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NCDD is collecting blurbs describing your great work!

NCDD is made up of extraordinary organizations and individuals who, in my opinion, are doing some of the most important work on the planet.  For fundraising and outreach purposes, we want to do a better job explaining the work our members do.

IMG_8202For starters, we want to collect short, concise sentences (blurbs) describing your work.  Here are a few examples of some blurbs I wrote a few years ago to illustrate our members’ work…

  • King County’s (Seattle Area) innovative Countywide Community Forums, a project of the King County auditor’s office, engages hundreds of volunteer “citizen councilors” in regular dialogues held across the county on issues local government is tackling.
  • One of our members led the creation of the nation’s first official “Democracy Zone” in Napa, California, where hundreds of white and Latino residents have come together across class and ethnic divides to redefine their community’s concept of “citizen” by focusing on democratic processes and a commitment to common values.
  • Vets4Vets trains Iraq-era veterans to facilitate dialogue among fellow new veterans to help with the reintegration process. Working closely with the VA, Vets4Vets is building a peer support community among the growing number of vets who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Will you take a few minutes to turn one or two of your recent projects/programs into brief one- or two-sentence blurbs like the ones above?  Be as specific as possible in your blurbs, in terms of program location, number of people engaged/effected, outcomes achieved (focusing on one is best), and how your effort exemplifies a DIFFERENT kind of conversation than what we ordinarily see.

Add your blurbs to the comments on this post, and include a link so people can learn more about you.

Thank you in advance for helping equip NCDD to better describe your amazing work!!

Sandy Heierbacher on FacebookSandy Heierbacher on LinkedinSandy Heierbacher on Twitter
Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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We always encourage a lively exchange of ideas, whether online or off. Questions? Please feel free to contact us directly.

  1. Stephen Silha says:

    Development of Island Teens (Vashon Island, WA) held a series of youth-adult dialogues between 2003 and 2011 which were catalyzed by a father strangling his teenage daughter to death. The dialogues – sometimes focused on particular subjects like sex, drugs, rock and roll, and sometimes open to any question – improved communication between adults and teens on the island, and got kids involved in organizing community events.

  2. Scott London says:

    I’ve partnered with organizations across the country, including academic institutions, professional networks and government agencies, to develop issue frameworks and discussion guides—tools that help people deliberate in a meaningful and constructive way about really tough issues like political polarization, immigration reform and climate change.

  3. Libby and Len Traubman of the 23-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue maximize Skype and Zoom Internet platforms to facilitate from home small and large groups in face-to-face engagement overseas.

    Dialogue successes are illustrated online for Singapore at http://traubman.igc.org/singapore.pdf and Korea at http://traubman.igc.org/korea-japan.pdf

  4. During the December Season of Light, the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue in California maximizes Zoom Internet communication by gathering on one video screen diverse international relationship-builders in Global Video Bridges to share discoveries and inspire one another.

    These Video Bridges are illustrated online, with 2014 at http://traubman.igc.org/light2014.htm and 2015 at http://traubman.igc.org/light2015.htm

  5. Tree Bressen says:

    Group Pattern Language Project created and stewards a 100-card deck expressing the core wisdom of healthy meetings, currently used by thousands of people in dozens of countries around the world. The largest scale usage to date was by the City of Calgary (Canada) who used Group Works decks with thousands of staff to help clarify their values and explain how they do their best work together.

  6. Robin Teater says:

    The Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) brings groups of randomly-selected, politically and demographically-representative members of the public together and gives them the time and resources to fairly evaluate ballot measures. The voting public then receives unbiased information about crucial issues on the ballot by reading CIR results in statewide voter’s guides. The Citizens’ Initiative Review is the first program of its kind to be adopted by states using public participation to provide unbiased information about ballot measures to voters at election time.

  7. From Luke Hohmann of Conteneo.co…

    The 2016 San José, CA Citywide Zero-Based Participatory Budgeting event enabled approximately 300 San Jose residents to collaboratively prioritize how the city should invest the portion of its budget devoted to programs and services that affect San José’s neighborhoods. Approximately 80 facilitators and observers helped residents allocate the fiscal budget to programs and services in this “zero-based” budgeting exercise.

