Civics Unplugged (CU)



New York, NY

Tax ID:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $831,015
Expenses: $790,741
Assets: $181,223


Youth Activist Recruitment




Josh Thompson

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Civics Unplugged (CU) is an organization focused on training, funding, and networking young people to get them engaged in impact initiatives and activism in areas such as politics, climate, culture, and technology. It offers fellowship programs followed by membership in an alumni community and individual funding to start up an impact initiative of their choice. 1

CU is funded by several large left-of-center philanthropies including Craig Newmark Foundation, Clif Family Foundation, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. 2


Civics Unplugged (CU) was founded in 2019 3 by Josh Thompson, Thanasi Dilos, and Nick Delis. 4 It is focused on developing high-school students into civic leaders and left-of-center activists through its fellowship programs. Fellowship alumni are then able to get funded for a social change initiative and join a community alumni network to obtain mentorships, job opportunities, or internships. 5  Thompson claims that he views himself as “executive assistant to Generation Z,” serving a subordinate role in the organization and giving the youth who have joined as fellows the power to make decisions. 6

As of October 2023, over 3,600 fellows have graduated from a CU program. CU has invested over $500,000 in grants to these youth. 7

Programs and Campaigns

Civics Unplugged offers fellowship programs to high school students. The Civic Innovation Academy provides fellows with one week in Washington, D.C. to meet with legislators and staff from the departments of State, Treasury, Education, and Transportation to discuss issues facing the country. 8

The Civic Innovators Fellowship and Climate Innovators Fellowship are multi-week programs that provide information as well as opportunities for internships and funding for social impact programs. 9 These fellowships teach democratic theory, government, and civics as well as information on how big systems like health care and education work so that they may be ready to become involved in social impact programs. 10

CU fellows become part of an alumni community that offers internship and job placements, funding, and mentorships opportunities with the goal to build “social impact” companies and initiatives. 11

Commence 2030 is a CU fundraising campaign that began in 2020 with a livestream event that featured recognitions and awards as well as appearances from Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. 12


Civics Unplugged has granted over $500,000 to fellows, alumni, and their projects. 13

Dream DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) is funded by CU. 14 It is a decentralized philanthropic institution leveraging technologies such as blockchain and token-based economics to train others in developing social impact DAOs. 15

Design It For Us coalition was formed in 2022 and funded by CU. It is a youth-led activist coalition focused on advancing legislation on tech policies. It was instrumental in the passage of the California Age Appropriate Design Code (AADC)  16 which requires digital companies to apply censorship and various technologies to support safety and privacy for children in their design. 17

DICCE (diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, and equity) was founded by CU fellow Zoe Jenkins and funded by CU to provide a curriculum and resource guides on “institutional racism and intersectionality” due to “inequities perpetuated by an unjust history.” 18 19

Funding and Partners

Civics Unplugged 2021 revenues were $831,015 and expenses were $790,741. 20 CU supporters include Craig Newmark Foundation, Clif Family Foundation, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. 21

Civics Unplugged partners include scientific research nonprofit National Geographic Society, Schmidt Futures, a science and research based philanthropy founded by Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy, and left-of-center political advocacy group Gen Z for Change. 22

CU is part of the RT Youth Power Fund (RTYPF), along with Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Gen Z for Change, youth-led left-wing Future Coalition, and technology advocacy group Public Knowledge. 23 RTYPF is a philanthropic initiative focused on giving youth the opportunity to build a more trusted technology environment. 24 It is funded by Omidyar Network, Archewell Foundation, New Media Ventures, Oak Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. 25


Josh Thompson is co-founder and CEO. He earned a law degree from Vermont Law and Graduate School. Previously Thompson worked for former Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker (D) in 2010 and also for now-U.S. Senator Booker’s 2020 presidential campaign. 26 In 2017 he announced a Democratic primary challenge to then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and described himself as “unbelievably progressive.” 27 He is co-founder of venture studio Onward Labs, founder of Gotham Labs which focuses on left-wing social impact web3 projects, 28 an advisor for One for Democracy, and is involved in several venture companies. 29

