinson's Center for Civic Learning & Action in partnership with the Carlisle Action Network (CAN), leverages the creativity in the Dickinson and greater-Carlisle communities for the common good. Dickinson students, faculty, staff and alumni—and residents of the greater Carlisle area—are invited to submit their best solutions to help foster school-age student learning and support during an unprecedented school year. 

The competition will roll out in three phases:

  • Round one (underway): Call for proposals. Proposals are due by end of day (11:59 p.m.) Aug. 24.
  • Round two (Sept. 1): Semifinalists announced. A remote workshop for semifinalists will be held Sept. 5-6 to help team members refine their ideas.
  • Round three (TBA): Grand prize winner and runners-up announced and implement plans developed.

After the winners are announced, the grand prize winner and select runners-up will meet with Dickinson staff to develop an implementation plan. And then the winners will be able to see their ideas in action!

The winning team will be awarded $2,000 in seed money to fund its project; additional prizes may be available to runners-up. The entries will be judged for feasibility, expected outcomes, alignment with community needs, creativity and effective communication. 

Teams of two to seven members are welcome to apply. The majority of team members must be Dickinsonians (students, faculty, staff or alumni) and/or residents of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Youth teams (in which all team members are 18 years of age and younger) and adult teams (a team with one or more members 18 years of age or older) will be judged separately.

For more information and questions to get the ball rolling, view the contest web page, the official call for proposals and the concept paper guidelines, or contact Gary Kirk, CCLA director, at


Published August 19, 2020