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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Orton’s Community Field Guide Makes Holiday Reading List

If you are looking for something to read during your holiday down time or gift ideas, we encourage you to check out the great community and economic planning reading list that our partners with CommunityMatters shared on their blog. We especially encourage you to learn more about the Orton Family Foundation’s wonderful Community Heart & Soul Field Guide, a resource on the list that is designed to help those of us doing community & civic engagement work. You can read the list below of find the original post here.

CM_logo-200pxThe Center for Rural Entrepreneurship shared its list of top reads of 2014. Included on the list is the Community Heart & Soul™ Field Guide recommended by Erik Pages, a CRE fellow and president and founder of EntreWorks Consulting, an economic development and policy development firm who said: “This is an excellent guide to strategic planning and community building for small towns.”

Thank you Erik! Lots of great reads to add to our holiday wish lists!

Here are the center’s Top 12 Recommended Reads of 2014:

Recommended by Erik Pages, EntreWorks Consulting and Center Fellow: The Tyranny of Experts by William Easterly. While the book is mainly about international development issues, it’s a useful caution that economic development is about individual choice and empowerment – not the latest scheme from so-called “experts.”

Recommended by Don Macke: Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. This book provides both a framework for exploring the innovation process and wonderful stories of innovation. Check out Johnson’s program on Public Broadcasting.

Recommended to Deb Markley by Angela Lust, Amarillo Area Foundation: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. This book is a true story of innovation under the most challenging circumstances. Inspiring!

Recommended by Erik Pages, EntreWorks Consulting and Center Fellow: Community Heart & Soul Field Guide by the Orton Family Foundation. This is an excellent guide to strategic planning and community building for (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Report: How should we tackle our field’s biggest barriers to success?

NCDD has completed a report on the October 2014 engagement project focused on addressing barriers in our field. This project was launched on the second day of the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, where during a plenary session our 415 attendees launched discussions about four barriers to the dialogue and deliberation community’s success:

  1. IMG_8016How might we overcome the lack of trust in our Democracy, our leaders, and in one another?
  2. How might we make our D&D work more equitable, inclusive and empowering?
  3. How might we more clearly delineate our field of practice for ourselves and those we seek to serve?
  4. How might we eliminate structural barriers in our democratic systems?

The results of this engagement project give us valuable insight into the ideas and actions that resonate most with the dialogue and deliberation community.  This data can help NCDD and others devise clearer paths forward in our attempts to overcome our field’s greatest challenges.

Download the report here


From the CommunityFrom the Community

Apply for Grants from the Taylor Willingham Fund by Dec. 31

NIF-logoFor the third year now, our partners with the National Issues Forums Institute are accepting applications for grants from the Taylor L. Willingham Legacy Fund. The $500-$1,000 grants are intended to honor the legacy of Taylor Willingham and her contributions to the field of deliberative democracy by supporting projects in the field, and we highly encourage NCDD members to apply for a grant or to donate to the fund.

You can download a PDF of the application form by clicking here, and you can learn more about Taylor and make a donation to her legacy fund by clicking here. Applications are due on December 31st, 2014 so make sure you apply before getting swept up in the holiday season!

Learn more by visiting NIFI’s announcement about the newest round of applications at www.nifi.org/en/groups/apply-taylor-willingham-fund-grant.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

IF Offers Discussion Guide on Climate Change

The next round of UN climate talks began this week in Lima, Peru, and as global leaders debate how to avert the worst effects of climate change, our communities also need to be having conversations about this pressing topic. We learned from our members at the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation that D&D practitioners want more resources that will help them have real and productive conversations on this difficult topic.

Lucky for us, the Interactivity Foundation (or IF) – one of the wonderful sponsors of our conference – recently created a resource for exactly that. Based on three years of online discussions with international input on climate change and the lessons learned from their signature Project Discussions on the subject, IF produced a report on the discussions called “Human Impact on Climate Change: Opportunities & Challenges.” The report serves as a discussion guide designed to use non-ideological language that helps participants to separate potential policy directions from partisan agendas and arguments over science, and to explore possibilities for how they or their communities might respond.

