Exciting New Book on 30 Years of Participatory Budgeting

For our participatory budgeting enthusiasts out there (and we know there are a lot of you!), NCDD member org – the Participatory Budgeting Project, recently shared the exciting new book, Hope for Democracy: 30 years of participatory budgeting worldwide. The 600-page volume, edited by Nelson Dias, features over 60 authors on their experiences with PB across the world over the last 30 years and offers great insights for how to further grow the PB movement. We are thrilled to note that folks are able to download this book for free! You can read more about it in the post below and find the original announcement on the PBP site here.


Hope for Democracy: A New Book Reflects on 30 Years of Participatory Budgeting

An expansive new volume edited by Nelson Dias features dispatches by more than 60 authors from the frontlines of participatory budgeting’s (PB) growth around the world. This book, Hope for Democracy, could not have come out at a better time for PB supporters in North America. Next year will mark 10 years of PB in the US and new opportunities to take PB to the next level: a big citywide process approved in NYC, hundreds of new school PB processes, and growing political interest in strengthening democracy.

To make the most of these great opportunities to revitalize democracy, we need to first learn from PB’s growth internationally. Dias and his collaborators deliver countless insights in their 600-page panorama. (Download the book for free here.)

We lift up the biggest lessons below…

Why have Hope for Democracy?
Dias begins with an overview of key trends in PB as it spread from Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989 to over 7,000 localities around the world. PB experts Brian Wampler, Stephanie McNulty, and Michael Touchton note how in Brazil during the 1990s, leftist politicians and activists championed PB as a radical project to “broaden the confines of representative democracy, mobilize followers, and achieve greater social justice” (p. 55); over time, it attracted support from a wide range of actors, including international organizations like the World Bank, because of its potential to improve governance and promote civic engagement. Giovanni Allegretti and Kalinca Copello discuss how, as PB spread internationally, new processes often committed fewer funds, whether measured as lower PB spending per person or as a smaller share of PB in the overall budgets (p. 45).

Benjamin Goldfrank and Katherine Landes examine how this trend has played out in the U.S. and Canada. They report that PB has expanded more slowly than other regions in terms of the number of cities implementing it, the amount of participants, and the volume of funds (p. 161). Yet, Goldfrank and Landes demonstrate this is not due to a lack of public interest: “we find that where PB allocates larger pots of money, the rate of participation tends to be higher” (p. 172). In other words, the more dollars that a PB process allocates, the more people care about it. Moreover, two bright spots on the horizon indicate that PB may grow faster in coming years: its mounting presence in schools and its rising appeal among progressive activists and politicians.

In the light of the recent victories in NYC—PB in all public high schools and citywide PB approved into the city charter—this watershed may be closer than the Goldfrank and Landes anticipated. Chapters on Paris, Russia, and Portugal offer additional insights on how to scale up PB in North America.

Paris offers a model of PB going big
Paris currently runs the largest PB process in the world. Similar to NYC’s coming city-wide process, PB in Paris was championed by a progressive mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who successfully campaigned on bringing PB to Paris in her 2014 election. Mayor Hidalgo wasted no time in implementing her plan of dedicating 5% of the city’s capital budget to PB over the first five years (That’s roughly 500 million euros!). Tiago Peixoto and colleagues use the Paris case to study large-scale issues, like whether online voting improves the process or biases it towards more privileged residents. Their research finds that voting patterns between online voters and those who vote in person are remarkably similar.

PB in Russia innovates, expands rapidly
In 2015, Russia experienced a turning point after which the number of PB processes grew surprisingly fast. This occurred when the Ministry of Finance noted the positive outcomes in regional PB processes and created a framework known as Initiative Financing. The next year, 8,732 PB projects were implemented. By 2018, half of all regional governments in the country (the equivalent of U.S. states) decided to set up PB programs.

Why did so many regions begin PB so quickly, when the federal government did not provide financial incentives to do so? Ivan Shulga and Vladimir Vagin emphasize how the central framework and technical assistance provided by the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank made regional implementation much easier. These processes also made use of some innovative institutional designs. In some programs, municipalities, businesses, organizations, and citizens pledged to co-finance projects, increasing their chance of receiving regional funding. Another program used a form of sortition or citizen jury, in which a cohort of volunteer budget delegates was randomly selected, to work with experts to turn project ideas into full-fledged and feasible proposals.

Portugal leads the way with national PB
Portugal was the first country to run nation-wide PB. While the process is not particularly large in terms of public participation or budget, it does provide one model of a large-scale institutional design that bridges disparate regions.

Roberto Falanga outlines how the process collected nearly 1,000 ideas from each part of the country in 50 assemblies and winnowed them down into viable proposals for a vote. The process did not use budget delegates to revise the proposals. While this may streamline the process, it runs the risk of giving experts and officials more power than public participants. However, an effort was made to minimize this danger by requiring detailed reasons for rejecting proposals and re-including ones that could be revised and made feasible. Still, proposals that were backed by informal social networks may have received undue prominence. For example a bullfighting project won funding even though a majority of the Portuguese public believes that the practice should be banned.

Reflecting on what’s been done, ready for more
It’s an exciting moment to get involved with PB. And it’s an important time to reflect on how far different regions have taken PB. While there are currently around 100 active processes in the U.S. and Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean hosts around 2,500 processes and Europe 3,500. We have some catching up to do.

Donate here to help PB grow.

You can find the original version of this announcement on the Participatory Budgeting Project’s site at www.participatorybudgeting.org/hope-for-democracy-a-new-book-reflects-on-30-years-of-participatory-budgeting/.

Support NCDD this #GivingTuesday!

Want to join us in supporting a good cause? This #GivingTuesday the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) is asking for your support in our mission to bring together and support people, organizations, and resources in ways that expand the power of discussion to benefit society.

NCDD envisions a future in which all people–regardless of income, position, background or education–are able to engage regularly in lively, thoughtful, and challenging discussions about what really matters to them, in ways that have a positive impact on their lives and their world. We envision a society in which systems and structures support and advance inclusive, constructive, dialogue and deliberation.

NCDD is a small outfit, with just four part-time staff, and we rely on the support of our network and friends to help us continue to educate people on dialogue and deliberation, and to build this national coalition. Your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500.

For today only, Facebook and PayPal will match a total of $7 million in donations. Starting at 8am Eastern/5am Pacific, donations made through our Facebook page, will be matched – so please give what you can and help NCDD continue to support this network of innovators!  If you don’t use Facebook, you can always make a donation of any amount on our donation page.

Everyone who contributes to NCDD’s Giving Tuesday fundraiser will be thanked on our website and in our November newsletter. Additionally, the first 15 people to donate $50 or more will get a special NCDD notebook as a thank you for your support.

For sixteen years, NCDD has worked hard to gather visionaries and practitioners dedicated to raising the quality of discourse across many key issues and questions. Many of you have been a part of that – and we’re grateful for you!

As you reflect back on your years of association, we’re curious: how much has this network meant to you? Has it made a difference for good in some way? In what ways can we continue to drive NCDD together to support each other doing this work?

Please consider a #GivingTuesday donation to help us continue this work into the new year. More than ever before, we could use the help and support – and would be so grateful for your assistance!

We recognize there are a lot of fantastic organizations out there to donate to on Giving Tuesday, but we hope you consider donating to NCDD, which plays such a critical role in building capacity for improved democracy, conversation, and connection (which, we argue, is actually the most important issue we face right now as a country). It is really tough for organizations like NCDD to fundraise and be sustainable because it is a network of organizations, practitioners, and volunteers. Most of the members understandably have to focus on their own organizations and efforts. But networks like NCDD are critical to build a community of practice and grow the field. 

If you don’t know very much about us, we encourage you to check out some of the great benefits of NCDD and become a member. If you are already connected, please consider donating, even just a little bit, especially since it can be matched this morning.

Thank you for your support this Giving Tuesday!

Democracy Fund Creates New Team to Support Strategic Investment in our Democracy

Hot off the digital press! Democracy Fund, an NCDD 2018 sponsor, announced this morning they are building a new team dedicated to being a better resource for donors and the field; in order to support strategic efforts to invest in our country’s democracy. Currently, there is very little funding given to those working to improve our democracy, and it is vital to invest resources to those doing this work if our democracy is to survive. Democracy Fund is seeking a Director of Partnerships to lead this newly created team and stay tuned for the program rollout which will offer investment strategy resources, educational events, and joint funding opportunities.

On a related note, if you are looking to support an organization working to further democracy then consider donating to NCDD! We are one of the leading organizations that work to foster the D&D field and support those working to actualize a truer democracy. This Giving Tuesday, Facebook will match your donations – so double your impact and donate tomorrow through our NCDD FB page here! We encourage you to read the announcement below and find the original on Democracy Fund’s site here.


Building a Team to Invest in Democracy

Following the 2016 election, Democracy Fund heard from many philanthropists seeking advice on what they can do to respond to the threats facing our political system. For some, the last two years have brought a newly pervasive sense that our democracy is under threat and that our political system is far more fragile than most of us assumed. We feel the same way, and we are humbled that interested donors and their advisors are turning to us and to our peers for guidance.

