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Growing Civic Infrastructure with D&D-Library Collaborations

As we announced early this year, NCDD is partnering over the next two years with the American Library Association on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change project, during which we will be helping introduce libraries and their staff to various models of D&D work and training them to use our field’s tools to support the communities they serve. It’s an exciting collaboration that we think will yield potentially transformative results.

To kick-start the project, our Managing Director Courtney Breese and ALA presented a webinar last week introducing NCDD’s work and the LTC collaboration to over 400 librarians and library staff from across the country. We were blown away by the level of participation, and are looking forward to seeing the project grow even further beyond this amazing start!

During the webinar, Courtney shared about our NCDD partner organizations, the models we’ll be training on, the NCDD engagement streams framework, and featured examples of libraries and communities using these models for engagement. Participating librarians expressed excitement for learning techniques that can benefit the libraries and the communities they serve, and they are eager to engage with the NCDD community more broadly as well.

The Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change project is a follow-up to the ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities: Turning Outward project which introduced the Harwood Institute – an NCDD member organization – and their Turning Outward approach to libraries. Libraries have been using the Turning Outward approach over the past several years to engage their communities and identify the needs of their community.

NCDD is especially excited about this collaboration with ALA because we believe it will produce possibilities for members of our network to partner in concrete ways with libraries over the long-term. But we know that some of our members already collaborate with libraries, and we’d love to hear about how!

If you collaborate with local libraries in your D&D work or have collaborated with them in the past, tell us about it! Please share a bit in the comments section below about what your partnerships have looked like, what sort of you’ve done, or how you hope to work with libraries in the future. 

We know there are mountains of potential in building library-D&D collaborations as part of our nation’s civic infrastructure, and we can’t wait to see and catalyze more!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Lessons on Turning Deliberation into Action from Alabama

The David Mathews Center – an NCDD member org – recently completed a great deliberative process focused on helping Alabama communities take action together to improve their town, and we think many in our network could learn a thing or two from it, so we’re sharing about it here. The DMC team wrote an insightful piece on their three-stage process of moving the town of Cullman from talk to collaborative action, and we encourage you to read it below or find the original version on their blog here.


What’s Next, Cullman? Pilot Program Wraps Up

The DMC recently wrapped up its pilot forum series for What’s Next, Alabama? in the city of Cullman, with promising results.

What’s Next, Alabama? (WNAL) is shaping up to be the Mathew Center’s largest programmatic undertaking to date. WNAL is a part of the DMC’s flagship program, Alabama Issues Forums (AIF), and will feature three deliberative forums in each community, focused broadly on issues of community, economic, and workforce development.

The first forum will ask, “Where are we now?” How did your community get to where it is today? What has been working well, and what hasn’t? What are the assets already have at your disposal? The second forum will ask, “Where do we want to go?” What would you like to change about your community? What would you live to preserve? What issue(s) would you like to tackle? What are your priorities? The third forum will ask, “How do we get there?” Using the resources you have, what is most doable? What are the next steps? How can you move from talk to action? Partnering with local conveners including the LINK of Cullman County and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, we were able to launch What’s Next, Cullman? as a pilot program and our first WNAL community.

The first forum gave the community an opportunity for deep reflection on the changes Cullman has seen through the years. Attendees crafted an exhaustive list of (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Leading Organizational and Community Change

We are happy to share the announcement below about a series of D&D skills trainings being offered at Humboldt State University this year. NCDD Supporting Member Mary Gelinas shared the announcement below via our great Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!


If you are an elected official, community leader, manager, planner, consultant or facilitator who wants to be even more effective than you already are, these workshops are for you.

The Leading Organizational & Community Change program is a transformative professional development program focused on creating collaboration at work and in your communities. Offered through the College of eLearning and Extended Education at Humboldt State University in Northern California, this program offers courses designed to help organizational managers, community leaders, public officials, city managers, planners, facilitators, and consultants to be more effective in getting things done and creating sustainable change at work, in communities, and in municipalities.

Grounded in the behavioral sciences and brain science, along with effective and innovative process skills and approaches, the curriculum is designed to build your knowledge and develop your skills so you can work more constructively and productively with colleagues, constituents, neighbors, and clients to solve problems, resolve conflicts, build lasting agreements, develop public policy, and plan for the future.

The courses still available in 2017 include: (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

What You Missed on the Confab Call with Not In Our Town

NCDD was happy to host a very special Confab Call earlier this week featuring NCDD member organization Not In Our Town (NIOT). Over 50 people from our network joined us for a conversation with Patrice O’Neill, NIOT’s executive director, about how the history of NIOT’s history, its work, and how the dialogue events that NIOT hosts have helped catalyze broad civic engagement and stop the spread of hate in communities across the country.

We recorded the Confab as always, so if you missed it, we highly encourage you to list to the recording of the webinar by clicking here. You can also click here to read the transcript of the chat from the webinar where we shared a number of resources, links, and answers to questions posed during the call.

One of the most exciting possibilities that came out of the call was the clear opportunity for dialogue practitioners from NCDD’s network to support the towns and communities that NIOT works with in their dialogue events on hate and bullying. NIOT and NCDD are discussing ways to bring dialogue partners and a framework to local NIOT groups working long term to prevent hate and foster inclusion, but we want you to be part of the discussion too!

