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This generous gift will expand and strengthen CIRCLE's ability to respond to the ever-changing state of American democracy.


For Immediate Release: October 19, 2021

The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation has made a $1.5 million gift to endow the directorship of the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), the leading research center on youth civic education and engagement at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.

This endowment is the most recent gift from Elyse Newhouse, J82, and her husband Michael Newhouse, A82, who have long been generous supporters of Tisch College and Tufts University. The gift will advance CIRCLE’s mission to understand and eradicate the barriers that keep some young people from participating in civic life. It will ensure that CIRCLE, a consequential anchor institution in the fields of civic education and engagement, will continue to have extraordinary impact on diverse young people's ability to have a voice in our democracy.

“Tisch College’s impact on our shared democracy extends far beyond campus, and nothing exemplifies that better than CIRCLE’s research. Their work improving civic education, knocking down barriers to voting, and ensuring underrepresented young people are heard by more in our political space is of paramount importance,” said Elyse Newhouse. “Michael and I are proud to support that work at a time in our country when it is needed most.”

A Tufts trustee, Elyse Newhouse has had a distinguished history of service to the University, including as a member of the Boards of Advisors of the School of Arts and Sciences, Tisch Library, and—currently—Tisch College. More than 20 years ago, she and her husband created the Newhouse Scholarship to offer financial support to low-income students from New York City. In 2018, Elyse and Michael Newhouse endowed the Newhouse Professor of Civic Studies, creating a shared professorship between Tisch College and the Department of Political Science that would advance teaching and research about civic and political engagement. The current Newhouse Professor of Civic Studies, Brian Schaffner, is a widely recognized national expert on political parties and elections.

Dr. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg

“I am humbled and honored by this endowment gift, which recognizes and elevates the importance of supporting young people’s voice and participation in democracy,” said Dr. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, who will now hold the title of Newhouse Director of CIRCLE. “Our team at CIRCLE is committed to using the Newhouse Foundation’s generous endowment gift to expand our reach, deepen our impact, and amplify our contributions to the essential task of integrating young people into a diverse and inclusive democracy.”

CIRCLE is nationally recognized as one of the preeminent research institutions on youth voting and civic education in the United States. Its far-reaching scholarship includes cutting-edge nonpartisan studies of electoral participation, K-12 civic learning, young people’s use of media, youth activism, and other aspects of youth engagement in democracy. To ensure that research leads to action, CIRCLE partners closely with local and national institutions and practitioners whose work is informed by the latest data, insights, and expertise. In all its work, CIRCLE is concerned with understanding, addressing, and eliminating the systemic barriers that keep some young people underrepresented in civic life.

“I am exceedingly grateful to the Newhouses for this gift. At the heart of CIRCLE and Tisch College’s work is a central tenet: that our democracy is incomplete until every young person has the ability and the opportunities to help co-create our communities, our institutions, and our nation,” said Dayna Cunningham, Dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, which houses CIRCLE. “This gift will help us continue to advance our understanding of what kind of country we can aspire to be and what it’s going to take to get us there.”