Through our efforts to support these new partners, we discovered that Democracy Fund can play a helpful role in providing advice and connections to philanthropists who are learning about the field. To that end, I am delighted to share that we are building a new team at Democracy Fund to help us be a better resource to philanthropists, advisors, and our peers. The team will be led by a newly created position, the Director of Partnerships. (Read and share the job description here.)

This swell in philanthropic interest comes at a pivotal time. Despite a clear and pressing need, the level of philanthropic support for this field remains critically low. Whether you look at voting, journalism, or civic education, many of the most capable and innovative organizations in the space have struggled through multiple cycles of feast and famine and need more resources to meet the challenges at hand.

To make progress on issues that are important to the American people and to ensure the health of our democracy for future generations, the United States needs deep investment by philanthropists and advocates. Policy reforms ranging from the future of affordable housing to climate change depend on a political system that is responsive to the public. A more equitable society requires eliminating barriers to voting and reducing the influence of money on politics. And improving the ability of individuals and communities to thrive rests on a functioning government, fair enforcement of the rule of law, and stability in our politics. Despite the reality that progress hinges on a healthy democracy, the field receives less than two percent of overall philanthropic giving.

Building a healthier democracy together

Working with our peer funders, we hope the Democracy Fund Partnerships team can be a resource to donors and to the field. Our goal is to make the expert capacity of our staff and our collaborative approach available to interested philanthropists. We believe that enlisting greater philanthropic energy, ideas, and resources to the fields in which we work is one of the most effective ways for us to meet the scale of the challenge.

Our new team will educate and engage philanthropists who are new to democracy with the goal of helping them to enter the field. Led by the Director of Partnerships, the team will help donors and their advisors make strategic decisions to invest in our country’s democracy. It will take some time and experimentation to build this program, but there are a few things you should expect to see:

  • Resources: Democracy Fund will work with our peers to develop resources that help new donors to better understand the space, including investment guides highlighting the most innovative and high-impact strategies and organizations in the field. The Foundation Center’s data tool for the democracy field is an excellent example of the kind of resource we have helped create in the past that can help philanthropists understand the existing landscape.
  • Educational Events: Over the past 18 months, Democracy Fund has partnered with the Giving Pledge to educate members of that network about opportunities to strengthen democracy in the United States. We expect to organize more briefings and workshops like those we organized with Giving Pledge to inform new donors.
  • Joint Funds: Democracy Fund participates in and has created several collaborative funds that enable donors to easily contribute to vetted, highly effective grantees working to protect the health of our government, elections, and free press. Our Public Square program, for example, works with other journalism funders through NewsMatch, the North Carolina Local News Lab Fund, and the Community Listening and Engagement Fund. We aim to work with our peers to develop other similar funds that make it easier for new donors to enter the space.

Our Commitment to the Field

Our new efforts to build philanthropic partnerships will not slow our existing efforts to deploy our resources to support the field. Since Democracy Fund began, we have committed more than $100 million in grants and built a team of more than 45 people with deep expertise on issues ranging from journalism and elections to Congress and government accountability. Thanks to the generosity and leadership of Pierre Omidyar we intend to continue to invest at a similar level in the coming years.

At the same time, our commitment to our existing grantees will not limit our advice to new donors – we hope to help philanthropists find their own path into the field, whether or not it mirrors the path that we have chosen.

We are grateful for the mentorship and ongoing partnership of many foundations who have supported this field for decades, including the Knight Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. At such a deeply important moment for our country, we are excited to begin this important work and will continue to share our progress as the team grows and the program develops.

You can find the original version of this announcement on Democracy Fund’s site at www.democracyfund.org/blog/entry/building-a-team-to-invest-in-democracy.

Moving Past Couch-Potato Democracy to Engagement

In the sixth installment of their series, democracy around the world, NCDD sponsoring member, the Jefferson Center, wrote this piece on how Americans can be more civically engaged and address our challenging issues. Many of the states in the U.S. are designed to give the people even more power to shape legislation through initiatives and referendums. The article challenges for people to push more into civic life and participate in government, especially when their elected officials are not. You can read the article below and find the original version of it on the Jefferson Center site https://jefferson-center.org/2018/09/initiate-democracy-across-the-united-states/here.


It’s Time to Initiate Democracy Across the United States

This is the sixth post in our blog series exploring democracy around the world, submitted by a diverse group of people interested in using deliberation, participation, and civic tech to solve challenges we face today. The following does not necessarily represent the views of the Jefferson Center or Jefferson Center staff.

John Hakes is a freelance writer and Certified Public Accountant who has worked with the U.S. Census Bureau and Questar Assessment Inc. He earned his Master’s Degree in Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. – First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

In the opening blog of this series, guest blogger Ross Busch suggested a national assembly model recently employed by the country of Ireland– on an agenda of climate change leadership, aging population and abortion– might be used to address the seemingly intractable issue of gun control in the United States.

