One of the recurrent themes in the Good Work Project has been the virtual demise of trustees: individuals within a profession who are well known, widely respected, and seen as being disinterested and nonpartisan. Veteran professionals mentioned trustees (like Edward R. Murrow in journalism, or Edward Levi in the law), while younger professionals lamented the loss of mentoring and, more generally, of admired senior members of the profession. This finding stimulated a set of studies of trust and trustworthiness.
The Trust & Trustworthiness Project focused on how young people think of issues of trust and trustworthiness in a media-drenched world, and how their trust conceptions compare with earlier times or earlier generations. We set out to investigate the role of trust when young people consider their goals, carry out their schoolwork, participate in different communities, and eventually take on new roles and responsibilities—particularly civic ones—in the broader society. With support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, between 2006-2010, we conducted qualitative interviews and focus groups with young people, including a subset of civically engaged youth. Findings from this project informed the Civic Trust Among Young Immigrants study, launched in 2011.