    The 2016 San José, CA d3decides Participatory Budgeting project enabled approximately 500 San Jose residents to collaboratively prioritize how residents of the city should invest $100,000. Residents created projects, shaped them into proposals and selected the winning entries through a combination of online software and in-person meetings.

  8. John Genette says:

    The Institute for Civil Dialogue, founded in 2014, brings citizens of all stripes together to learn how to discuss “hot topics” with “cool heads.” In our first two years, nearly 4,000 people have participated in our unique Civil Dialogue format at libraries, churches, colleges, and community centers.

  9. The Convergence Center for Policy Resolution facilitates multi-stakeholder collaboration to find creative solutions to our nation’s most challenging issues. For the past three years, we have been convening the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative to address the growing issue of how we pay for long-term care for frail older adults and disabled Americans. More than 12 million Americans need personal assistance to live independently and with dignity, a number that is expected to double by mid-century.

    In February, the Collaborative released recommendations that would reform the way we provide long-term services and supports. If these recommendations are enacted, Americans and their families would have more choice in selecting the type of care they receive. In addition, a series of private market initiatives and public polices would make long-term care insurance more available and affordable. Medicaid would offer more flexible services and provide a safety net for the most needy. This plan was developed by a diverse group of policy experts and stakeholders from across the political spectrum who, by working together, have developed recommendations that could change the way we provide long-term care.

  10. Peggy Holman says:

    Journalism That Matters (JTM) brings community members and journalists together to foster collaboration, innovation, and action so that a diverse news and information ecosystem supports communities to thrive. We believe journalism matters most when it is of, by, and for the people.

    Our more than 1,500 participants affirm that JTM has inspired new ideas, projects, roles, partnerships, ventures, and fresh soil for nurturing participatory democracy.

  11. True Story Theater was awarded a $25,000 “Our Town” grant (2015-2017) from the National Endowment for the Arts to strengthen the Arlington MA community through the arts – specifically using improvisational Playback Theatre to illustrate the stories about the work of town committees. 24 public performances over two years will feature the themes at the heart of each committee’s work including human rights, diversity, climate change preparedness, and more. 24 free workshops open to town committee volunteers (or prospective volunteers) will show them how to have more creatively satisfying meetings and learn to tell more vividly why they give their time so they can attract others into the work.

  12. From Diane Bock…

    Community Cousins provides people of all backgrounds a ready opportunity to develop a personal stake in each other’s lives – Prejudice travels in all directions and comes in many forms, both subtle and overt. But the whole picture changes and issues are very different when they affect someone that we KNOW and CARE about personally. We are fighting racism one heart at a time with our participants teaching and ministering to each other.

  13. From Norlyn Dimmitt, FSA, co-founder of CompassionateCitizens.us…

    Compassionate Citizens Transpartisan Network is leveraging the Realtor industry to support the transpartisan movement, via “compassionate communities”, with a focus on reducing violence.

    [Connection-Realty.com + BridgeAlliance.US + CharterForCompassion.org + CureViolence.org]

    Violence turns out to intersect with many social justice arenas (restorative justice and poverty alleviation being among them), and CureViolence.org (right here in Chicago) turns out to be the #1 ranked NGO, among those devoted to reducing violence.

  14. City of Calgary’s This Is My Neighbourhood program staff are visiting 28 neighbourhoods in the next four years to talk with community members about what possibilities they imagine for their neighbourhood. This work will be a part of building a vision to help guide the development of City programs, services and small-scale infrastructure improvements in these neighbourhoods. This collaborative vision will help prioritize actions we can take together.

  15. Jim Rough says:

    The Center for Wise Democracy promotes a new strategy to facilitate a collaborative, creative whole-system public conversation on difficult topics, where “We the People” provide responsible leadership to government. Many experiments have been conducted in North America at local levels by citizen groups wishing to test this new-paradigm approach … in Victoria BC, Ashland OR, Ashville NC, Pleasantville NY, Port Townsend WA, Eugene OR, Oakland CA, and more. Primarily, this strategy has been picked up in Central Europe. For example, Germany is conducting a whole-nation participation process on “Envisioning the Future.” Also the Austrian state of Vorarlberg recently concluded a state-wide Wisdom Council on the issue of “Influx of Refugees.”