The easy-to-use, 40-page guide frames the possibilities that discussion participants can consider in two categories. The first, “Setting the Stage”, focuses on immediately impact awareness and action, and the second, “Meeting the Continuing Climate Challenge”, is focused on the more complicated, long-term approaches needed to impact infrastructure and natural systems.

Here is how the report has framed six different possibilities for participants to discuss: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Healing, Transformation, & Change from Ferguson

As negativity continues to swirl around Ferguson, MO and the country at large in the aftermath of the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson last week, the time is ripe for real and challenging dialogue about how we can transform this energy into something positive. Everyday Democracy program officer Janee Woods wrote a powerful piece for Guernica Magazine in which she says that both punitive justice and restorative justice models are inadequate for healing the deep wounds that racism has caused our country, and advocates instead for rehabilitative justice, saying that “[w]e need to rehabilitate ourselves and our relationships with each other, across differences of perspectives and background, before we can successfully change the way inequitable systems and institutions work.”

We were particularly impressed and inspired by the list of suggestions that Janee offers for those of us grappling with how to move our work and conversations toward the rehabilitation of people and relationships that we need now. We’ve excerpted those suggestions below, but we encourage you to read her piece in its entirety by clicking here.

Janee Woods: A Different Kind of Justice

…We may feel powerless standing in the shadow of institutions, politics and the long history that got us here but that does not mean that we are, in fact, powerless. We know there is power in public protest that demands large scale change but not all of us are ready to engage with the system in that way. Try to develop your power by engaging truthfully with yourself and with neighbors in your community on a smaller scale. The inaugural step toward rehabilitating our humanity is honest communication with those who are near us. In many ways, this might be the hardest step because we must first create spaces where we can come together as individuals with disparate life experiences, diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, and varying levels of understanding about the legacy and impact of American racism. And once we come together, we must share a commitment to follow through in learning together and moving to action together. There are many ways you can create the space and structure that allow for this kind of communication and commitment.

Bring people together for conversations that transform conflict into meaningful relationships. Use conversations to (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

DC City Council Brings Citizens into Bill Amendment Process

We saw an interesting post recently from our friends at the Davenport Institute – an NCDD organizational member – about a new program for public input on city council bills in DC. We encourage you to read more below or find the original post here on their Gov 2.0 Watch blog.

DavenportInst-logoWashington, DC has launched an online program where citizens of the city can propose amendments and opinions on certain aspects of a bill before the city council. The idea of this program is to allow more transparency and use technology to enhance voter participation. Although this is in its beginning stages, the idea is to bring the workings of the city government to the people directly so they can have a voice in the shaping of bills:

Washington, DC has launched a program where citizens of the city can propose amendments and opinions on certain aspects of a bill before the city council. The idea of this program is to allow more transparency and use technology to enhance voter participation. Although this is in its beginning stages, the idea is to bring the workings of the city government to the people directly so they can have a voice in the shaping of bills.

You can read more here.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Conflict Resolution Job Opening with the EPA

Be sure to check out the email below about a great job opportunity with the EPA that our director Sandy Heierbacher sent out this weekend over our “Making a Living in D&D” listserv. For more updates on openings in the field, make sure to subscribe to the listserv today!

Hi, everybody! The Environmental Protection Agency will soon be announcing an opening for a GS9/11 Conflict Resolution Specialist position located in the Office of General Counsel, Alternative Dispute Resolution Law Office/Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center (CPRC).

The position will be posted during the week of December 1st for 5 days only. General information on CPRC can be found at www.epa.gov/adr.

The duties of the position will be:

  • Provides Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) advice and counseling to EPA clients, applying ADR and conflict prevention theories to controversies involving EPA’s environmental programs to effectively prevent and manage disputes.
  • Develops, implements and conducts environmental ADR-related training to build EPA employees’ knowledge and skills.
  • Assists in providing support for neutral services in disputes involving EPA and regulated entities or disputes involving private parties related to Agency actions to prevent or resolve disputes.
  • Participates in outreach activities on the agency’s environmental ADR activities to promote the use of conflict prevention and ADR processes.

If you’re interested, you’ll need to look for the announcement on USAJOBS.GOV with the keywords “conflict resolution specialist.” Try on December 1st, and then the next day if it’s not posted yet. For any questions about the position, you’ll need to ask the Human Resources Management Division point of contact listed in the announcement.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Input Needed on Draft U.S. Public Participation Playbook

The White House’s Open Gov Initiative announced on Tuesday that it is opening up a draft “Public Participation Playbook” for edits, additions and comments.

A team across the government is now working side-by-side with civil society organizations to deliver the first U.S. Public Participation Playbook, dedicated to providing best practices for how agencies can better design public participation programs, and suggested performance metrics for evaluating their effectiveness.

I encourage NCDD and IAP2 members to add their input to the draft Playbook asap, as submissions must be made before December 17th. I’ve been assured that this is very much a draft document — not something that is being simply displayed for comment after decisions have been made.

The Playbook has been posted to Madison, an open source tool created by the OpenGov Foundation to help people collaboratively craft legislation. The OpenGov Foundation’s director, Seamus Kraft, is a supporting member of NCDD.

To participate, go to:


“The playbook is not limited to digital participation, and is designed to address needs from the full spectrum of public participation programs,” wrote Corinna Zarek, senior adviser for open government for the U.S. chief technology officer, and Justin Herman, the SocialGov lead for the General Services Administration who is also managing the U.S. Public Participation Playbook project.

Yet the current draft is certainly heavy on examples and language relevant to digital tools, platforms, and strategies for public participation. It clearly needs some TLC from the face-to-face public participation experts who are involved in NCDD and IAP2 — as well as further input from those of you who focus on online engagement.

What is a playbook, you ask? Check out the Digital Services Playbook for an example. Playbooks are compilations of best practices (or “plays”) that government agencies can borrow from and help guide their efforts. In this playbook, extra emphasis is given to performance metrics for public participation. The playbook “reflects the best ideas and examples for agencies to use in developing and implementing their programs with public participation in mind.”

A formal version of the initial playbook is expected to be released for piloting by agencies by January 2015.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Resources for Dialogue After the Ferguson Decision

With yesterday’s announcement of a grand jury’s decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the need for dialogue in our communities about race, police, deadly use of force, and our criminal justice system is high. In moments like these, it is hard to know where to even begin with these kinds of conversations, so we want to offer some resources to help those of our NCDD community who may be working to facilitate conversations about the issues swirling around Ferguson.

NCDD’s Director, Sandy Heierbacher, put together a great list of NCDD resources as well as a few more from our network earlier this summer, so we encourage you to look back at her post for that list, which you can find at www.ncdd.org/15953. We especially recommend that you check out the Race Issues tag in NCDD’s Resource Center of nearly 3,000 resources for D&D.

We also recommend a couple of great blog posts on the subject from our partners at Everyday Democracy:

And for those looking for reflections on how to navigate difficult conversations about the surrounding racial issues with white folks, Janee Woods Weber wrote a powerful piece with some advice called “Becoming a White Ally to Black People in the Aftermath of the Michael Brown Murder” that can be a good place to start.

We wish all of you having these challenging conversations the best of luck, and hope you will remember to take some of the reflections and lessons from them with you to the upcoming meetings between NCDD members and the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service next year. They will certainly help us find ways to try to keep moving forward together.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Help Everyday Democracy Learn, Win $30

EvDem LogoOur partners with Everyday Democracy, one NCDD’s long-term organizational members, are offering a great opportunity – from now until December 19th, they are seeking input from the engagement community about what kinds of issues we care about and what resources we need. They have created a survey that they will use to help develop future tools and resources for dialogue on community issues – on top of the great resources they already offer – and if you take the survey, you will have a chance to win one of five $30 Amazon gift cards.

We know that many of our NCDD members use Everyday Democracy’s tools and resources, so we strongly encourage you to take their quick 10-minute survey by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/s/2NQTPXZ. You can also find it on Everyday Democracy’s website by clicking here.

The survey closes on December 19th, so we recommend you fill it out now before the holiday rush starts. Soon after the survey ends, EvDem will be sharing the high-level lessons and reflections they take from the survey back out into the community, which promises to be a helpful learning tool in itself, so keep an eye out for that down the line.

We hope you’ll fill out the survey soon! You’ll be helping your D&D community, and you could be getting a little extra money for holiday shopping, too!