We’ve created a quick 5-question survey that we are asking our network to fill out so that we can find out who is interested in continuing conversations about NCDD-NIOT collaborations and collect your ideas about what that could look like. Please take just a couple minutes to complete the brief survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/KRVC252 if you’re interested. We will have more on these collaboration opportunities soon.

In the meantime, if you want to connect with Not In Our Town’s work, here’s are some suggestions from Patrice for ways  you can get involved: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NIFI Hosts 10 Online Community-Police Relations Forums

In addition to offering free copies of their new Safety & Justice discussion guide on community-police relations, the National Issues Forums Institute – an NCDD member org – is also hosting ten online forums to discuss the issue using their Common Ground for Action online deliberation tool, including two training webinars for prospective forum hosts. We encourage those in our network focusing on related issues to consider joining the forums or the training. You can learn more about the CGA forums in the NIFI announcement below or find the original here.


Common Ground for Action 2017 Forum Series

The Common Ground for Action (CGA) Forums Series is Back!

The 2016 CGA Fridays were a huge hit. Demand for trying the new platform and giving our network of moderators more practice was so high that we’re back at it for 2017. This winter, we will have a CGA forum each week, with some in the evening and Saturdays so more of our network can join in. If you’re a CGA moderator and want practice or a refresher workshop, we’ve got those too.

In February, the CGA Forum Series will be using the NEW Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence? issue guide. These forums will be part of our 2017 series of reports to policymakers on how people are thinking about issues.

  • Friday, February 3rd 12:00pm EST – Register
  • Friday, February 10th 4pm EST – Register
  • Wednesday, February 15th 7pm EST- Register
  • Tuesday, February 21st 10am EST – Register
  • Saturday, February 25th 4pm EST – Register
  • Monday, February 27th 2pm EST – Register
  • Saturday, March 4th 4pm EST – Register
  • Friday, March 10th 12pm EST – Register
  • Monday, March 13th 2:30pm EST (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

NCDD Podcast on Connecting Journalism & Public Engagement is Live!

The fourth episode of the NCDD Podcast is now live! You can find this on iTunes, SoundCloud and Google Play.

In this episode, Journalism that Matters Executive Director Peggy Holman and Board President Michelle Ferrier discuss their thoughts about connecting journalists and public engagement practitioners. They reflect on the opportunities they see for these fields to collaborate and complement one another.

This conversation is one that NCDD and Journalism That Matters will continue to have with our members in the coming months. In March, NCDD will hold a Confab Call with Journalism That Matters – look for an announcement of that event next week! And Journalism That Matters will look to also continue the conversation at their conference this May. More information on the conference in coming soon as well.

This first series of episodes in the NCDD Podcast were recorded at the NCDD 2016 Conference, where we asked leaders and practitioners from the D&D field to share their stories and ideas, as well as discuss opportunities and challenges in our audio room. These episodes are being released as we continue our conversation from the conference about #BridgingOurDivides.

We invite you to listen to this episode and share your thoughts here, particularly about the opportunities for journalists and public engagement practitioners to support one another and collaborate. Do you have experience working with journalists? Do you have ideas for how our fields can partner? Share them in the comments below!

Our thanks to Ryan Spenser for recording and editing these podcast episodes, to Barb Simonetti for her financial support of this initial series, and to everyone who participated at the conference.

Please continue to tune in and share the podcast with your networks!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Citizen University Conference on “Reckoning & Repair”

We want to make sure that our network has heard that the 2017 Citizen University Conference is coming up this March 24th-25th in Seattle. Citizen University conferences bring together key civic leaders from many different part of society around how to improve our country’s civic engagement and spur civic change.

NCDD members will be able to both contribute and gain a lot by attending, so we encourage you to register to attend. Regular registration is $250, with some scholarships and discounts available. We encourage you to attend!

The theme of this year’s conference, “Reckoning and Repair in America,” is quite in line with NCDD’s #BridgingOurDivides work, and we know NCDDers can continue the conversation about how we heal the division in our country in powerful new ways at this conference. Here’s a bit of how the organizers describe it:

Our theme for this year’s conference is Reckoning and Repair in America. We face deep divisions across the country. Now more than ever we the people have to step up: to reckon with injustice across ideological divides and to repair our frayed social fabric.

Join hundreds of change-makers, activists, and catalysts to learn about power, deepen your networks, and recharge your sense of purpose. With luminary speakers, master teachers, and lessons on civic power, the conversation will be rich and provocative. Join the movement to rekindle citizenship and remake the narrative of America.

You can learn more about the Citizen University Conference at www.citizenuniversity.us/conference. We hope to see some of you there!

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Don’t Miss the Confab Call on Responses to Hate, Feb. 8

In case you missed our announcement last month, we want to remind the NCDD network to register today for our next Confab Call, this Wednesday, February 8th from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific with Not In Our Town (NIOT).Confab bubble image

Not In Our Town is an NCDD member organization that uses film and community-wide dialogue to support towns and schools around the country in formulating a response to hate crimes, bullying, and hate groups. The Confab will feature a presentation from NIOT’s CEO and Excutive Producer Patrice O’Neill on the work they do, how it has changed since the spike in hate crimes since the election, and how the D&D field can support the growing need for conversation on addressing hate and violence in our communities.

