As the end of 2017 draws near, all of us at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate feel a renewed sense of purpose, determination, and commitment to be engaged in the civic life of our country. Like all of you, we reflect on the state of our union, and – as Ted Kennedy taught us – we also look ahead with optimism about what we can accomplish together.
At the Kennedy Institute, we are inspired to see the enthusiastic engagement of visitors who walk into our replica of the United States Senate Chamber to debate and vote on the issue of the day. We feel hopeful as we watch young people negotiate and reach common ground to pass legislation in our simulated Senate program. And we are awed when visitors feel so inspired by their experience that they pledge to be more involved in their communities – by volunteering, by voting, or by running for office. None of those things would be possible without your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Without question, there is a hunger for increased civic engagement. Americans want to have their voices heard. We were pleased to find in the second annual Kennedy Institute poll that 51% of Americans had turned that desire into action by participating in some type of grassroots effort in 2017. There are also reports of increased participation by voters in local, state, and federal elections across the country. But there is much more to do. And we need your help to do it.
The mission of the Kennedy Institute has never been more vital than it is right now. Our government of the people, by the people, and for the people can only function as our founders intended if we have engaged and informed citizens. And the Kennedy Institute needs your help and support so it can continue to inspire new generations to experience and participate in democracy.
As 2017 comes to a close, please join me in making a year-end gift to the Kennedy Institute so that we can continue to encourage and inspire the next generation of citizens and leaders that our great nation needs and deserves.
Thank you for your help and support. I wish you a happy and healthy 2018.
Jean F. MacCormack
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate