As we reflect on our organization’s remarkable 25-year journey and the profound impact it has had on countless young leaders, we’re deeply grateful. The Mikva Challenge Annual Report isn’t simply a list of accomplishments; it’s a testament to the transformative power of youth-driven democracy that lies at the heart of our mission.

Access the annual report here

From the outset, we’ve been driven by the belief that the best way to learn about democracy is by actively participating in it. Through programs like Elections in Action and Mikva Summer Fellows, we’ve seen firsthand the incredible impact on young people. These initiatives provide hands-on experiences in campaigns, interactions with candidates and elected officials, and valuable insights into local government.

As Mikva Challenge’s CEO, Vernée Green, shares in the annual report, “At Mikva Challenge, we know that young people can – and do – powerfully live out our “Democracy is a Verb!” motto every day. We know that the 300,000 young people that Mikva served last year left their Mikva experience with an increased sense of their own civic agency, a better understanding of how systems of government work, an increased level of responsibility to make their community stronger, and perhaps most importantly, an increased aptitude and readiness for conversations across difference.”

A prime example of this commitment is our Citywide Youth Council. By collaborating with city leaders to convene and support a council of youth leaders, we empower them to tackle key issues in our school districts and city government. Through these partnerships, we conduct research, make recommendations, and advocate for policies that directly impact our communities.

The ripple effect of the Citywide Youth Council is unmistakable. As young leaders gain essential skills in research, problem-solving, communication, and advocacy, they actively participate in local policy-making, shaping the future of our cities. Simultaneously, our adult partners learn to authentically incorporate youth voices into decision-making processes, resulting in policies that better serve our youth and create fairer, more equitable systems across our cities.

Our impact continues to grow. As you explore this annual report, you’ll see how our work has contributed to the significant increase in youth civic engagement. With 90% of eligible Mikva alumni voting in the last presidential election, compared to just 50% of their peers nationally, it’s clear that our programs not only inspire but also translate into tangible action at the polls.

Beyond elections, Mikva alumni are deeply involved in community service, with 77% volunteering—a rate more than double that of their peers. What’s truly inspiring is the emergence of Mikva alumni as leaders in various fields, from elected officials and public servants in local government to community advocates and organizers. These young leaders aren’t just the future; they are actively shaping the present, amplifying youth voices, and driving positive change in society.

As we present our latest annual report, we’re reminded of the incredible progress we’ve made together and the work still ahead of us. In celebrating 25 years of Mikva Challenge, we celebrate not just an organization but a movement—a movement that believes in the power of youth to effect change. Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue our journey of empowerment, advocacy, and community building. Together, we can build a more inclusive and participatory democracy for all. 

Explore the annual report here for more insight into our work and our vision for the future.