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Building United Judgment: A Handbook for Consensus Decision-Making

Consensus decision making in groups can maximize cooperation and participation of all group members. Consensus brings together the needs, resources, and ideas of every group member by means of a supportive creative structure. This classic introduction to secular consensus was recently brought back into print by the Fellowship for Intentional Community. It is an excellent explanation of what it means to make the switch from voting to consensus, and how to unlock the potential of groups working with the whole person. Highly recommended, it is the companion publication to A Manual for Group Facilitators.

Michael Avery, Brian Auvine, Barbara Streible and Lonnie Weiss

Center for Conflict Resolution; reprinted by the Fellowship for Intentional Community (1981)

Resource Link: store.ic.org

Purchase at the Intentional Communities Store at store.ic.org/catalog/index.php?cPath=34_43.

Building Deliberative Communities

This 36-page booklet by Michael Briand (Pew Partnership for Civic Change, 1995) — excerpted in full below — introduces the reader to the role deliberation can play in creating new opportunities for communities to work together in more productive ways. The report draws on statistical and educational research to support the thesis that deliberative discussions can help a community learn its own strengths and weaknesses and can help bolster its confidence in its ability to change itself for the better. Using a Community Convention (a contemporary version of the New England town meeting) as a vehicle, the report explores the possibility of achieving a representative voice from all community segments. (more…)

Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets

This seminal 1993 book by John P Kretzmann and John L. McKnight includes a step-by-step description of asset-based community development, a strengths-based approach for identifying and building upon the human resources that are already present in any community.

The guide summarizes lessons learned by studying successful community-building initiatives in hundreds of neighborhoods across the U.S. It outlines what local communities can do to start their own journeys down the path of asset-based development.

The Asset-Based Community Development Institute is based at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research.

Resource Link: www.abcdinstitute.org

Buddhist Peace Fellowship

BPF seeks to awaken peace where there is conflict, bring insight to institutionalized ignorance, promote communication and cooperation among sanghas, and in the spirit of wisdom, compassion, and harmony, offer practical help wherever possible. Members are involved in disarmament work, environmental and human rights, including campaigns that oppose oppression of Buddhists in Bangladesh, Burma, Vietnam, and Tibet.

Resource Link: www.bpf.org


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Bridging the Racial Divide: A Report on Interracial Dialogue in America

This 1997 booklet by Paul Martin Du Bois and Jonathan Hutson of The Center for Living Democracy includes lessons, tips and success stories from 65 intergroup dialogues across the country, plus an annotated reading list of resources. Although the Center for Living Democracy has closed its doors, this 71-page book was one of the first books to provide best practices from race dialogues in the U.S. Published at the time of President Clinton’s Initiative on Race.

Resource Link: http://www.amazon.com/Bridging-Racial-Divide-Interracial-Dialogue/dp/0966162609

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors and our democratic structures – and how we may reconnect. Putnam warns that our stock of social capital – the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities. But America has civicly reinvented itself before, and can do it again.

Robert D. Putnam

New York: Simon & Schuster (2000)

Resource Link: www.bowlingalone.com

Also check out Bowling Alone's companion site, BetterTogether.org, an initiative of the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Better Together

Better Together is the final report of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, an initiative of Professor Robert D. Putnam at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The project focuses on expanding what we know about our levels of trust and community engagement and on developing strategies and efforts to increase this engagement. A signature effort has been a multi-year dialogue held on how we can increasingly build bonds of civic trust among Americans and their communities.

Resource Link: www.BetterTogether.org

Benton Foundation

The Foundation works to realize the social benefits made possible by the public interest use of communications. Provides links to online tools for community organizing and community building.

The mission of the Benton Foundation is to articulate a public interest vision for the digital age and to demonstrate the value of communications for solving social problems. Current priorities include: promoting a vision and policy alternatives for the digital age in which the benefit to the public is paramount; raising awareness among funders and nonprofits on their stake in critical policy issues; enabling communities and nonprofits to produce diverse and locally responsive media content.

The Benton Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant applications or offer general grants. We are a private foundation, an institutional hybrid, bridging the worlds of philanthropy, public policy and community action. We assume diverse, crosscutting roles as nonpartisan knowledge broker, convener, public interest advocate and policy analyst. The Foundation has an endowment of approximately $10 million, the annual income from which is devoted to our own operating projects. Because of Benton's pioneering work, a number of foundations and corporations have provided additional funding.

Resource Link: www.benton.org


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Association for Conflict Resolution

ACR is a professional organization dedicated to enhancing the practice and public understanding of conflict resolution. ACR represents and serves over 7000 mediators, arbitrators, facilitators, educators, and others involved in the field of conflict resolution and collaborative decision-making. ACR was launched in 2001, when the Academy of Family Mediators (AFM), the Conflict Resolution Education Network (CREnet), and the Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) merged into one organization.

Resource Link: www.acrnet.org



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Association for the Study and Development of Community

ASDC is a research and development organization for community capacity building and social problem solving. ASDC represents a network of leading community development practitioners and scientists in the United States and Europe, with offices in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Milan, Italy. ASDC provides capacity building services to government agencies, foundations and nonprofit organizations.

Resource Link: www.capablecommunity.com



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