You won’t want to miss this opportunity to connect to important work of using dialogue to address. We highly encourage you to register today for this great call!

This call is part of NCDD’s ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign that seeks to highlight key resources and methodologies our field can use to address divides that the 2016 election created and exacerbated. The call will be a perfect opportunity to learn about how you can access and use the over 100 of films and discussion guides that NIOT has created to support dialogue and action around dozens of kinds of bullying and hate, all of which can be critical tools for the D&D community to tap into.

We are excited about the possibilities this Confab presents for seeding collaborations. Be sure register today for this great call!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Bridging Our Divides with NCL’s All-America Conversations

NCDD members might want to check out the All-America Conversations initiative being hosted by the National Civic League, an NCDD member organization. NCL is encouraging communities across the country to host short, public conversations focused on questions of how we can begin #BridgingOurDivides, showing that our country can still work together. They are providing a toolkit and webinar training series to help conversation hosts plan and convene these events, and we encourage practitioners in our network to consider hosting one yourself. You can learn more in the NCL announcement below or by learning more here.


All-American Conversations: Bridging Divides. Building Community.

National Civic League is launching All-America Conversations to demonstrate that locally, we are still able to work together across dividing lines to create stronger, more equitable communities.

Communities that host All-America Conversations will:

  • Better understand residents’ aspirations for the community
  • Learn how residents talk about and see community challenges and divisions
  • Gain clear insight into what small actions would give people confidence that we can work together across dividing lines
  • Help residents engage with one another in a productive conversation
  • Demonstrate a commitment to inclusive engagement

All-America Conversations are designed to help cities and other groups understand residents’ aspirations for the community, the divisions facing the community and, most importantly, the small, specific actions that give people a sense of confidence that we can work across dividing lines.

The format/template for All-America Conversations is (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

2016 NCDD Year In Review

Looking back, 2016 was an important year for NCDD and the dialogue & deliberation community. NCDD and the field saw a lot of important things happen and transitions take place, and as we look forward to the work ahead, we also wanted to look back at what we’ve accomplished and what’s changed.

NCDD 2016

Of course, the biggest effort on NCDD’s part was organizing the 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation on “Bridging Our Divides,” a timely focus on the important work of bringing people together across differences of politics, race, socioeconomic status, and more. We had 350 public engagement practitioners, journalists, academics, public officials, funders, and students converge for this three-day gathering focused on sharing stories, exploring collaborations, and talking about what’s next for the dialogue and deliberation community following the divisive election season. You can view the schedule and speakers, watch panels, and more in the Events section of our site.

Following the conference and the presidential election, NCDD continued this conversation with our #BridgingOurDivides campaign, which sought to continue to collect and share stories, resources, and tools for bridging divides in our communities. We also hosted a special open Confab Call about what our community can do and is doing post-election. We invite you to check out the amazing compilation of the tools and resources we gathered and to watch the recorded Confab on the blog here. Many thanks to our community for sharing your great tools, resources, and stories!

New Projects, Programs, and Partnerships

In 2016, NCDD truly embraced our stewardship of Conversation Café with the launch of the new Conversation Café website and a Confab Call sharing the story of how Conversation Café was created and how it has been utilized in communities across the country. Conversation Café is an elegantly simple process for dialogue, and with its materials all open source and available for free (including a recording of our recent host training session), it’s a important resource for our field and communities in a time where dialogue is so critically needed.

NCDD was also proud to finally unveil our new Emerging Leaders Initiative, a program we’ve been working towards since our 2014 Conference. The Emerging Leaders Initiative, or ELI, will provide resources and support to rising leaders in our field and create more “on ramps” into the dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement field, especially for young people 35 and under. The ELI also seeks to provide support to newcomers to the field, no matter their age, in addition to helping facilitate collaborations and connections among D&D efforts that involve or focus on young people. Learn more about this exciting initiative at www.ncdd.org/youth, or contact our Youth Engagement Coordinator Roshan Bliss at roshan@ncdd.org.

Another outcome from NCDD 2016 was the launch of our new NCDD Podcast. The podcast brings together members of the D&D community to discuss ideas, opportunities, and challenges in our work, as well as share tools and resources. Our first three episodes, all recorded at NCDD 2016, are up on iTunes, SoundCloud and Google Play!

Last year, NCDD also solidified an agreement to embark upon an exciting new partnership with the American Library Association. NCDD is proud to partner with the ALA on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change initiative that will train librarians across the country in dialogue and deliberation methods for community engagement and connect them with NCDD members. We look forward to launching these online and in-person trainings very soon! For more information, see our blog post here.

And as always, our work with the Kettering Foundation continued – including a huge inventory survey we conducted in collaboration with KF and work engaging the dialogue and deliberation community in Kettering’s annual DC event, A Public Voice.

Changes in Leadership

So who was responsible for this fabulous work? Our amazing (more…)

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