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From the CommunityFrom the Community

NCDD Members to Lead Deliberative Democracy Consortium

We are so pleased to share that three of our great NCDD members – Wendy Willis (who is also an incoming NCDD Board member), Bruce Mallory, and Kyle Bozentko – have been named as the new leadership of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium starting in 2017. The DDC has been a key organization in the D&D field for years, and we are excited for these three heavyweights to revitalize it. You can read more about the change in DDC’s announcement below or on their Facebook page here (while their website revamp is in the works).

The Deliberative Democracy Consortium’s New Leadership

DDC logoDear Friends of the DDC:

We are pleased and proud to announce that DDC has new leadership! Starting January 1, Wendy Willis will become DDC’s Executive Director, while Bruce Mallory and Kyle Bozenkto will begin their terms as co-chairs of the Executive Committee.

Wendy succeeds long-time director Matt Leighninger, who will continue to serve on the Executive Committee and assist Wendy with the transition. Wendy will attend to immediate tasks such as restoring the DDC web presence, communicating with Committee members and institutional partners, and reaching out to potential sponsors interested in advancing our mission. Her appointment comes at a critical moment for deliberative, participatory democracy in the US and around the world. DDC is honored to have Wendy help us set our course in these rough seas.

Wendy Willis joins DDC from Kitchen Table Democracy, where she has served as Executive Director for the past five years. Wendy will also continue as Director of Oregon’s Kitchen Table in the National Policy Consensus Center at Portland State University. Prior to joining Kitchen Table Democracy and the National Policy Consensus Center, Wendy served (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Join Conversation Café Host Training Call, Jan. 3rd

Last week, NCDD hosted another one of our Confab Call events featuring the co-founders of Conversation Café (CC), Susan Partnow and Vicki Robin. The call featured a history of the CC process, reflections from the experiences of CC hosts, and a brief tour of the new CC website at www.conversationcafe.org.

If you missed this engaging discussion, don’t worry. You can still listen in on what the Conf Call was like by finding the recording at this link.

There is also a great next step that came out of this call that we want to make sure our members hear about. We had so much interest from folks wanting to learn to use the CC process that co-founder Susan Partnow offered to host a free Conversation Café Host Training to start the new year!

So NCDD and Susan will be hosting 90-minute CC training webinar on Tuesday, January 3rd at 12pm Eastern/9am Pacific with much appreciation to Susan for making this training available before she takes her sabbatical. We encourage everyone who would like to host Conversation Cafés or just wants to learn more about the process to register today take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to host Conversation Cafés!


This upcoming training call will be the perfect opportunity to get personalized support in hosting Conversation Cafés. Whether you’re considering using the process for the first time or want to brush up on it before hosting a new conversation, we encourage all of our NCDD members with an interest in the CC process to register now to participate in this CC host training!

The CC process is an accessible tool for hosting needed conversations on difficult issues in our communities, and we are excited to see more people getting trained to use it. We look forward to having many of you join us on January 3rd for the event!


Help NCDD Rise to the D&D Challenges of 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, our NCDD team has been looking back proudly at what we’ve accomplished this year, but also reflecting soberly on the challenges that 2017 will bring for the nation and the dialogue & deliberation field. And as we reflect on our next year, we know one thing is for sure: we will need your help.

NCDD is here to support our members and the broader network of people and organizations working to help people come together across divides and make better decisions for our communities. All of the work we do is for the benefit of the field – connecting members to one another at our gatherings, introducing new technology and spotlighting key projects, engaging in conversations about the challenges we face and exploring new opportunities, collaborating with members on resources and research, sharing the latest news on our blog, and curating tools and resources in the Resource Center.

But many people aren’t aware that NCDD is an organization of just 5 core staff, and that though we work passionately to support the vital work of the D&D field, our financial situation dictates that all of us only work part time. Many people also don’t realize that a major source of NCDD’s funding comes in the form of the dues paid by our incredible members. We’ve been able to secure some grant money in the past, but part of next year’s challenge is that some of the grants we’ve relied on will run out. At the same time, the work of our field will be more important than ever in 2017.

That’s why we are inviting our network to renew your commitment to strengthening the field in the coming year by renewing or upgrading your membership, joining NCDD as a member, or making a donation today! NCDD is only as strong as our members’ and our community’s support, and in these lean times for small non-profits like us, your contributions are what will keep our critical work afloat. Member dues and donations go directly to supporting NCDD’s programming and staff, and we invite you to make us part of your end-of-the-year giving today!