Co-founder Thanasi Dilos is chief growth officer at Civics Unplugged. He is a co-founder of Dream DAO 30 and Gotham Labs, and a core team member of Design It For Us. He is also a National Geographic Explorer funded by National Geographic to address environmental and social issues. 31

Co-founder Nick Delis is chief program officer at Civics Unplugged. Delis earned a law degree from Vermont Law and Graduate School and started his career as an attorney. After 2 ½ years he switched to academics as a charter public school teacher, a vice principal, and an academic director. In 2019 he co-founded Civics Unplugged. 32


  1. Civics Unplugged website. Accessed October 11, 2023.
  2. “Some of our Supporters.” Civics Unplugged – Impact. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  3.  LinkedIn – Civics Unplugged. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  4. LinkedIn – Civics Unplugged – People. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  5. Civics Unplugged website. Accessed October 11, 2023.
  6. Wendy Lesko. “Intergenerational Reciprocity.” Youth Infusion. November 19, 2020. Accessed October 11, 2023.
  7. “The Impact of Civics Unplugged.” Civics Unplugged – Impact. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  8. “Civic Innovation Academy.” Civics Unplugged – Programs. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  9. “Programs.” Civics Unplugged. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  10. Brianna Childers. “CapFed Best News: Two Topeka high school students selected for Civics Unplugged program.” Topeka Capital-Journal. March 27, 2021. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  11. “Community.” Civics Unplugged. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  12. “Civics Unplugged Presents Commence 2030.” National Civic League. May 29, 2020. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  13. “The Impact of Civics Unplugged.” Civics Unplugged – Impact. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  14. “Introducing “The Dream DAO”: Building A Better Future the Web3 Way.” Mirror – Dream DAO. November 1, 2021. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  15. “Dream DAO.” DAO Central. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  16. “About.” Design It For Us. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  17. “We Need to Keep Kids Safe Online: California has the Solution.” California AADC. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  18. Thanasi Dilos, Co-Founder and CGO, Civics Unplugged on stage at Solve at MIT.” YouTube. May 13, 2022. Accessed October 11, 2023.
  19. “Our Story.” DICCE – About Us. Accessed October 11, 2023.
  20. Civics Unplugged. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990 – Part I). 2021.
  21. “Some of our Supporters.” Civics Unplugged – Impact. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  22. “Community.” Civics Unplugged. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  23. “2023 Cohort.” RT Youth Power Fund. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  24. “Who We Are.” RT Youth Power Fund – About. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  25. “Partners.” RT Youth Power Fund – About. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  26. LinkedIn – Josh Thompson. Accessed October 9, 2023.
  27. Dennis Lynch. “Progressive Stuy Towner is charging ‘Onward’ in bid vs. Blaz. amNY. January 19, 2017. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  28. “Join Our Impact Ecosystem.” Gotham Labs. Accessed October 11, 2023.
  29. LinkedIn – Josh Thompson. Accessed October 9, 2023.
  30. LinkedIn – Thanasi Dilos. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  31. “Our Explorers.” National Geographic Society. Accessed October 11, 2023.
  32. LinkedIn – Nick Delis. Accessed October 10, 2023.
  See an error? Let us know!

Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2017

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Dec Form 990 $831,015 $790,741 $181,223 $127,250 N $820,483 $10,500 $32 $349,186
    2020 Dec Form 990 $595,734 $584,277 $161,693 $148,094 N $595,684 $0 $60 $0
    2019 Dec Form 990 $277,963 $328,833 $4,301 $2,159 N $277,900 $0 $131 $83,423 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $234,800 $200,498 $53,862 $850 N $234,791 $0 $9 $93,217 PDF

    Civics Unplugged (CU)

    New York, NY