Opportunity to Host a Jefferson Dinner!

We are excited to announce NCDD is working with NCDD member organization The Village Square to support dialogues across the country using the format of the Jefferson Dinner, which invites people with differences of opinion to discuss an important topic over dinner.  These dinners are compelling experiences that The Village Square wants you to experience firsthand, and so we are letting you all know about an exciting opportunity!

Because they are particularly interested in making this surprisingly powerful tool available to NCDD members, they are offering stipends to at least 15 moderators to organize and facilitate a Jefferson Dinner. And the best part is that you can pick the topic for your dinner from any current political or civic topic around which there is substantial disagreement in the public square.

Some history about this tradition: Jefferson hosted his dinners at a time when prospects weren’t good that our new republic would hold together. Early legislators were described as coming to work “in the spirit of avowed misunderstanding, without the smallest wish to agree.” Sound familiar? Jefferson hosted dinners that were profoundly humanizing for these angry opponents. One dinner – with guests Alexander Hamilton and James Madison – resulted in the Dinner Table Bargain of 1790, widely credited with saving the American experiment.

In the same way that Jefferson mastered the art of these dinners as a way to make things happen that mattered to him, The Village Square would like you to experience how you can do the same.  Your dinner is about what’s in your heart  – whether that’s starting a civic project, running for office, contemplating solutions to a problem that deeply concerns you or imagining the future. By intentionally gathering people with diverse opinions – something that doesn’t happen enough these days – you’re harnessing incredible power toward whatever matters to you.

All that’s really required: 8-12 diverse guests, 1 dinner table and a welcoming environment. Could be your home, a private room at a restaurant, or a picnic table at a park. If you’re feeling inspired, put a modern twist on it & make it a brunch. Live a little!

The Village Square also hosts group Jefferson Dinners (a number of conversations in the same room, as part of a public event) and is delighted to support you in offering this format as well.

Find the Village Square’s Jefferson Dinner project online: www.jeffersondinner.org.  Read a feature piece about a dinner here.

This is a great opportunity for members to use this model to connect people who normally wouldn’t share a meal together and experience its potential to form the basis of unique alliances. NCDD would love to see a whole bunch of our members get involved with Dinners across the country. It’s another great way we can work to strengthen community connections and help people bridge divides, at this particularly divisive time in our nation.

If you are interested and would like to connect with organizers to learn more about how the dinner format can be used to achieve your goals, please fill out this quick form here and they will contact you directly!

For more information about The Village Square please visit https://tlh.villagesquare.us/. The Jefferson Dinner project is funded by a grant from the Bridge Alliance and in partnership with the 92Y’s Ben Franklin Circles project (all NCDD Members!).

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. ”  — Thomas Jefferson

NCDD to Present at Public Library Association Conference

NCDD is excited to announce that we will be co-presenting a session at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia, PA on Friday, March 23rd at 2:00pm. Along with our partners at the American Library Association Public Program’s Office, NCDD will be talking with public librarians about the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change initiative and will help them further explore how libraries can engage their communities through dialogue and deliberation. The session is open to all attendees.

The description for the session, titled Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change is below:

Through Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC), ALA seeks to strengthen communities by giving libraries the tools they need to bring disparate voices together and lead change. Public librarians who have completed LTC: Models for Change training will share real-world experiences with World Café, Future Search and Everyday Democracy’s methods for dialogue and deliberation. Participants will break into triads to try out tools with each other and discuss next steps for taking this learning home.

At the end of this session, participants will:

1: Learn specific context applications for dialogue and deliberation models

2: Gain confidence with facilitation instruments through modeling

3: Learn where to go and how to acquire skills aligned with specific deliberation models (e.g. Everyday Democracy, World Café) following the session

The session will also include an exercise in crafting questions to promote good dialogue and deliberation, as well as sharing updates on the initiative, such as the upcoming opportunities for librarians to learn more about Conversation Cafe and Future Search. More information on the current webinar series now underway for public libraries serving small, mid-sized and rural communities can be found here.

About Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change

This session is offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). The initiative seeks to introduce libraries to various dialogue and deliberation approaches, enabling libraries to foster conversation and lead change in their communities.

LTC: Models for Change is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant RE-40-16-0137-16.

Announcing the March Tech Tuesday Featuring Synaccord

NCDD is excited to announce our next Tech Tuesday featuring David Fridley of Synaccord. This FREE event will take place Tuesday, March 20th from 2:00-3:00pm Eastern/11:00-Noon Pacific. Don’t miss out – register today to secure your spot!

Public deliberation can engage communities in discussions that lead to awesome solutions with tremendous support! Online deliberative tools should help achieve this by augmenting and extending face to face deliberative structures, not replacing them. It is not a question of one or the other, it’s about how the two work together to achieve bigger better results.

David Fridley is the founder of Synaccord, LLC and member of NCDD since 2015 and he has been taking the best practices of face to face deliberative discussions and translating them into online experiences to enhance and expand face to face deliberative discussion. David will demonstrate the latest release of tools for online deliberation and explain the discussion stages in terms of their face to face analogs.  He will show where face to face discussions and online discussions add value to each other, creating better results than either can achieve separately.

He will lead a discussion of the challenges facing online discussion and the concerns public bodies have, and how they are overcome. And, he will have a special offer for NCDDers who want to help a public body discover awesome solutions with tremendous support.

This will be an interesting session, with demonstration of online deliberation tools and thoughtful discussion. Don’t miss out on this great exchange – register today!

Tech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. These 1-hour events are designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate in our Tech Tuesday learning events.

 

Register for NCDD’s February Tech Tuesday with Iceland’s Citizens Foundation!

NCDD is happy to announce our February Tech Tuesday, featuring Iceland’s Citizens Foundation and their digital democracy tools. This event takes place Tuesday, February 13th from 2-3pm Eastern/11am-Noon Pacific – register today to join us!

Róbert Bjarnason, from the nonprofit Citizens Foundation in Iceland, will present digital tools for upgrading democracy in Iceland and beyond, outlining the Foundation’s digital democracy work since 2008. Projects including policy crowdsourcing and participatory budgeting using open source tools will be demonstrated in this webinar. As highlighted in the Financial Times, since 2011 the citizens of Reykjavik have voted online to select close to 1,000 community improvement projects totaling over $20 million dollars.

The Citizens Foundation open source digital democracy tools have been used in over 20 countries and by over 1 million people to change policy and help rebuild trust between citizens and their governments. Collaborating with E-Democracy.org in the United States to help others deploy and measure civic digital outreach efforts, a new case study (request a copy) comparing paid Facebook and Google advertising used to reach nearly every citizen of Iceland will be shared in brief.

Róbert is a successful entrepreneur that introduced the web to Iceland in 1993 and in 1995 to Denmark. Before co-founding the Citizens Foundation in the year 2008 he worked in the online gaming industry where his team received many industry awards.

Robert has many years experience and much success in using digital tools for democracy, and he is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and experience with us. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity – register today!

Tech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. These 1-hour events are designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate in our Tech Tuesday learning events.

Announcing the April NCDD Confab Call!

Join us on Tuesday, April 10th from 1-2:30pm Eastern/ 10-11:30am Pacific, join us for the first Confab call of 2018. NCDD member, Linda Ellinor, will be interviewing Paul Cienfuegos of Community Rights US. They will be addressing the growing success of the Community Rights movement which is empowering citizens to pass local laws that protect our right to clean air and water, safe food, living wage jobs, and much more, in their local communities. Register today to reserve your slot!

