— Louis Brandeis
We need a vision for the future. But vision and civic commitment is not merely the province of government or nonprofits. There must be new alliances between business, labor and government if we are to achieve our vision. CAP’s curriculum explains how we can get there.
— Justin Kang, City Awake & The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

Training the Next Generation of Innovators, Activists, and Policy Makers

The Civic Action Project is exactly the type of guided immersion into public policy that our students need as they develop careers in public service… From the thoughtful exchanges that [CAP] has facilitated with practitioners, to the placements in local government and non-profit agencies, the Fellows are getting an education unlike any other. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the Civic Action Project.
— Katherine S. Newman -Interim Chancellor, UMass Boston

Our belieFS

“In a world in which “civic engagement” is often reduced to partisan posturing and gridlock, extremist and non-compromising rhetoric, and in which civics education has largely gone the way of the Model T, new tools must be designed to teach leaders and citizens alike the mechanisms that make a representative democracy work. Real civic engagement must not be merely in the purview of government and organized advocacy groups alone.  It must also include a new generation of leaders from business, labor, academia, community organizations and the media.  This new generation must learn the practical skills needed to access and influence the intersection between policy and politics, business and government, civic engagement versus antipathy. ” — CAP FOUNDERS


By providing paid, graduate level internships, corporate boot camps and career mentoring, the Civic Action Project (“CAP”) proposes that next generation leaders must learn effective strategies to advance a civic agenda, including the complicated, intertwined roles of grassroots activists, grass-top lobbyists, the media, government, nonprofits, corporate/labor and academic leaders.


What we Provide


Our Programs

Whether you care about the environment or for that matter healthcare policy, housing, transportation or war and peace, you can’t help if you’re not prepared.
CAP teaches the skills that can move the dial.
— Elizabeth Henry, President, ELM

Summer Internships for ‘CAP Fellows’

CAP’s initial pilot program will offer summer internships for the first class of 10 CAP Fellows, for a period of 10 weeks. Fellows will be selected from the Public Policy Graduate Programs from three participating UMass Campuses – (Amherst, Boston, and Lowell) through a rigorous application process that will be managed by the respective graduate schools of public policy and management.

CAP Fellows will be paid stipends of $5,000/each for the summer session. CAP Fellows will be placed, according to their interests, in internships in government, non-profits, socially responsible companies, labor unions and the media. Fellows will spend four days a week at their internship and one day per week at the UMass Club, located at 1 Beacon St., Boston, where they will meet for roundtable discussions with prominent leaders and practitioners involved with public policy and civic engagement.

Each CAP Fellow will be assigned a mentor/advisor during the summer session. Fellows will also choose a single topic that they will work on in groups (such as gun control, electoral reform or transit/oriented housing), presenting their analysis and implementation strategy as a capstone exercise at the end of the summer or semester.

Coming Soon: Corporate Boot Camps and Learning Intensives

After the successful roll-out of the Pilot Program, CAP will offer intensive “boot camps”, for mid and senior level corporate, labor, non-profit, and academic leaders.

Boot camps will last 2-3 days, and offer concentrated skill based, sessions with experts from government, politics, non-profits, business, labor, academia and the media.

The sessions will focus on strategies for developing campaigns to advance public policy and increase civic engagement and collaboration between business, government, and non-profit sectors.

CAP boot camps can be designed for one company or organization alone to promote cross-company networking; or with a mix of Corporate Fellows from various organizations encouraging collaboration, idea-exchange and coalition building.

SEmester long Fellowships for Graduate students

CAP will also provide similar semester-long internships to graduate level students during the regular school year, offered for academic credit, but without a stipend.

The semester program will require notations by students of highlights from the weekly roundtable discussions with practitioners and submission or one term Capstone- like exercise presented to their entire cohort at the close of the term.

Now more than ever we need to encourage and train the next generation in civic engagement. It’s not an academic exercise. To be effective requires real world experience and savvy. There can be no better teachers than the leaders of CAP.
— US Senator Ed Markey


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