  16. *In 2016, part of my “Full Circle Dialogue” project has been bringing the practice and teachings of dialogue into retirement communities. Many studies have been done on the wide array of positive health benefits of mindfulness, compassion, and the feeling of being part of somethings greater than yourself; and these are qualities that emerge through the practice of dialogue. The older adults and “life-long learners” that reside in retirement communities can often times be forgotten about, and this program is not only acknowledges them, but leaves them feeling invigorated.

    *Another dialogue project I’ve been working on as of late is also in the “health and wellness” arena, and can be described as a marriage of the practice of yoga and dialogue. I’ve put together a program under the “Full Circle Dialogue” umbrella called “Yoga Circles.” As yoga practitioners deepen their practice, they realize it’s so much more than the physical postures. It becomes more about bringing compassion, mindfulness, and interconnectedness into regular day-to-day interactions. The Yoga Circles program shows how this can be done via dialogue, and how dialogue can even be looked at as the “Yoga of Conversation.”

  17. The Program for Deliberative Democracy and its spin off consulting business, the Art of Democracy, have worked with the City of Pittsburgh to institutionalize “Community Deliberative Forums” in areas like the selection process of the new Police Chief, the 2016 Budget and Affordable Housing. In doing so, we have made Pittsbrugh a “center for deliberative democracy” (endorsed by Mayor Bill Peduto).

  18. Manisha Paudel says:

    A few of us youth believers went to middle schools (public and private) to conduct an “input session”, where students were given a blank sheet of paper to write, doodle, or sketch whatever they wanted their community to be/look like in 10-15 years. Middle schoolers are often not targeted to for engagement, so it was a great way to find out how much these young minds really wanted everyone in their community to “get along and be friends”. 🙂

    • While this is not an area I am involved with, giving students in those grades the opportunity to explore issues together – and in a way that encourages the cultivation of civic virtues like respect and ‘giving reasons’ – could result in side benefits such as less disruptive classes (since the students will have gotten to know one another in a ‘community’ setting…

      • Manisha Paudel says:

        Absolutely! Some even said that they felt good to be included in the conversation – I worked for the City that was in the process of renewing its Comprehensive Plan! The students absolutely got to know each other better, and we realized the students in predominantly wealthy neighborhoods wanted something very different (theme parks, bigger libraries) vs. students that lived in rather poor neighborhoods (parks, community events, etc).

  19. As part of its Civility Project, Consensus provided pro bono consulting to the office of Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Mark Holland. We helped the mayor move beyond the public hearing model and get meaningful citizen input on how to spend a $12 million windfall. We worked with his team to design a small-group process and train volunteer facilitators for a series of eight listening sessions.

  20. Richmond Action Dialogues is completing their series of five community conversations in two counties on Racism and Prejudice. They have used film and slam poetry as inspirations for the dialogues. Participants have included members of the Board of Supervisors, School Board, the Fire Chief and leaders of community organizations such as NAACP.

  21. The University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA) students of COMM 1830: Solving Public Problems hosted a student dialogue regarding student off-campus housing concerns. Informed by a 200-student preliminary survey, 50 students discussed their top concerns: transportation and the quality and cost of housing.

  22. The Iowa Program for Public Life hosted the North Liberty For All conversation where North Liberty (Eastern Iowa) residents discussed current problems, the ideal community, and how to achieve that ideal. Housing is a primary concern, as is the lack of transportation and a high cost of renting. Residents discussed many viable solutions including changing zoning and petitioning elected officials.

  23. The “Affording Coralville” (Eastern Iowa) conversation included three rounds: current community needs, values of the ideal community and solutions. Participants found transportation, housing, and economics are central concerns and their conversation continued as they tried to solidify Coralville’s ideal future and what community members needed to do to achieve this future.

  24. “Johnson County (Eastern Iowa) for All: How Can We Make Johnson County Livable for All of Its Residences?” was held April 16, 2016. A group of about 60 individuals, including citizens, elected officials, nonprofit organizations, and business owners, utilized the World Café and Open Space methods in small roundtable discussions about their needs, assets, and next action steps.

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