The mission of The Rendell Center is to promote civic education and engagement. To do this, we provide tools and opportunities for Students and Educators.

Our History

The Rendell Center’s history began with PennCORD. PennCORD, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Representative Democracy, was formed in 2004 as a unique union of educational, advocacy and governmental organizations committed to improving civic learning for students in grades K-12. Created in response to the Civic Mission of Schools Report, PennCORD set out to reinvigorate civic engagement among Pennsylvania youth. PennCORD’s goal was for every Pennsylvania school to prepare its students to understand and participate in their communities, society and government. Building a solid foundation of civic learning for every student is the first critical step toward achieving this goal. PennCORD defined active civic learning as the integration of three learning spheres: civic knowledge, public action, and democratic deliberation.

  • Civic knowledge: an understanding of United States government and history with a focus on the rights and responsibilities guaranteed to each citizen in the Constitution.
  • Public action: the actions taken by each citizen in one’s home, school, neighborhood, city, state, nation and global community.
  • Democratic deliberation: the ability to consider, analyze and discuss issues with others.

Founding partners in the coalition included the Office of the Governor of Pennsylvania, under the leadership of First Lady Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, the National Constitution Center, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

To continue the civics education activities of PennCORD, the former Governor of Pennsylvania, Edward G. Rendell, and the former First Lady, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, initially established “The Rendell Center for Citizenship and Civics” in 2013 as a program at Arcadia University in collaboration with the National Constitution Center (the “Rendell Center at Arcadia”). Subsequently, Governor Edward G. Rendell and Judge Marjorie O. Rendell determined it would be best to establish The Rendell Center for Citizenship and Civics as a separate, stand-alone nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, and thus incorporated The Rendell Center on September 9, 2014 for such purpose.

In February of 2015, The Rendell Center moved to its new home at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. “This is an alliance of two strong partners with the same mission—improving the quality of civics education in the nation,” said APPC Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson. “The civics programming that Judge Rendell and the Rendell Center have created for the younger grades is a perfect complement to the work that APPC’s Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics has developed for high schoolers.”

“We at Penn are honored and delighted to partner with the Rendell Center,” said University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann. “The Center’s goal of buttressing a robust civics education for young people aligns beautifully with the ideals of Penn’s founder Benjamin Franklin, and mirrors the University’s own long-standing commitment to civic engagement. I commend Judge Rendell and Governor Rendell, both stalwart friends of the University, for this praiseworthy work.” 

The Work We Do

The Rendell Center offers opportunities for educators, students, and the broader community to develop the knowledge, practices, and dispositions of engaged citizenship. For educators, The Rendell Center creates curriculum content, pedagogical tools, and professional development experiences. For students, The Rendell Center develops literacy based programs and experiential learning exercises.

Board

Hon. Marjorie Rendell, President

Jennifer Almquist Engelbrecht, Esq

 Larry Brown, Esq

Donna Cooper

Tod J. MacKenzie

 Jeffrey Marrazzo

Hon. Theodore McKee

Hon. Edward Rendell, Vice President

Alison Perelman

 P. Sue Perrotty, Treasurer

 Jesse Rendell, Esq

 John White

 Gerald Zahorchak

Hon. Marjorie Rendell, President

 Hon. Edward Rendell, Vice President

P. Sue Perrotty, Treasurer

Jennifer Almquist Engelbrecht, Esq

 Larry Brown, Esq

Donna Cooper

 Tod J. MacKenzie

Jeffrey Marrazzo

Hon. Theodore McKee

Alison Perelman

Jesse Rendell, Esq

John White

Gerald Zahorchak

Staff

 

Beth Specker, Executive Director

Anne Spector, Curriculum Director

Dr. Bruce Murphy, Summer Institute Director