If Ireland, a nation with a centuries-long entrenched position on the sensitive abortion issue can use informed reasoning to assess the will of the people through assembly— the Busch reasoning goes– there is hope people could do likewise on other emotionally-charged issues.

We will now ‘wait ‘n see’ whether Busch’s clarion call takes root around the world. But meanwhile, in November, the twin ‘people power’ petition mechanism afforded to American citizens by the First Amendment will be exercised on the issue of gun control. That’s when Washington citizens will decide whether they wish to add parameters to the use of firearms through a vote of the people via Initiative I-1639.

The Initiative Tool

Should you call states like Hawaii, New Mexico, Iowa, North Carolina, Maryland, or around 20 others home, you may not be not familiar with the initiative process.

Unlike a referendum, where a question must come from a given jurisdiction’s legislative body, a citizen initiative is typically created when a certain number of ‘registered voter’ signatures are gathered on a question proposed to become law.  Initiatives can either be direct (where potential new law is decided on by voters) or indirect (where the affirmed petition question is handed to a Legislature for it to decide on).

The state of Washington’s citizen initiative process was enacted in 1897. The I-1639 effort began when the gun measure petition received the requisite number of signatures from across the state.  Naturally, the road from ‘obtaining a verifiable set of signatures’ to ‘Secretary of State approval’ to ‘finalized question on the November ballot’ has been met by significant counter challenges. But on August 24, 2018, a ruling of the Washington Supreme Court officially permitted the existence of the ‘gun measures’ question to be included on the November 6th ballot .

Initiative and Referendum in the U.S.

Less than half of the U.S. states allow their citizens to raise & legally install the answer to a question through the initiative process. More western than eastern states have this process in place.

At least partly due to the continually shifting voting preferences over time in a given electorate, states currently deemed ‘red’ and ‘blue’ both offer legislation-by-initiative. Washington & California are examples of so-called blue states while North Dakota and Arizona are counted among ‘red’ states that utilize initiatives.

Unsurprisingly, voter turnout in these states has historically been 5 to 7 percent higher than in states without initiative and referendum (states with one typically offer the other). The reason for this is simple: voters feel that their vote for or against a grassroots-raised issue on the ballot does make a difference.

Despite being a state that frequently leads the nation in voter turnout,  Minnesota–also well-known for possessing a strong political and civic culture–features neither an Initiative or Referendum component in its democratic procedural toolkit.

Like every other state, Minnesota does allow questions pertaining to  legislatively-referred, state constitutional amendments to be decided on by voters.  There have been three periods in which the right to decide by Initiative has been seriously considered in Minnesota, with the last push led by MN House Representative Erik Paulsen during the Jesse Ventura administration of the early 2000s.

Looking ahead

Although it’s true that social media has the power to amplify voices and mobilize people to achieve ‘a’ form of grassroots push on a given issue, such sentiments too often blow away with the wind of the next incoming news cycle.  Rather than focusing only on the  couch-potato democracy by electronic device, Americans in half of the U.S. states should exercise the legal levers they already have to permanently alter the law when their elected representatives don’t seem up to the task.

To quote the Busch piece again: “Conversations between ordinary citizens on complex topics are perhaps the greatest defense against the degradation of modern politics.”

What better way to begin stepping across the street for face-to-face conversation than to create outcomes on even an incredibly divisive issue through an Initiative provision, like approximately half of our country’s people have the legal luxury of doing?

And though founders like James Madison would likely be one to equate the Initiative process with ill-advisedly caving to the passions of the people, perhaps even our celebrated ‘Father of the Constitution’ might see the diligence and organization required of Initiative efforts as preferable to the Rule by Retweet method that regularly influences the course of events today.

Thanks to efforts like those who’ve advanced the I-1639 in Washington, political pockets of our country are arguably “deliberating, even when it’s difficult,” on important issues, as writer Ross Busch recommends.

You can find the original version of this article on The Jefferson Center site at www.jefferson-center.org/2018/09/initiate-democracy-across-the-united-states/.

Rural Lessons on Weaving Civic Fabric

NCDD member Public Agenda recently reposted an article on their blog that talks about the ways in which rural America is a great incubator and educator of civil society. The original article shares five lessons that rural communities can teach on how to form and maintain a civil society, and they illustrate this point through the use of a magic carpet analogy. In order to make society fly, we need to work together to weave the carpet – but in smaller rural areas, people often have to take on several civic roles to repair the carpet along the way. You can read the article below and find the original version on PA’s site here.


What Rural America Can Teach Us About Civil Society

When one thinks about “community engagement” or “public participation” the image is often of a neighborhood meeting, or a public hearing. Implicitly, the background setting is a town or city.

I’m glad to highlight analysis by Allen Smart and Betsey Russell about What Rural America Can Teach Us about Civil Society.

Allen is leading a project at Campbell University to identify, align, and energize effective rural philanthropy around the country. Betsey is a philanthropy writer and researcher, currently developing a series of case studies about successful rural funding approaches.

Smart and Russell focus on dispelling stereotypes of rural America.

There is a popular, longstanding perception (among urban folk) that rural America is somehow separate from the rest of us…. Seen either as one large, poorly educated and impoverished backwater (a rural dystopia as in the film Deliverance), or a self-segregated, agrarian utopia…. (À la the sitcom “Green Acres”). Post 2016, another frame has emerged: that of rural America as an angry white mob that votes counter to its own interests.

Their nice metaphor is of a magic flying carpet:

We believe civil society exists when people who live in a defined geographic proximity work cooperatively—even when they strongly disagree with or dislike one another—to sustain mutually beneficial conditions. Think of civil society as a magic flying carpet that, to hold a community aloft, must contain many different fibers.

Five lessons are derived from their experience with rural community engagement and philanthropy. Two highlights:

Civil society is rooted in actions, not words.

…while some urban researchers, thinkers, and pundits may spend time developing and analyzing theories about civil society, people in rural communities are spending time imagining and incubating the “real-world” conversations, partnerships, mutual understandings, and trust necessary to create it.

Civil society can become a bastion of the privileged.

In many cases, civil society in rural communities has been controlled by a few, much to the detriment of the whole…. Those in power are quick to serve on boards, run for office, donate to local organizations, and speak their minds. While this may ensure some consistency in leadership for civil society, the downside is that this small group of people ultimately control the community….Fortunately, rural communities can change this dynamic to foster civil society.

To find out about the other three lessons, here’s their August 2018 post. which is part of a partnership between  and the nonprofit group Independent Sector called the Civil Society for the 21st Century series.

This blog was originally posted on Community Engagement Learning Exchangement — a University of North Carolina School of Government blog.

You can find the original version of this article on Public Agenda’s site at www.publicagenda.org/blogs/what-rural-america-can-teach-us-about-civil-society.

Common Ground for Action Dates in November & December

For those looking to get more experience with the Common Ground for Action (CGA) forums, there are several forums and open practice sessions happening throughout November and December. CGA is an online platform from NCDD member orgs, the National Issues Forums Institute and Kettering Foundation, to be used in conjunction with the NIFI issues guides and hold space for participants to deliberate on that specific issue. Forums will be held on a wide range of subjects, so we encourage you to learn more about the offerings and register to join! You can read the announcement in the post below and find the original information on NIFI’s site here.


Register to Join an Online Forum – November and December Dates Available

The Kettering Foundation (KF) and the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) are convening online Common Ground for Action (CGA) forums in November and December— these are great opportunities to share with people you’d like to experience a deliberative forum: teachers who might want to use deliberation in the classroom, partners on an issue who are new to forums.  Please share this post widely with your networks and on social media.

Register below to participate in any of the following CGA forums.

Common Ground for Action Open Forum Series:

What Should We Do About the Opioid Epidemic?  Register
Thursday November 1 @ 1:30p ET/10:30am PDT

Coming to America: Who Should We Welcome? What Should We Do?  Register
Tuesday November 13th @ 12:00pm ET/9:00am PDT

Changing World of Work: What Should We Ask of Higher Education?  Register
Monday November 26th @ 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PDT

Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?  Register
Wednesday December 5th @ 1:00pm ET/10:00am PDT

America’s Energy Future: How Can We Take Charge?  Register
Saturday December 15th @ 6:00pm ET/3:00pm PDT

November and December Common Ground for Action moderator practice sessions on Fridays. Register to join by signing up here!

This is an open practice session for new and seasoned Common Ground for Action online deliberation moderators. We will play around with features, workshop deliberative questions, and get practice moderating a robust online deliberative forum.

  • November 2nd @ 12p ET
  • November 9th @ 12p ET
  • November 16th @ 12p ET
  • November 30th @ 12p ET
  • December 7th @ 12p ET
  • December 14th @ 12p ET

You can find the original version of this announcement on NIFI’s site at www.nifi.org/en/register-join-online-forum-november-and-december-dates-available.

Celebrating Our Time Together at #NCDD2018!

Wow! We can barely believe it’s been a week since we all parted ways at #NCDD2018! The 8th National Conference on Dialogue and Deliberation convened hundreds of innovators and practitioners in dialogue, deliberation, civic engagement, and more. It was an incredible time to come together, see old friends and make new ones, learn from each other, and find ways in which we can conspire moving forward.