About the Community Rights movement:

Since its inception in 1999, over 200 communities and counties in nine states have passed legally and culturally groundbreaking Community Rights ordinances that have banned harmful corporate activities such as fracking, water bottling, unsustainable energy development, aerial spraying of pesticides on farms and forests, and much more. These local laws also enshrine Nature as having locally enforceable Rights to exist, flourish and evolve. This is a real breakthrough approach for those of us in NCDD trying to facilitate effective community engagement projects especially around environmental and social justice issues. Come learn how to help your communities work ’outside the regulatory law box’ that has made it virtually impossible to block predatory corporate projects such as factory farms, GMOs, and mining operations from coming in and destroying local communities and ecosystems.

About the presenters:

Paul Cienfuegos is a national leader in the Community Rights movement, which works to dismantle corporate constitutional so-called “rights” and assert The People’s inherent right to govern themselves. He has been leading workshops across the US since 1995. Launched in October 2017, Paul is the founding director of Community Rights US. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Linda Ellinor pioneered Bohm Dialogue in the 1990s and is now focused on climate change activism and helping to found the “Academy for Professional Dialogue’, slated to be launched in 2018.

This call is not-to-miss – register today to join us for this conversation!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’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 fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Last Chance to Have Your Contributions to NCDD Matched!

Dear NCDD Supporters, 

We are just four days away from the end of 2017, and that means there are just a few days remaining for your to make a tax-deductible contribution to NCDD.

NCDD is a small organization with a huge reach. Our staff of four work hard to keep our members and contacts (all 30,000 of you!) up to speed on the latest news and information in the field of dialogue & deliberation. And we look forward to continuing to connect you and provide opportunities for you all to learn and collaborate together in 2018 – especially with our next national conference! Take a look at this letter from our Board of Directors for more information on our aims for 2018 and beyond.

Your support, whether membership dues or donation, goes directly to helping our staff make it all happen. We run on a small budget, so every little bit counts! Plus, right now your contributions will continue to be matched, up to $1,500! There is no time like the present to make a contribution, whether $5 or $50. 

So as you reflect on 2017, and celebrate the coming of the new year, consider NCDD in your giving. We appreciate all the support we receive from this wonderful community, and we look forward to continuing this important work together in 2018. 

Thank you,

Courtney, Sandy, Joy & Keiva

Second Opportunity to Double Your Contribution To NCDD!

Thanks to everyone who has stepped up by donating or renewing membership dues — we have raised a total of $4,761 to date! Today, we’re announcing that NCDD Board Chair Martin Carcasson and an anonymous donor are prepared to match up to $1,500 if other donations and member dues can match that amount by December 31st. So, now is the time to donate, even if you can only give $5 or $10!

A huge thank you to Martin Carcasson and our anonymous donor! If you don’t know Martin’s work already, you should check out the Center for Public Deliberation, which Martin directs.

These matches make your money go farther – a donation of $25 becomes $50, and every additional bit goes to help NCDD’s staff continue to bring you the latest news, events, and opportunities to engage with and learn from one another.

Here’s a couple ways you can support NCDD during the drive:

  • Make a donation here.
  • Renew your NCDD membership. Consider upgrading to a sponsor member! Learn more about the additional benefits of this level at www.ncdd.org/join.
  • Not a member? Join NCDD! We have several options for membership, so choose what works best for you.

Check here on the fund drive page to see our progress!  We’re also acknowledging our donors and their contributions on that page, and feature some quotes from leaders in our field about why they feel NCDD is worth supporting.

Our goal for this fund drive is $15,000, and I would love to see us reach $10,000 before the Christmas holiday.Your money will go twice as far for the organization, so take this opportunity and act today!

Letter from the NCDD Board of Directors

Dear NCDD Supporter,

With so many crucial and important issues facing society today – from health crises, to disconnection, to mass shootings, to nuclear threats – even if we could talk about these issues together, it would be a deadly serious time….

But, of course, we can’t even do that some days.

XS Purple NCDD logo

As you know, the National Coalition of Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) is a gathering place for people who know it doesn’t have to be this way – and who are doing something concrete about it. While so many others fret and philosophize about the current polarization and hyper-partisanship, this organization and its members offer practical answers that have been shown to make exactly the difference this country needs.

