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GenerationNation, which focuses on helping students become informed and engaged leaders, won the top prize in the youth category for its work in North Carolina.

5 groups honored with civic collaboration prizes

Nonprofits crowdsourcing civic engagement, introducing students to local politics and hosting coffeeshop listening sessions were among the five winners on Wednesday of the third annual American Civic Collaboration Awards, known as the Civvys.

The awards, established by the Bridge Alliance and Big Tent Nation two years ago, honor civic collaboration efforts that strengthen communities and empower citizens while bridging ideological divisions, partisan politics, narrow parochial interests and other gridlock-producing barriers.

This year's winners represent an eclectic brew of civic-minded groups chosen from a crowded field of deserving candidates, according to award organizers.

"The 2019 award cycle saw the highest number of nominees, making for a competitive selection process — and demonstrating the growing breadth and depth of civic efforts happening across the nation," according to organizers. "Every day, organizations and industries are coming to realize that it is collaboration, not competition, that will allow us to move America forward, combine our strengths to do more and do better, and overcome partisanship and gridlock."

  • Ioby, the country's only civic crowdfunding platform, earned the national prize for its work in bringing neighbors together to plan and fund projects in their communities.
  • The local winner was RISE Colorado, an Aurora-based nonprofit that educates, engages and empowers parents from low-income families, families of color, and refugee and immigrant communities to better support their children's academic success.
  • GenerationNation earned the top honor in the youth category for its work in introducing students in North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district to local civic engagement.
  • KingMakers of Oakland, an initiative to address chronic school absenteeism within the black community of Oakland, and Make Shift Coffee House, a project in Maine that facilitates civil conversations in a coffee-house setting, each won a committee choice award.

David Meyers/The Fulcrum

Brandon Whitney of ioby accepts the national winner award. Ioby is the country's only civic crowdfunding platform.

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The House on Friday passed legislation to restore a provision of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013. The bill would require advance approval of voting changes in states with a history of discrimination. Here President Lyndon Johnson shares one of the pens he used to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Passage of historic voting rights law takes a partisan turn

In a partisan vote on an issue that once was bipartisan, House Democrats pushed through legislation Friday that would restore a key portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act passed the House 228-187, with all Democrats voting for the bill and all but one Republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, voting against it.

The bill faces virtually no chance of being considered in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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Big Picture

TV stations fight FCC over political ad disclosure

Broadcasters are pushing back against the Federal Communications Commission after the agency made clear it wants broader public disclosure regarding TV political ads.

With the 2020 election less than a year away and political TV ads running more frequently, the FCC issued a lengthy order to clear up any ambiguities licensees of TV stations had regarding their responsibility to record information about ad content and sponsorship. In response, a dozen broadcasting stations sent a petition to the agency, asking it to consider a more narrow interpretation of the law.

This dispute over disclosure rules for TV ads comes at a time when digital ads are subject to little regulation. Efforts to apply the same rules for TV, radio and print advertising across the internet have been stymied by Congress's partisanship and the Federal Election Commission being effectively out of commission.

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1952 Eisenhower Answers America

On TV, political ads are regulated – but online, anything goes

Lightman is a professor of digital media and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University.

With the 2020 election less than a year away, Facebook is under fire from presidential candidates, lawmakers, civil rights groups and even its own employees to provide more transparency on political ads and potentially stop running them altogether.

Meanwhile, Twitter has announced that it will not allow any political ads on its platform.

Modern-day online ads use sophisticated tools to promote political agendas with a high degree of specificity.

I have closely studied how information propagates through social channels and its impact on political messaging and advertising.

Looking back at the history of mass media and political ads in the national narrative, I think it's important to focus on how TV advertising, which is monitored by the Federal Communications Commission, differs fundamentally with the world of social media.

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