About Civic Collaboration

The Civic Collaboration summer is an opportunity for a small group of scholars to engage in a deep dive into a city. Scholars explore the city’s identity, grapple with its challenges, and enjoy its strengths. Their job is to learn as much as possible about an emerging dilemma that the city is facing, shed new light on possible solutions, and contribute to the work being done.

Along the way, scholars will begin to understand the complex connections between a city’s economic, cultural, governmental, educational, political, and historical systems—and how leaders create change through them.

Hosting Scholars

We look for host organizations that are at the epicenter of change in their cities. Hosts’ expertise will be the linchpin in scholars’ success.

We expect scholars to give as much as they receive. We ask scholars to:

  • Research a relevant issue of the hosts’ choosing. An ideal project is focused enough to give scholars direction, but open-ended enough to allow teams to follow discoveries wherever they may lead.
  • Shed light on issues facing a city from the perspective of bright, talented undergraduates.
  • Provide a detailed report and find other ways to contribute to the issue and community.

And we ask host organizations to:

  • Propose an emerging dilemma, question, or theme for scholars to investigate.
  • Provide guidance and mentorship rather than constant supervision. Unlike a traditional internship, we expect the scholars to manage their own schedules and work plan. They’ll need input, regular check-ins, and collaboration.
  • Endorse the scholars with a title from the organization, such as “Research Intern,” so that they have the cachet to contact and connect with people in the community.
  • Share information and resources and sometimes make introductions, but allow scholars to research and create their own opportunities. 
  • Include the scholars in the activities of the organization when appropriate.


Morehead-Cain funds the Civic Collaboration summer, including a living stipend, which means there is no financial obligation from hosts. 

Interested in hosting?

Host and Scholar Team Spotlights

Liz Kistin Keller ’04 of Albuquerque’s Office of the Mayor on increasing access to digital services in local government

How Chattanooga is building a model for smart cities, with Geoff Milliner of the Chattanooga Enterprise Center, and Morehead-Cain’s Montez Thomas

Driving strategic philanthropy in Pikes Peak, Colorado

Improving partnerships between the City of Centennial and water providers 

Bridging art, health, community in Bentonville, Arkansas

Fostering health accessibility in Grand Rapids, Michigan