The Our American Voice® Institute

The Our American Voice® Institute was established by the Barat Education Foundation (BEF) to house its three component programs: OAV Schools and Communities, Citizen U®, and Civic Life Collaborations.

BEF was created in 2000 when Barat College was merged with DePaul University. BEF builds upon the values and rich traditions of Barat College.

Since 2001, BEF has invested more than $2.5 million in scholarships and innovative educational programs promoting civic leadership and action, building communities, and advancing social justice through collaborations and partnerships that empower teachers and students in underserved communities.

The Office of Innovative Professional Learning (OIPL) in the College of Education at DePaul University will collaborate on the Institute. OIPL has been a key collaborator of BEF since 2017 playing a significant role in the development and implementation of Citizen U® initiatives.

OIPL is a leader in the professional development field and DePaul’s College of Education has an enviable record of success in teacher preparation having graduated tens of thousands of civic-minded teachers.

The Our American Voice® Institute is made possible by the support of so many—to all who support our work, thank you.

Our Supporters Include...

Joan Luder Coffey Endowment
Alice B. Drake Family
DeKalb County Community Foundation
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Albert Pick, Jr. Fund
South Berwyn School District 100


Nancy Castle
Edward C. and Mary Coffey
Lisa Crego
Ed and Kris Kazemek
Douglas, Marie and FloraBelle Liu
Kathleen Gillespie and Deborah Shore
Charles Smith and Patricia Turner
Sheila Smith and Edwin Crego
Denise M. Stauder
Catherine Smith Wilson and Robert Bicknell

...and many others who have generously supported Our American Voice®.

Barat Education Foundation
Board of Directors

Sheila A. Smith, CEO/Chair
Kathleen Gillespie, Vice Chair
MIchael Dimengo, Treasurer
Sarah Highstone, Secretary
Maureen E. Ryan, Member