In the very moment this country could benefit the most from the collective skill set of this community of “domestic peacekeepers” (NCDD member Joan Blades, Living Room Conversations), however, most people remain caught up in the rhetoric of the “professional polarizers” (NCDD member Liz Joyner, Village Square).

We believe it’s time for that to change. It’s time to raise the profile of the work of our network in a way that far more Americans know about it. The Board and NCDD staff have been discussing a number of ways to do just that over the next several years:

  • Collaborative efforts to lift up the stories of NCDD members and the communities they work with making these changes. Highlight that this work happens at every level – neighborhood, local, regional, state, national, and global; in public and private sectors.
  • Bringing this network together with journalists, social justice organizations and activists, government officials, and others whose work and goals can be enhanced by better public engagement, dialogue and deliberation.
  • Fostering partnerships between NCDD members, libraries, and other community institutions to expand the public’s access to D&D.

But everything takes resources. What we can do will depend on having sufficient resources to do it. If you believe it is time for these kinds of changes in our country, please consider making a donation to these efforts – so we can get what we offer as a community in front of more and more Americans.

All contributions are welcome, whether they are $10 or $1000. Please visit www.ncdd.org/2017-funddrive to make your tax deductible donation today! Or, consider joining or renewing your membership in NCDD. You will be helping NCDD reach our $15,000 goal, which will be such a boost to these efforts in 2018. Thank you so much for supporting NCDD.

Sincerely,

NCDD Board of Directors:

Martin Carcasson, Chair
Susan Stuart Clark
Simone Talma Flowers
Jacob Hess
Betty Knighton
Wendy Willis

Thank You for Rising to the 48 Hour Challenge!

I am humbled by the support coming through for NCDD’s work. We announced at noon last Wednesday that Simone Talma Flowers was matching up to $1000 in additional donations by Friday at noon, and by that time we had exceeded the $1000!

Over the 48 hour challenge, contributions totalled $1,228              (check them out here). With the match, that brings our two-day total to $2,228! As of this morning, we have raised a total of $3,746 for NCDD. We still have a little ways to go in reaching our goal of $15,000, but it has been so heartening to see this support for NCDD, especially during the holiday season! It means so much to Sandy, Joy, Keiva and I to witness such support, both in donations and membership renewals the past two weeks!

If you haven’t yet participated in the fund drive, you still have time (not to worry!). You can contribute at any time at tinyurl.com/ncddfunddrive. If you would rather, renew your membership for another year (or join NCDD, if you are not currently a member!). Both types of contributions are tax deductible, and help NCDD greatly in continuing to offer our programs and services. We appreciate you all and thank you for your continued support!

48 Hour Matching Challenge – Double Your Donation!

NCDD Board Member Simone Talma Flowers has committed to donating $1,000 to the End-of-Year Fund Drive if donations match that amount over the next 48 hours (by noon EST Friday).  So now’s the time to donate! Any amount will help us get to this goal of raising $1,000 to match Simone’s donation, whether it’s $10 or $100.

A huge thank you to Simone for this matching donation!  Simone joined this board this year and has been a wonderful supporter of this work. Simone is the Executive Director of Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT). iACT cultivates peace and respect through interfaith dialogue, service, and celebration. Folks in our network might be interested in their project The Red Bench, a dialogue program to improve interfaith understanding and civil discourse. This is just one of many great programs iACT offers the Central Texas communities it serves. For more information, check out their website.

Our goal for this End-of-Year Fund Drive is $15,000, and I would love to see us take a big step towards that goal this week. Every bit is greatly appreciated and is, in effect, doubled until Friday at noon!

Check here on the fund drive page for more information and for updates on our progress! We’re also acknowledging our donors and their contributions on that page, and feature some quotes from leaders in our field about why they feel NCDD is worth supporting.