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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Building on the “Hope Spots” in Our Democracy

Our friends at NCDD member organization The Harwood Institute recently shared an article that Rich Harwood wrote on the state of our democracy for the Kettering Foundation‘s “Connections” newsletter that we want to share. It features relevant insights from Rich, prominent D&D leaders, and a few NCDD members on the question of how to scale up the nation’s democratic and collaborative efforts, and we encourage you to check it out.
An article excerpt from the Harwood blog is below, and you can find the rest in the full newsletter here.

Yes, Our Democracy Is a Mess, and Yes, Our Opportunities Are Real

HarwoodLogoAs part of the Kettering Founda­tion’s efforts to take stock of trends affecting citizens and communities, I have recently held 10 in-depth conversations with leading thinkers and practitioners in the areas of democracy and American life.

In these discussions, we talked about the current condition of the country and the forces that are shaping it today. I asked those I interviewed about the positive trends they see among people engaging and working together in communities. I also asked how widespread these positive developments are, what is driving them, and how we can acceler­ate and deepen them. And I explored with these individuals what they believe resulted from the so-called civic renewal movement of the 1990s (the attempt to build new civic capacities and practices among organizations, leaders, networks, and citizens) and the implications of that movement for us today.

When I combine these conversations with what I have seen and heard working in communities over the past few years, it seems (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Everyday Democracy Wins CT Humanities Award

In case you missed it, we wanted to share the press release that Everyday Democracy – a long-time NCDD member organization – published last month about an important grant they’ve received that will help them plan for a statewide civic health project. We encourage you to join us in congratulating them! You can read the release below or find the original here.

Connecticut Humanities Awards Planning to Grant to Everyday Democracy in Support of its Projects “Connecticut’s Civic Health: A Humanities Perspective”

EvDem LogoHartford, Connecticut: Connecticut Humanities awarded Everyday Democracy a planning grant in the amount of $9,999 in support of its humanities project “Connecticut’s Civic Health: A Humanities Perspective.”

The grant will support research and data gathering on Connecticut’s civic health conducted by the National Conference on Citizenship that will help Everyday Democracy frame a strong humanities program that connects this topic to various humanities themes. Part of the grant will also cover the cost of a consultant who will develop lesson plans on Connecticut’s civic health utilizing various humanities themes for civics and social studies teachers to use beginning in the fall of 2016. The grant also supports planning of an event to be held next year featuring Mr. Eric Liu, co-author of Gardens of Democracy, as a speaker and panelist. That event will (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Join Journalist & Community Gathering for Civic Impact

We hope our members will consider attending the Experience Engagement gathering this October 1-4 in Portland. This unique gathering is being supported by NCDD Board member Marla Crockett and NCDD Sustaining Member Peggy Holman, and we encourage you to learn more in the announcement that Peggy recently shared with us below. Take advantage of their freelancer and student rates by registering here!

Experience Engagement

Experience Engagement, How Journalism and Communities Can Thrive Together takes place October 1-4 at the University of Oregon’s facility in Portland, Oregon.

This meeting is unique in both format and intention.

  • Unique in format because it brings together a diversity of people for a peer-based learning exchange, including journalists, community activists, students, educators, researchers, funders, artists, social entrepreneurs, librarians, technologists and urban planners.
  • Unique in intention because we see it as a working session to not only meet personal and organizational needs but to advance the field by producing an interactive field guide – a site that articulates the best of what we learn from each other, for example, principles and practices for engagement and evaluating its impact.

We are looking for a mix that would include (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NIFI Partners with Faith Leaders on Gender Violence, “Deliberative Discipleship” Conference

Last week, the National Issues Forums Institute – one of our NCDD organizational members – announced two exciting collaborations they’re undertaking with NCDD member Gregg Kaufman aimed at engaging more communities of faith in deliberation. The projects are full of potential, and we encourage you to learn more in NIFI’s announcement below or to find the original here.