But more than just keeping our work afloat, NCDD will be taking on several new initiatives in 2017 to further support the network and advance the field:

  • We will be continuing to steward the Conversation Café process and support its network of practitioners
  • We will be scaling up our Emerging Leaders Initiative to cultivate and grow the capacity of our field’s next generation of leadership
  • We will be partnering with libraries all over the country to strengthen their ability to be spaces for convening dialogue and deliberation that serves their communities
  • We will continue to lift up resources and initiatives that are helping the country in Bridging Our Divides and finding ways to move forward together

Adding these exciting initiatives to NCDD’s regular work in the new year will be a challenge for our team, but we are committed to rising to those challenges, and we know we can do it if our members are behind us. So as 2016 winds down, please commit to supporting us as we support you and the important work that our field is doing by becoming a member, renewing/upgrading your membership, or making a donation today!

staffWe know that 2017 will be a year where dialogue & deliberation are more essential than ever and that it can make a key difference in the direction of our communities and our country. We are so honored and grateful to serve such an amazing network, and NCDD is determined to expand the reach and impact of our individual and collective work in 2017. We ask that you support us in our continued efforts to do so.

Looking ahead with hope,

The NCDD Team

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Looking Back at NCDD 2016 and What Has Happened Since

ncdd2016-logoThe 2016 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation brought together 350 innovators in dialogue and deliberation to discuss the conference theme of Bridging Our Divides. Over the course of three days we discussed how to tackle some of today’s toughest divides, including partisan, racial, economic, and more. For a recap of the conference in numbers, see our earlier blog post.

Since the conference, NCDD has been producing and gathering media that captures our time together and the stories of our work. And, we’ve been following up on the conversations that happened at the conference and continuing the important work that began or was renewed in our time together.

Sharing the Stories of the Conference

At NCDD 2016 Keith Harrington of Shoestring Videos recorded our plenary sessions as well as short videos of participants. Keith is in the process of producing several videos, and has shared with us the following two videos:

Panel on Philanthropy and Fundraising

Mark Gerzon of the Mediators Foundation moderated a discussion among a panel of philanthropists about the constraints and opportunities facing our field’s efforts to bring people together across divides. Panelists shared their experiences funding bridge building efforts and answered participant questions about how we can all be better advocates for our work.

Panel on Journalism and Public Engagement

Peggy Holman of Journalism that Matters moderated a panel discussion among journalists, discussing both their work in engaging the public and discussing the opportunities they see for public engagement practitioners to partner with journalists.


From the CommunityFrom the Community

Phoenix Launches First-Ever School District PB Process

We were excited to learn recently that the team at the Participatory Budgeting Project, one NCDD’s member organizations, and Phoenix schools made history when they launched the first participatory budgeting (PB) process in the US to allow students across to deliberate on how to use district money. The effort will build D&D capacity in Phoenix’s student body, and we can’t wait to see how it goes. Read more about this historic initiative and how to spread School PB in the PBP blog piece below, or find the original here.

PBP-Logo-Stacked-Rectangle-web1Phoenix schools are making history AGAIN with PB

“We’re here to make history!” exclaimed Shari Davis, PBP Director of Strategic Initiatives, to a room full of students, teachers, principals, district administration, and sunshine.

Three years ago, the first high school-based PB process in the U.S. began at Bioscience High School in Phoenix, Arizona. This year, the Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD) is launching the first school PB process in the U.S. to use district-wide funds, beginning with five public high schools and intended to expand across the district in future years.

On September 24th, PBP hosted a PB 101 Training for more than 60 high school students, teachers, principals, and PUHSD staff. The training introduced participants to PB by inviting them to take part in a mock PB process that began with idea collection and culminated in a mock vote.

After learning PB by doing it, trained facilitators worked with teams of students, teachers, and principals from each of the five high schools to begin (more…)

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Register for Conversation Café Confab Call on Monday

In case you missed our post last week, we want to share a friendly reminder encouraging our NCDD network to register for our next Confab Call this Monday, December 19th, from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific!Confab bubble image

This Confab will feature the insights of long-time NCDD members Susan Partnow and Vicki Robin – two of the three original co-creators of the Conversation Café (CC) process that NCDD now stewards – and leading practitioners from across the country who host Cafés in their communities.

The CC process is easily accessible and flexible enough to be picked up quickly by many people, helping them move from “small talk to big conversation.” Monday’s call will be the perfect opportunity to learn all about the history of Conversation Café, connect with the network of people already hosting Cafés, learn the basics of being a host, and share your thoughts on how NCDD can best support the CC network.


You won’t want to miss this collaborative conversation – make sure you register today for the call! We look forward to talking with you Monday!


NCDD Podcast Episode 2 about Conversation Café Now Live

NCDD’s second podcast episode is now live on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Google Play! It features the story of Conversation Café as told by three stewards of this process: co-creator Susan Partnow, past steward Jacquelyn Pogue, and NCDD Resource Curator Keiva Hummel, who plays a key role in helping NCDD serve as the steward of the Conversation Café (CC) process.

cc_cardsAs you may remember from our post last week, the 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 over the next several weeks as we continue our conversation from the conference about #BridgingOurDivides. Additional episodes will be produced on an on-going basis.

In this episode, Keiva asks Susan and Jacquelyn to share the story of Conversation Café’s inception and history over the past fifteen years. They explain how this elegantly simple process works, talk about how it has been utilized, and their hopes and advice for NCDD as the recent steward. This is a fantastic introduction to the CC process and a great lead into our Confab Call being held next Monday, December 19th about Conversation Café – learn more about that event here.

We invite you to listen to this episode and share your thoughts here, including responses to these questions: What experiences have you had with Conversation Café? Or, what more would you like to learn about it? What opportunities do you see for Conversation Café in your community or in our nation generally?

Again, 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 in the episode recording sessions at the conference! Please continue to tune in and share the podcast with your networks!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Tips for Online Engagement with Millennials

We encourage our online engagement practitioners to check out this post from NCDD member organization the Davenport Institute. It offers tips for encouraging your stakeholders, especially younger people, to participate in your efforts online, which may make sense during busy times like the holidays. You can read the post below or or find the original version here.

Tip: 5 Ways To Promote Online Engagement

The Davenport InstituteDo you need help increasing your online engagement efforts? In a recent article published on informz.com, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Informz, Vivian Swertinski shares with readers 5 Ways to Promote Online Community Engagement. In her article she points out:

It’s been reported that 74% of millennials feel technology helps them stay connected to the people in their social network, at work, and at home. It’s not surprising that audiences that grew up with technology often prefer to interact with colleagues and peers through online channels. These preferences are not likely to change, in fact, millennials will purposefully seek out organizations that make it easy to engage through digital channels.

As a result, she recommends (1) promote online community and networking opportunities at the time of recruitment, (2) welcoming new members to the community should be a part of the onboarding campaign, (3) promote popular topics and encourage audience members to join the conversation, (4) recognize individual community contributors, and (5) incorporate online community in the member renewal campaign as appropriate.

To read more, including access to online engagement resources click here.

You can find the original version of this Davenport Institute post at http://gov20watch.pepperdine.edu/2016/10/tip-5-ways-promote-online-engagement.


A Look Back at NCDD 2016 on Storify

With so much that’s happened since October, it’s a little hard to believe that the NCDD 2016 national conference was less than two months ago! Since the gathering, Bridging Our Divides has only become more relevant, and we want to remind our D&D community of the powerful conversations and experiences we had and the commitment we made when we were together.

So we’ve released an awesome Storify page for the NCDD 2016 conference! This compilation of the best photos, quotes from evaluations, links, and other gems from this engaging event will be great for seeing how it was if you missed out, or remembering some of the best moments if you were there.

We encourage you to check out the NCDD 2016 Storify below, and don’t forget that you can always continue the conversation by participating in NCDD’s ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Call for Deliberative Campus Forums on Abortion

We want to encourage our higher ed members to take notice of the announcement below from Dr. Robert Cavalier of the CMU Program for Deliberative Democracy, an NCDD member organization. The PDD has been testing and refining a set of resources for deliberative forums on abortion, and is inviting others to join them in hosting such forums on their respective campuses this Spring. You can learn more about the project in Robert’s announcement below or learn more about their resources here.

Announcement for Campus Conversations on the Issue of Abortion

Over the past several years the Program for Deliberative Democracy has been developing ways for citizens to have a civil and constructive conversation on the issue of abortion in America. We are pleased to say that we have put these materials online for use by campuses across the country. I am writing to you today because your organization has worked in the field of deliberative democracy and is well placed to announce this opportunity to your community.

Our materials dealing with the issue of abortion are designed to be used in a campus discussion that follows the general protocols of deliberation (well vetted background material, trained moderators, expert panels, and pre- and post-event surveys). As with our other materials (such as “Climate Change and the Campus”), the college discussions on abortion will also focus on specific campus issues i.e., reproductive services.

Please use the following announcement for dissemination purposes: (more…)