Understanding Gen Z Views on Civic Engagement and Collaboration

Walton Family Foundation

Human Intelligence

The Walton Family Foundation is a philanthropic charity founded by Walmart founders, Sam and Helen Walton, that awards grants to organizations across the United States for projects and initiatives that promote social, economic, environmental and educational growth and prosperity. 

To understand the voice of the next generation, the Walton Family Foundation created its Gen Z Identity Lab which works to capture the attitudes and opinions of Gen Z—directly from the source— through commissioned reports. Edelman DXI set out to enrich this existing research library and better understand how to collaborate with and across specific groups.  



The Walton Family Foundation practices proactive philanthropy, using generational wisdom to improve k-12 education, advance environmental advocacy and fund initiatives that support the foundation's home region. Although often underrepresented in civic dialogue, Gen Z will soon be part of the country's largest voting bloc alongside Millennials. With a keen awareness of the value of Gen Z’s rhetoric established through previous quantitative research, the Walton Family Foundation commissioned our team to create a qualitative study that brought its numbers to life. Our team realized this by creating “Gen Z Views on Civic Engagement and Collaboration.”


Inspired by the foundation's Gen Z Identity Lab, we put a unique spin on the white paper format by creating a video report that uses research submissions to present hard-hitting data points alongside the human face of Gen Z. The result allowed our team to develop a shared understanding of how Gen Z "keeps it civil" by listening directly to their voices. The foundation showcased the long form of the video on its Gen Z microsite and YouTube channel.

To reach a broader audience, we developed a series of shorter video clips, including quantitative data points from previous research and video clips and quotes from the bulletin board participants, which were then shared on the foundation's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. This social coverage broadened engagement as owned channels continued to share content in the months following the initial launch of the results.


Highlighting the Walton Family Foundation's previous Gen Z research—alongside our new qualitative research—helped to reinforce the validity of the original findings. Fast Company featured the results in an article, “Gen Z thinks America is Broken”, on Gen Z's low optimism surrounding the future of America, highlighting top insights from the research and participant quotes. Additionally, the research was featured in the U.S. political website, The Hill in their "Gen Z: Writing Their Own Rules" event, sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation.

Our video series showcases insightful quantitative research, some of which we’ve highlighted below, which was previously commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation. Utilizing our qualitative bulletin board as a dedicated space, the foundation can continue amplifying Gen Z voices within an evolving discourse.

Visit the site to learn more about the initiative.