Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Lincoln Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs, 1954
The Lincoln Filene Center was established at Tufts University in 1954, when the Civic Education Foundation, founded in 1945, was relocated to Tufts and renamed the the Tufts College Center for Civic Education. The mission of the Lincoln Filene Center is to increase the will and capacity of individuals and organizations to build healthy communities through active citizenship and public service. This is accomplished primparily through education, training, and research in the nonprofit and voluntary sectors and through the promotion of public service as both a vehicle and an arena for lifelong learning. The Lincoln Filene Center is an independent institution affiliated with Tufts University.
The origin of the Lincoln Filene Center dates to 1945 when its predecessor, the Civic Education Foundation was founded with a mission to "support civic education programs designed to further the values of a free society for which American men and women had died during World War II."The work of the Foundation focused on "developing innovative and appealing isntructional resources in civic education and the social studies," and worked closely with Boston-area schools. In 1954, the foundation relocated to Tufts University in Medford and was renamed the Tufts College Center for Civic Educaion. In 1955, the Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation endowed the Lincoln Filene Professorship in Citizen ship and Public Affairs at Tufts. Six years later the Center was given its current name.
The period from 1959 to 1968 was arguably the most publicly visible in the LIncoln Filene Center's history. Each year it hosted the annual Massachusetts Assemblies on State Government, where leaders in state politics, business, labor, agriculture, education, and students would meet for several days to discuss matters of puclic policy. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the Lincoln Filene Center continued to organize conferences on citizenship and sponsor research on citizen participation in democracy, but it also provided training on community service learning for teachers, parents, and staff of nonprofit organizations. During the 1990s the Center worked to foster greater collaboration between public schoolsand community-based organizations that provide after-school activities and job training skills. Each summer the center offers a Management and Community Development Institute for staff and executives of nonprofit organizations to build skills including fundraising, microenterprise development, housing development, management, coalition-building and volunteer recruitment. The center also sponsors occasional papers and research by Tufts faculty, students, and alumni writing on citizenship, democracy, community economic development, and social policy.
The organizational structure of the center was revamped in 1998, and is comprised of five programmatically linked components: the National Institute for School-Community Collaboration (NISCC), Management and Community Development Institute (MCDI), National Focus on Citizenship and Democracy (NFCD), University College of Public Service (UCPS), and Communications and Infrastructure. the NFCD will provide opportunities for students, faculty, and community-based nonprofits to learn about and take action on public policy issues. The UCPS is working to integrate public service concepts into the curricula of every school and department at Tufts.
The Lincoln Filene Center is located in a building of the same name, constructed in 1963 adjacent to Braker Hall on the Medford campus.