NIF logoFaith Communities & Civic Life

American faith communities associated with Judaism, Islam, Christianity and different religious traditions care deeply about many of the same issues about which the National Issues Forum Institute (NIFI) publishes deliberative dialogue materials. Religious organizations prepare educational materials about issues such as environmental challenges, criminal justice, race and cultural understanding, the economy, and education. Once more, these communities represent tens of thousands of citizens who convene regularly for worship, learning, and service.

How might NIFI introduce deliberative dialogue as a valuable method for discourse in faith community settings? Here are two current projects.

Gregg Kaufman, an NIFI network member and Lutheran pastor, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) staff, are collaborating on a project dedicated to raising awareness about and making choices regarding (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Bridge Alliance Launches Declaration of Engagement & New Website

We want to encourage our NCDD members to check out the newly-launched website of our partners with the Bridge Alliance – a new organization that “exists to upgrade our democratic republic by serving organizations and citizens who are uniting Americans across the political divides to improve civility and collaboration.” You can find their new web home at www.bridgealliance.us.

NCDD is proud to be one of the Founding Members of the Bridge Alliance, which we’ve been supporting and involved in since its early stages. The Alliance is an exciting effort to bring together and support many groups in and beyond the D&D field that are working to overcome the limitations that the bitter, partisan divides in our political system place on our ability to solve problems for our communities, our nation, and our world.

One of the first steps that the Alliance is taking together is to encourage everyday citizens to sign their Declaration of Engagement, which acknowledges that we all have a part to play in the solution. The pledge is simple, and it reads:

I am part of the solution to political dysfunction. Through my actions I commit to:

  • Engage in respectful dialogue with others, even if we disagree
  • Seek creative problem solving with others
  • Support elected officials and leaders who work together to address and solve our nation’s challenges.

Through the actions of all of us, together, we can achieve a more perfect union.

We encourage our members to sign the Declaration and familiarize yourself with the work that the Bridge Alliance is doing. You can start to get a sense of what the Alliance is about from their website and by checking out the recorded talks from their Transpartisan Conference in Boston.

Either way, keep an eye out for the great work that the Alliance has coming in the future!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Iowa Caucuses Upgrade Participation Technology for 2016

We wanted to repost this interesting post that we first found on the Gov 2.0 Watch blog that NCDD organizational member the Davenport Institute runs. With the announcement that the 2016 Iowa caucuses will integrate mobile technology, it appears party politics may be catching up with some of the D&D field in terms of civic tech. Check out the post below or find the original here.

DavenportInst-logo21st Century Caucuses

The Iowa Caucuses are always of the highlights of any presidential campaign.  There is a sense of deeper, beyond-the-ballot-box engagement that can feel like a healthy dose of old-fashioned democracy.  But this year the caucuses will incorporate technology.  Planners hope to offer an example of how new technology can be incorporated into traditional experiences:

Tallying results from the Iowa presidential caucuses will rely on mobile technology for the first time in 2016. The Democratic and Republican parties and Microsoft jointly announced that apps are being developed for each party that will tabulate precinct results, verify them, and quickly make them publicly available.

“The caucus results will be delivered via this new mobile-enabled, cloud-based platform that will help facilitate these accurate and timely results,” says Dan’l Lewin, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Technology and Civic Engagement.

You can read more and see a demonstration of the technology here.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Register to Attend the National Dialogue Awards, Oct. 9

We encourage our members to consider registering to attend the 2nd annual National Dialogue Awards this October 9 in DC, which are hosted by the Sustained Dialogue Institute and supported by the Kettering Foundation, both of which are NCDD member organizations. You can learn more about the awards in the SDI announcement below or by visiting SDI’s new website at www.sustaineddialogue.org.

2nd Annual National Dialogue Awards

We sincerely hope that you will join us for the Second Annual National Dialogue Awards on Friday, October 9th, 2015 beginning at 6:30 pm at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

We will honor those whose lives have been powerfully marked by the principles and values of Sustained Dialogue. Some recipients are drawn from our network, and some from beyond it, but all have displayed the qualities that our organization values. This year’s keynote awardee is Senator George Mitchell, a renowned diplomat and key architect of several peace agreements in the Middle East and Northern Ireland. Our corporate award will be presented to Evolent Health for its expression of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Additionally, we will recognize three leaders from the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network. These leaders include: (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Recap of Confab Call with “21st Century Democracy” Authors

Earlier this month, we had yet another great NCDD Confab Call, this time with 55 of our members. We had a ver informative presentation from and lively discussion with prominent D&D scholars Matt Leighninger and Tina Nabatchi, all of which was centered on the lessons on public participation infrastructure that they’ve compiled into Confab bubble imagetheir new book, Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy.

