An initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

National Civics Bee

The National Civics Bee is an annual competition that encourages young Americans to engage in civics and contribute to their communities. 

Participating middle school students will flex their civics knowledge for a chance to win recognition and cash prizes. 

The National Civics Bee takes place in early 2023, in partnership with local and state chambers of commerce across the United States.

National Civics Bee Partners 

Is My Chamber Eligible to Participate?

Application for the National Civics Bee Pilot Program is closed. We are currently taking applications for the full National Civics Bee to take place in Fall 2022. Eligible chambers should have an existing capability to market to local school districts to attract participants. They should also have capabilities to partner with local media organizations for marketing of the competition. Staffing capacity to execute the pilot program over 6 months is also a requirement.

Why should my chamber get involved?

Participating in the Civics Bee Pilot Program can help elevate the mission of your local chamber of commerce. First, it can enable you to deepen relationships with local officials. Also, it will strengthen local democracy by engaging the next generation of citizens and the business community to value the connection between civics and workforce development, improving their community. Finally, this provides an opportunity to deepen the relationship between the chamber and local businesses to work together more frequently in the future.

What is the process for applying?

Local chambers interested in participating in the pilot should contact the Chamber Foundation civics team to assess potential partnership. Once we have identified an opportunity for preferred partnership, we will formalize participation with an agreement letter that outlines expectations and support stipulations.

If chosen, what would our responsibilities be?
  • Each chamber partner will attract 100 initial middle school essay participants and work with Chamber Foundation and an educational content provider to create the initial phase.

  • Partners will host a quiz-style competition with the 10 best essayists.

  • Chamber partners will engage local media to advertise and cover the competition throughout the process.

  • Chambers will work with the Chamber Foundation to build a civics certificate, in the form of an electronic “badge”, in which at least 600 middle school students will participate.

  • Establish marketing partnerships with media organizations at the local and level to bolster the brand of the civics bee.

  • Begin to develop pathways to scale the pilot program from 6 cities and 600 students to 50 cities and 5,000 students in January 2022.

What is the program timeline?
  • September/October 2021 – Local chamber partners finalized

  • December 2021 – Market for and initiate essay competition

  • January 2021 – Initial competition phases launch

  • February 2021 – Launch of civics quiz competition

  • Late March 2021 – Final round of civics bee

What funding is available to support our participation?

The Chamber Foundation is in a unique position to support local chambers through grant-making and
in-kind contributions. We will first assess the needs and capabilities with the pilot partners, but we estimate that, on average, programmatic grants would be at $5,000, with an additional $2,500 available for local marketing. Funding from the Chamber Foundation may also include buy-out time necessary to assess the 100 essays submitted for the competition and other need-based funding on a case-by-case basis.

What materials or resources will we receive to support our participation?

To execute the program well, the Chamber Foundation will also provide a support toolkit for each local chamber to ensure the success of the bee. The toolkit will include essay topics to choose from, a rubric for assessing essay quality, marketing materials, and any additional materials necessary to execute a successful local civics competition. The Chamber Foundation will also provide, as necessary, collaborative support that could include identifying and securing local partnerships with education organizations, media, event venues, and others.

Interested in getting involved in the National Civics Bee?  Contact us.
In addition to funding from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the National Civics Bee is made possible by the generous support of The Daniels Fund.

“The evidence is clear: informed and active citizens make for a strong country, a strong economy, and a strong workforce. Our continued prosperity depends on the strength of all three, and so does the long-term health of America’s economy.”

Carolyn Cawley, President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation