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From the CommunityFrom the Community

CM & Orton Launch Heart & Soul Talks and Trainings

We are excited to announce that our friends at CommunityMatters – a partnership in which NCDD is a core member – are introducing a new series of online events on the Orton Family Foundation‘s Heart & Soul Planning process, which is also the basis of Orton’s new Heart & Soul Field Guide.

CM_logo-200pxThe series begins this Thursday, February 12th at 4pm Eastern with a “Heart & Soul Talk” conference call. The talk, titled “Use Community Network Analysis to Improve Participation and Results,” promises to be a great opportunity to learn about a useful tool that can strengthen the work that many of our NCDD members do.

The call will feature the insights of NCDD member Alece Montez-Greigo along with Alexis Halbert and Gabrielle Ratté Smith of the Orton Family Foundation. Here’s how the folks at CM describe the event:

Achieving community-wide participation is an admirable but often lofty goal. Identifying the multiple layers of community can be the difference between success or failure of a project. Orton’s Community Network Analysis (CNA) brings fresh new voices and solutions to the table and is a powerful way to understand who lives, works, and plays in your town and how best to reach them.

Alece Montez-Greigo, Orton’s director of programs, explains the tool. Community Heart & Soul project coordinators Alexis Halbert of Paonia, Colorado, and Gabrielle Ratté Smith, senior associate for strategic partnerships at Orton and of Essex, Vermont, join her to share their on-the-ground experience with CNA.

We encourage you to learn more about the Heart & Soul Field Guide from one of our recent entries in the NCDD Resource Center and to register for this first Heart & Soul Talk today. We hope hear you on the call next week!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Text, Talk, Act Conversations Return this April & May

We are happy to announce that Text, Talk, Act – the youth mental health conversation initiative launched in 2013 by NCDD-supported Creating Community Solutions – is returning with two nationwide events this spring! As most of you know, TTA has been supported by NCDD since early on, and it has already shown a lot of encouraging results in past iterations.

This next round of conversations has two different dates and promises to be the best one yet! The first date is Tuesday, April 14th in partnership with Active Mind’s Stress Less Week. The second one, Thursday, May 7th, coincides with SAMSHA’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

We strongly encourage our NCDD members to consider signing up to organize a Text, Talk, Act event in your communities. We know these events are helping make a difference in the lives of young people across the country, and we want to support this innovative way to engage young people in dialogue!

We are also excited to announce that groups that participate in this spring’s TTA conversations are eligible to win the contest for (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NIFI & Kettering Launch “Changing World of Work” Series

We recently highlighted the “Changing World of Work” event that the Kettering Foundation and National Issues Forums Institute – two leading NCDD organizational members – hosted last month, and we are excited to share an update from them on their launch of a year-long series based on that work. Read their announcement below or learn more by clicking here.


NIF logoAs you may be aware, the Kettering Foundation, the National Issues Forums Institute, and Augsburg College have partnered to plan and launch a year-long forums project titled “The Changing World of Work: What Should We Ask of Higher Education?”

The official launch of this project was held on January 21, 2015 at the National Press Club with speakers and panelists, and a video featuring closing comments by Kettering Foundation president, David Mathews. The event was recorded, and you can read more about the speakers and panelists, and watch the entire 3-hour proceedings at www.nifi.org/en/groups/stream-changing-world-work.

Coverage of the launch included an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The “The Changing World of Work: What Should We Ask of Higher Education?” issue guide and companion materials are now available at www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/changing-world-work.

Please consider planning to hold forums using (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Join us for our Feb 19th Confab on Newcomers, Latecomers, and Disrupters

Join us on Thursday, February 19th from 12-1:30pm Eastern (9-10:30am Pacific) for NCDD’s next “Confab Call.” Register today to secure your spot!

On this Confab, we will be tackling the issue of working with newcomers, latecomers, and disrupters:  strategies for sustainable and productive engagement.Confab bubble image

Practitioners managing public engagement processes that run over months or years are often challenged by newcomers, late-comers, and disruptors:

  • The newly elected official who wants to have her say.
  • The neighborhood resident who finally gets involved when the bulldozers arrive on his block.
  • The activists who’ve been carefully biding their time and now hope to derail proceedings because “they were not consulted.”

How can you plan for their arrival?

This Confab will be led by NCDD members Sarah Read and Christoph Berendes. For more than 25 years, Sarah has designed collaborative processes to resolve regulatory issues, facilitated community dialogues, and led visioning and strategic planning efforts for a variety of organizations.  Chris was a project manager for online public engagement efforts for the Office of the Vice President and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the early days of the Web and has advised the Kettering Foundation, AmericaSpeaks, and the Democracy Fund on the use of social media to foster public engagement.

Using scenarios to illustrate the possibilities, Sarah and Chris will describe structures they’ve used for these kinds of challenges– on-ramps, off-ramps, and connectors — and the process elements that affect success – managing expectations, building and sharing knowledge (process and substance), setting boundaries, incorporating new information and ideas, evaluation and “flexibility,” and “harvesting as you go along.” They will also demonstrate simple web tools that can help, such as blog tags, maps, project timelines, charts, and trackers.

Participants will be able to share questions and examples of these challenges in advance and during the Confab.

NCDD’s “Confab Calls” are opportunities for members [and potential members] of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing, and to connect with each fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Register today if you’d like to join us.

Register Here

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Join Everyday Democracy’s Orientation Webinar on Feb. 12

If you’re not already familiar with the work of Everyday Democracy, one of our founding NCDD organizational members, we highly encourage you to register for their upcoming orientation webinar on Thursday, February 12th at 2pm Eastern.

EvDem LogoEvDem has been honing its dialogue-to-change model for years in a huge variety of communities and has developed a wide ranging suite of tools to support the communities they work with, and this webinar is a great opportunity to get an overview of what resources they have to offer and how you can engage with their great work.

Here’s how the folks at EvDem describe the webinar:

Are you new to Everyday Democracy? Do you want to hear about success stories of communities that have used dialogue to create positive change? Join us for a webinar on Thursday, February 12 at 2pm ET for an orientation of our approach to change…

During this webinar, we will explore Everyday Democracy’s approach to change through dialogue and action. We will give an overview to how the process works, what kinds of results we’ve seen from using our approach, and  share a few stories of some of the communities we have worked with.

Not familiar with Everyday Democracy’s work? Here’s a bit of how they describe what they do: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Community Development Conference Proposals due Feb. 15

We want to make sure our members know about the 46th annual Community Development Conference being hosted by the Community Development Society this July 19-22 and encourage you to submit an abstract for a workshop by the deadline on February 15th. Learn more in the announcement below or visit www.comm-dev.org.


Community Development Society 2015 Conference
July 19-22, 2015
Hilton Lexington Downtown, Lexington, Kentucky

Conference Theme: Creativity and Culture: Community Development Approaches for Strengthening Health, Environment, Economic Vibrancy, Social Justice and Democracy

The Community Development Society has a history of encouraging community transformation through creativity and imagination. The CDS conference provides an excellent environment for community developers to share experiences, research, and strategies through a vast array of events including preconference workshops, panel sessions, keynote speakers, mobile learning workshops, poster sessions, networking receptions and presentations. Elements of creative expression will be infused throughout the 2015 CDS conference to highlight the conference theme.

The deadline for paper or workshop abstracts is February 15, 2015, 11:59 p.m. CST. You can find the full call for submissions at www.comm-dev.org/images/2015.Conference/CDS2015CallforAbstractsRevised1.23.15.pdf. The submission form is available at http://comm-dev.org/about-us/2015-conference/call-for-abstracts.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

3 Questions for Navigating Conflict in Dialogue from PCP

We thought our members would resonate with this piece from the blog of our friends with NCDD organizational member the Public Conversations Project that offers key questions you can ask as you seek to address conflict. The post came from a discussion on the NCDD discussion listserv, and we encourage you to read it below or find the original by clicking here.


At Public Conversations Project, we work with groups torn by deep divisions over issues related to different identities, beliefs and values – divisions that tear apart communities and block progress toward shared goals. One of the most important preparatory measures we take as dialogue practitioners is crafting opening questions that promote understanding and reduce stereotyping.

We’ve found that asking questions that promote reflection and elicit personal speaking is especially critical if some of the participants have come to see each other in unidimesional ways, perhaps even as the cause of, or sustaining force behind, the “problem.”

Here are three questions we’ve developed that cultivate a sense of curiosity and encourage participants to view each other – and even themselves – in a richer and more nuanced manner:

1. “How has this conflict had an impact on you and your life?”

We begin by inviting participants to (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Apply to the Summer Institute of Civic Studies by Mar. 15

We encourage NCDD members to apply to be part of the 7th annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies this June 15-25, and also to consider attending the 2015 Frontiers of Democracy conference this June 24-25. Both events have institutions in the field that are stewarded by NCDD supporting members Drs. Peter Levine and Nancy Thomas of Tufts University.

I myself am a Summer Institute alumni and have attended multiple Frontiers conferences, and they are both great opportunities to learn and work with many of the nation’s leaders of civic innovation. Find out more below about both  in the announcement below or by clicking here.


Tufts-logo

The 7th Annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies

The seventh annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies will be an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar bringing together faculty, advanced graduate students, and practitioners from many countries and diverse fields of study.

Organized by Peter Levine of Tufts University’s Tisch College and Karol Sołtan of the University of Maryland, the Summer Institute will engage participants in challenging discussions of such topics as:

  • What kinds of citizens (if any) do good regimes need?
  • What should such citizens know, believe, (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Job Opening with the Consensus Building Institute

We want to make sure that our members know about an exciting job opening with the Consensus Building Institute, one of our great NCDD organizational members. We know that some of our NCDDers would be a great fit for the position, so check out the announcement below or find out more here.


The Consensus Building Institute is seeking a talented, experienced and entrepreneurial Senior Associate for our Washington, D.C. office.  CBI is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to empowering leaders around the world to collaborate, negotiate, and resolve conflict. CBI conducts its work in the U.S. and internationally. We have offices and staff in Cambridge, MA, Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, and Santiago, Chile.

We are seeking a Senior Associate with five to ten years experience in work related to multi-stakeholder problem solving, multi-party negotiations, public policy dispute resolution. Prior employers could include collaborative service firms in mediation, facilitation and multiparty convening, or in related fields such as land use and environmental planning and management, public policy development and analysis, or citizen participation.

If interested, please send a letter of interest and CV to Ronee Penoi at rpenoi@cbuilding.org.
Women and candidates of color strongly encouraged to apply. 

For the full position description visit: www.cbuilding.org/sites/default/files/CBI_SENIOR_ASSOCIATE_JOB%20ANNOUNCEMENT_JAN_2015.pdf.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

City of Cambridge Adopts PB, Partners with PBP

We could hardly be more excited to share that yet another city has adopted participatory budgeting and will be partnering with our friends at the Participatory Budgeting Project, an NCDD organizational member. We learned about this great new development from the Challenges to Democracy blog, which is run by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance & Innovation, another NCDD organizational member, and we encourage you to read more about the news below or to find the original article here.


Ash logoIn June, Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh announced the successful allocation of $1 million dollars from Boston’s budget to fund seven capital projects, formulated and proposed by the city’s youth. Boston is one of several cities across the United States to have not only enthusiastically embraced participatory budgeting (PB), but have adapted the concept – for example by extending the opportunity to youth.

Boston has begun to facilitate greater civic engagement and empowerment among its young residents. Its experiment in civic activism is also generating momentum behind PB in another city in the Greater Boston area. The City of Cambridge recently announced that it would initiate its own PB process, in partnership with the nonprofit Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP).

Cambridge City Council member Leland Cheung first introduced PB to Cambridge over two years ago when he learned about its implementation in other cities, but its implementation has been (more…)

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