If you didn’t participate in this one, you really missed out! The discussion was so lively and the questions were so rich that we couldn’t even fit it all into the 60 minute call. But don’t worry, we recorded the presentation and discussion, which you can see and hear by clicking here.

Want to learn more about Matt & Tina’s work on public participation? You can find some great downloads from their book at http://bit.ly/PP21CDresources.

Looking for more confab inspiration? We encourage you to check out some of our past Confab Calls for more great conversations and ideas.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Position Opening at Convergence Center for Policy Resolution

We recently heard about another job opening that would be an excellent fit for many of our NCDD members, this time from the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. Convergence is seeking a Program Director for their project on federal budget process reform.

The Director position promises to be engaging and, if the project is successful, has the potential to be impactful on a national scale.

Here’s how Convergence describes it:

The Director will be responsible for launching and managing a new project at Convergence focused on reaching a consensus among major stakeholder groups on the principles of a new framework for developing federal budgets.

The Director will develop and execute project strategy; oversee budget, performance measures, and project timeline; cultivate relationships with stakeholders; oversee consultants, project associates, and others; manage “dialogue a leading to action” with high level influencers and policy thinkers in the federal budget arena; facilitate the creation and implementation of solutions; and advance  the project through fundraising.

You can read more about the position and how to apply by visiting www.convergencepolicy.org/wpcontent/uploads/2015/01/Budget-Process-Director-Job-Announcement-July-2015.pdf.

Thanks to NCDD Founding Member Joe Goldman for passing news of the opening along to us! Good luck to all the applicants!


It’s a Great Time to Join NCDD

The NCDD Board of Directors is reaching out to the NCDD community with the following message…

There is so much to talk about in America – gun violence, racism, healthcare, climate change, same sex marriage, voting rights, the shrinking middle class, presidential campaigns. Now more than ever, Americans need to be able to talk and act together to solve our most pressing problems.

NCDD plays a unique and important role in supporting and accelerating the work of practitioners and the public in building democratic capacity. Our strength and ongoing success depends on the active involvement and support of our members. We hope you will take a moment today to join NCDD, and if already a member, increase your show of support by becoming a dues-paying member.


Here’s a taste of the meaningful work NCDD is currently doing:

  • Convening meetings across the country bringing together NCDD members with staff members of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service
  • Hosting regular “Confab Calls” and “Tech Tuesdays” to help NCDD members stay current with the latest innovations in our rapidly growing field
  • Curating our field’s most important news and resources on our rich website
  • Developing an innovative leadership program in partnership with Penn State that matches students with deliberative democracy organizations for valuable fellowships

By becoming an NCDD Member, you’re not only expressing your support for the value NCDD offers you, but for our collective work in fostering a living, thriving democracy. Everyone who joins is entitled to the benefits of membership, and those who pay dues are eligible for additional benefits.

Here are some actions you can take:

  • If you’re not already a member, please join!
  • If your membership dues have lapsed, please renew and get your dues up-to-date. Check on our Member Map & Directory to see the status of your membership.
  • If you previously joined as a non-dues member, consider upgrading to Supporting Member status for $75.
  • If you’d like to increase your support, please become a Sustaining Member for $150.
  • If you’d like to make a donation to NCDD, you can do that too (we are a 501c3 after all!).

In these challenging, exciting and unpredictable times, we are more committed than ever to help increase the practice of democratic skills that will benefit us all. We need each one of you to help make that possible. Please take a few moments today to add your support.

Thank you!


The NCDD Board of Directors

Barbara Simonetti, Chair
Marla Crockett, Immediate Past Chair
John Backman, Treasurer
Diane Miller, Secretary
Martin Carcasson
Susan Stuart Clark