Lots of gratitude is in store for those who helped make #NCDD2018 the dynamic event that it was! An immense THANK YOU to our conference sponsors (and D&D champions) for your generous support – you truly help drive this work and this field forward, and we couldn’t do this without you!

Huge THANK YOU to our indispensable conference planning team who worked hard to make NCDD2018 such a great success! NCDD conferences are collaborative from the beginning, which is why it was vital to have such a creative and supportive planning team. These phenomenal individuals offered their precious hours and valuable skills to make this conference a sensational reality – helping design the event, getting the word out, and volunteering on the ground to make sure things went smoothly. Putting on an event like #NCDD2018 is no easy lift, but because of the incredible team we worked with, they made it both possible and a joy!

While the conference planning team worked hard to design a great event… it’s thanks to our fantastic attendees who really brought #NCDD2018 to life! It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and also meet lots of new folks who have been doing this work (many of whom were first-timers to NCDD conferences!). It’s exciting to say that with over 450 attendees – #NCDD2018 was our largest event yet!

Our theme for this conference was, Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators, and so we made sure to provide ample space for people to connect with each other, build relationships, and explore how to broaden the capacity for this work.

#NCDD2018 featured 6 pre-conference sessions and several other events on Thursday, and over the following three days we had: 60+ workshops, 3 engaging plenaries, 40+ presenters during the D&D Showcase, 3 mentoring sessions, dozens of posts on the Networking Board, and countless connections made throughout. This conference held space for fellow attendees to connect with each other by using the plentiful breakout rooms or getting out in the city for a Civic Dinner. If there was a session you didn’t see and/or wanted to explore a particular subject more, you could offer your own session during the plenaries for Open Space and ProAction Cafe. This conference had a unique opportunity for NCDDers to attend the kick-off community event for the White Privilege Symposium which was held in the main ballroom on Friday night and offered an evening of powerful performances on addressing inequality.

Not to rub it in too much, but if you weren’t able to join us, you really missed out!

Moving Forward to Connect and Strengthen Civic Innovators

NCDD conferences are always in-person reminders of just how powerful this work is and how truly catalytic we can be when we come together. We want the conferences to be incubators for motivation to do this work and connections to make it happen, both at the conference and beyond!

There are a few ways to enrich your experience at #NCDD2018 and/or tap into the knowledge of the conference (even if you weren’t able to join us in person). We encourage you to check out:

  • The conference Google drive folder – which can be found at: bit.ly/ncdd2018. We highly recommend that everyone please add your notes, slides from your presentations, and other info to the folder for everyone to share. We also hope you’ll upload the best pictures you took to this folder so we can see all of the smiling faces of NCDD!
  • Our interactive guidebook (hosted by Konveio) – view graphic recordings, post comments, connect with other attendees, and more at www.kauses.org/ncdd2018

Keep the conversation going on social media with the hashtags #NCDD2018#NCDD, and #NCDDEmergingLeaders or by participating in our NCDD Facebook Discussion Group. Don’t forget to follow NCDD on Facebook and Twitter!

Friendly reminder! At the conference, we shared a special offer for attendees to join NCDD as a member at a discounted rate and you got to experience first-hand the exciting potential of NCDD and being part of the Coalition. We want to remind folks who attended #NCDD2018 to take advantage of this limited time offer to join NCDD as a member ASAP while it still lasts! An email with the link on how to join at this special rate was sent out last week, so email me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org if you missed it.

We want to hear from you! The conference evaluation is up at www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCDD2018Eval. Please be sure to let us know what you loved, what could have been better, and any advice you have for the next planning team. We appreciate any feedback you can offer and will take it into consideration as we plan #NCDD2020. Thank you so much!

We are truly honored to be working to support our network and the important work you do. We will continue to share more in-depth updates on specific outcomes and next steps that emerged from the conference over the next weeks, so continue to check back here on the news blog for more.

For now, let’s bask in the great memories we made during this incredible gathering of our field while we make plans for advancing our work until the next time we all meet together for #NCDD2020!

Large Grant Available for Dialogues on Experience of War

Veteran’s Day offers us a chance to be intentional in our gratitude to those individuals who have served our country and honor the freedom they provided because of their service and sacrifice. Which is part of why we were eager to share this funding announcement for a $100K grant available that is geared toward veterans (but the application is due soon!). The National Endowment for the Humanities is offering up to $100,000 to support discussion programs designed to reach veterans and active military on the experience of war. The application is due November 15, so make sure you submit yours ASAP and share with your networks! You can find the announcement below and read the original on the NEH site here.


