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The History of ICL

In 2001, Kirk Spahn created the Institute for Civic Leadership, a non profit organization dedicated to helping high-achieving youth meet their academic and professional goals while developing character and leadership skills. 


Through a combination of global youth conferences, leadership speaker series, meaningful mentorship, and award-winning service and leadership courses, ICL transformed the lives and futures of over 5,000 young people, and exponentially more through student service projects — from building schools to anti-gang education and healthcare initiatives.


ICL’s mission garnered support and affiliation from top global leaders and icons, including President Bill Clinton and Michael Bloomberg, performance psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr, tennis champions Monica Seles, Tommy Haas and Novak Djokavic, Malcolm Gladwell, Neil deGrass Tyson, and Grammy winners Alicia Keys, Wyclef Jean, and David Foster.


Building on this success, ICL aimed to create equity in the US school system. In conjunction with The Alcoa Foundation, Citibank, and Verizon, ICL developed IMPACT LEARNING: an award-winning leadership and character curriculum that was implemented in schools across the country.


ICL invested over $10 million to build a better world through student empowerment.  ICL students went on to the Ivy League and the Olympics, starred on Broadway and in hit TV shows and movies, signed major record deals, became doctors, CEOs, politicians, and received 6 Congressional Medals of Service.  ICL has been honored with United Nations Service Leadership awards, the Dale Earnhardt Award for community leadership, and in 2015 opened the Nasdaq Stock Exchange in Times Square.

"Tangible results are key.  Our students excel not just by getting into the colleges of their dreams, but by being active and engaged citizens."

Kirk Spahn, ICL Founder

Our Mission

Our Mission

The ICL mission is to inspire, educate and impact students to dare to dream. Our students work passionately towards their academic and professional goals while developing intellect and character. They positively impact local and global communities with a multiplier effect through their outreach.  

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Our Vision

We believe that leadership is about innovation and action.  Inspiration and education fuel passionate responses within every student. We support these students to become catalysts for change in their communities.

The Institute for Civic Leadership has funded 1000+ student initiatives, dreams, and service projects on 6 continents in over 40 countries.

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