Dialogues on the Experience of War

The National Endowment for the Humanities offers the Dialogues on the Experience of War program as part of its current initiative, Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War. The program (Dialogues) supports the study and discussion of important humanities sources about war, in the belief that these sources can help U.S. military veterans and others think more deeply about the issues raised by war and military service. Dialogues is primarily designed to reach military veterans; however, men and women in active service, military families, and interested members of the public may also participate.

The program makes awards of up to $100,000 to support…

  • the convening of at least two sustained discussion programs for no fewer than fifteen participants; and
  • the creation of a preparatory program to recruit and train program discussion leaders (NEH Discussion Leaders).

Preparatory training and discussion programs may take place in veterans’ centers, at public libraries or cultural centers, on college and university campuses, and at other community venues. The discussion programs should comprise multiple meetings that are long enough to allow participants to engage in deep and inclusive discussion.

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount: $100,000
Open to: Organizations
Expected output: Curriculum, Community Partnerships, Discussion Groups, Facilitator Training
Period of performance: Twelve- to twenty-four months

Application available September 26, 2018
Draft due October 10, 2018
Application due November 15, 2018
Expected notification date April 1, 2019
Project start date May 1, 2019

Potential Resources for Dialogues on the Experience of War Projects

War, military service, patriotism, pacifism, and civic duty are themes that have permeated the great works of history, literature, philosophy, and art that will form the basis of Dialogues on the Experience of War discussion programs. From the Standard of Ur to the Book of Deuteronomy, to Herodotus, Thucydides, Sun Tzu, the Mahabharata, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas, the subject of war—its causes and effects, and the experience of soldiers, sailors, civilians, and families—has animated the works of poets, philosophers, historians, artists, and theologians of the ancient and medieval world.

The same is no less true in the modern world, in which great questions about war and military service have commanded sustained attention in literary, historical, artistic, and philosophical sources. Powerful works emerged from the wars of the last three centuries. Consider, for example, the writings of Carl von Clausewitz and Henry David Thoreau; poetry by Rudyard Kipling, Wilfred Owen, Anthony Hecht, and Brian Turner; histories by Russell Weigley, Drew Gilpin Faust, John Keegan, and Laura Hillenbrand; plays by Alice Dunbar-Nelson and David Rabe, artworks by Käthe Kollwitz, Pablo Picasso, and Stanley Spencer; Civil War ballads and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony (dedicated to the city of Leningrad in 1941).

To this list may be added many powerful cinematic treatments, including La Grande Illusion (France, 1937), The Best Years of Our Lives (United States, 1946), Night and Fog (France, 1955), The Cranes Are Flying (USSR, 1957), Hell in the Pacific (United States, 1968), Das Boot (Germany, 1981), The Pianist (Poland, 2002), Turtles Can Fly (Iraq/France/Iran, 2005), and The Messenger (United States, 2009).

The works listed here are offered only as examples. None of them needs to be included on proposed syllabi.

Download Application Materials

Dialogues on the Experience of War Guidelines (PDF)

Dialogues on the Experience of War Guidelines (DOC)

Dialogues on the Experience of War Grants.gov application package

Budget Resources

Budget Form, September 2018 (MS Excel)

Dialogues on the Experience of War Sample Budget, 2018 (PDF)

Program Resources

Form for Submitting a Preliminary Sketch of a Dialogues on the Experience of War Proposal (MS Word)

Dialogues on the Experience of War Frequently Asked Questions, 2018 (PDF)

List of recent grants in this program

DUNS Number Requirement

Sample Application Narratives

Governors State University, War Memory and Commemoration in the Humanities (PDF)

University of Florida, War and the Everyday Life of Combatants (PDF)

Minnesota Humanities Center, Echoes of War (PDF)

Touchstones Discussion Project, Comparing the Returns Home of Homer’s Odysseus and Modern Soldiers (PDF)

You can find the original version of this and where to register at www.neh.gov/grants/education/dialogues-the-experience-war.

Opportunity for Students to Join Youth Collaboratory by 11/13

In case you missed it, Citizen University is accepting applications until this Tuesday for their 2019 Youth Collaboratory cohort! The Youth Collaboratory is an exciting opportunity for 24 high school sophomores and juniors, passionate about civic engagement, to join this year-long program to strengthen civic literacy and network with civic leaders. Applications are due November 13th – so make sure to share with your networks and submit applications by this coming Tuesday. You can read more about the Youth Collaboratory and how to apply in the post below, and find the original version of this information on Citizen University’s site here.


Empowering the Rising Generation: Youth Collaboratory

The Youth Collaboratory is a year-long program for 24 highly-motivated students from around the country who are passionate about civic engagement and making a positive change in their communities and country. The Youth Collaboratory is one component of Citizen University’s Youth Power Project, a multi-year effort supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation to empower and connect a rising generation of civic leaders and doers. The application for the 2019 Youth Collaboratory is open now!

The application due date is Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 11:59pm PT. For details about the program, including a PDF of all application questions – read more below. If you have questions about this application, please contact Ben Phillips at ben@citizenuniversity.us.

Learn More About the Youth Collaboratory 

Members of the 2019 Youth Collaboratory will spend the year sharpening their literacy in civic power while traveling to cities around the nation and meeting with national civic innovators. They participate in interactive workshops led by Eric Liu and Citizen University educators, collaborate with CU staff to develop, test, and optimize programs to engage youth nation-wide, and individually complete independent projects in their communities. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to be connected to a network of incredible change-makers and gain the skills and connections for a lifetime of civic power.

The Youth Collaboratory program includes:

  • Travel, accommodations, and meals to attend three meetings of the Youth Collaboratory in 2019:
    • Feb. 20-22 in Malibu, CA
    • May 15-17 in Chicago, IL
    • Sept. 11-13 in Washington, DC
  • Tools and workshop trainings to become powerful, engaged citizen leaders
  • Connections with civic innovators and mentors
  • Connections with other student leaders and innovators from around the country

Who is eligible:

  • Applicants must be current high school sophomores or juniors
  • Applicants must live in the United States
  • Applicants must be able to attend all three of the Youth Collaboratory meetings (We are aware that the May dates conflict with certain Advanced Placement (AP) testing dates. There is a place on the application to indicate any AP tests you are taking, and we will make arrangements as possible.)
  • Students who come from backgrounds that historically have less access to power and civic opportunity are especially encouraged to apply, specifically young people of color, immigrants, and young women.

Application:

  • The application deadline is November 13, 2018 at 11:59pm Pacific Time
  • View a PDF of the application here
  • Apply now

Please contact Ben Phillips at ben@citizenuniversity.us with any questions.

In this era of economic and political inequality, the work of power literacy is especially urgent, nowhere more so than in the rising generation of young people who will be facing the consequences of today’s polarization and inequality for years to come. Armed with the knowledge, skills, connections, and experience of the Youth Collaboratory, our diverse cohort of passionate young people will be prepared to be true leaders of civic change in America for the next generation.

Past Participants

The 2019 cohort of the Youth Collaboratory is the third cohort of this exciting and innovative program. In the first two years of the program, participants came from over 20 states representing every region of the country, with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Here is some of what they had to say about the Youth Collaboratory:

“The highlight was getting to meet with the Civic Collaboratory, to really connect to people in the successful, professional world and talk to them about the issues and projects that they’re working on. It’s really inspiring.”

“I was shocked at the space we created, that we allowed each other to feel safe expressing our opinions and views.”

“I was so pleased to be welcomed into a group that taught me how to be the best civic version of myself that I could be.”

Follow Citizen University on social media, to learn more about the Youth Collaboratory and other programs!

You can find the original version of this information on the Citizen University site at www.citizenuniversity.us/programs/youth-power-project/.

#NCDD2018 is Here!

Today is the day! #NCDD2018 is finally here and we couldn’t be more excited!! As our fantastic D&D community convenes, we look forward to a jam-packed weekend filled with inspiring speakers, an exciting variety of great workshops, the hottest efforts in civic engagement, and so much more!

This weekend will be a great opportunity to connect with hundreds of folks passionate about dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement work! Connect with movers and shakers in the field as we explore how to further strengthen our capacity for this work and amplify D&D across the nation and world.

You can still join us if you’re in the Denver/Colorado area -check out the registration page here and consider registering for even just one day at the $175 one-day registration rate!

The NCDD 2018 Guidebook: A Comprehensive Guide

We have several exciting options of our #NCDD2018 guidebook for conference attendees to check out. Our beautiful guidebooks were created by our co-founder, Andy Fluke; so make sure you pick up your hard copy at the NCDD registration office! In addition to our classic offering, we teamed up with Konveio who is hosting a digital, interactive version – which you can find here. The Konveio digital version allows NCDDers to makes comments on sessions, engage with other attendees, tweet directly from the guidebook, and more. It’s great addition to our usual conference experience, so check it out!

Follow along on social media

NCDD will be keeping you up to date on about what’s happening during the conference via our social media outlets, so make sure to be part of the conversation! Our conference team and attendees will be live tweeting the whole conference on Twitter, so follow us @NCDD and using the hashtags #NCDD2018, #NCDD, and #NCDDEmergingLeaders.

You can also follow along on NCDD’s Facebook page or on Instagram via ncdd_network. These will all be great ways to be part of the conversation even if you’re not here with us in Denver.