Tap into our Winter D&D Podcast Compilation!

It’s amazing how fast time has gone by since the last time we did a round up of our favorite D&D podcasts! Since it is such a great time of year to pop on a podcast and hibernate, check out the recent list we compiled dedicated to dialogue, deliberation, democracy, and engagement work, to boost you through the chilly months. We’ve added several more podcasts from our D&D community that we’ve found along the way since our compilation last time. Let us know in the comments below what podcasts you’ve been listening to lately and/or share some of your longtime favorites!

Podcasts focused on D&D:

  • NCDDers Tim Merry and Tuesday Ryan-Hart host the podcast, The Outside, a joint conversation to bring in the fresh air necessary for large-scale systems change and equity. Listen here.
  • NCDD member Reva Patwardhan hosts the Dialogue Lab podcast and offers conversations to inspire listeners to thrive while making an impact. Listen here.
  • Conversations With People Who Hate Me by Dylan Marron, was recommended to us by Sage Snider as their favorite dialogue podcast. Check it out here.
  • The McCourtney Institute for Democracy, an NCDD member org, has been running their podcast, Democracy Works, with hosts Michael Berkman and Chris Beem on various democracy issues and interview people working in democracy. Listen to it here.
  • NCDD member organization, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, has several podcasts related to dialogue and NICD’s work, which you can listen to by clicking here.
  • Real Democracy Now! is a podcast based out of Australia and has several seasons that you can listen to here:
  • Engaging Local Government Leaders has a podcast about local government called Gov Love, which you can find here, and their goal “is to tell informative and unique stories about the work being done at the local level”.
  • Center for Civic Education has a podcast 60-Second Civics, which is a “daily podcast that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nation’s government, the Constitution, and our history”. Listen here.
  • The Aspen Institute has a podcast which you can listen to here, and is “working across the globe, bringing together people from different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view, to work together and find solutions to our world’s most complex challenges”.
  • The Civil Conversations Project is hosted by Krista Tippett from On Being, and “is a conversation-based, virtues-based resource towards hospitable, trustworthy relationship with and across difference”. Listen here.

Standalone episodes related to D&D:

  • The Private Side of Public Work featured CEO Matt Crozier of Bang the Table in this episode on their work and how to motivate people to be engaged. Listen here.
  • Conversations that Matter featured Valerie Lemming of NCDD member org, the Kettering Foundation. Via CTM: “In Episode 1 of our 7-part series on Democracy and the Media, Stu sat down with Valerie Lemmie of the Kettering Foundation to explore the current state of citizen engagement, the role that it plays in protecting Democracy, and how it has come under fire as the bombastic politics of the United States bleed over into the political mindsets of other nations.” You can read the article here and listen to the podcast on iTunes.
  • Shared with us via the EngagePhase Weekly newsletter:
    • “The latest episode of the No Jargon podcast features John Gastil, a professor at Penn State, in a discussion about citizen juries and some of the latest research into their inner workings and effectiveness”: Episode 117: The Citizen Expert
    • “A recent episode of the Reasons to Be Cheerful podcast featured guests James Fishkin (Stanford University) and Sarah Allan (Involve UK) in a discussion about various democracy innovations”: Episode 20. Rescuing Democracy: From Ancient Athens to Brexit

Don’t forget to check out the NCDD podcast too!

  • Episode One featured NCDD Managing Director, Courtney Breese and our former Board Chair Barbara Simonetti, on a powerful metaphor she realized which compares the D&D field to a multi-purpose public utility – click here to listen!
  • Episode Two told the story of Conversation Café by stewards of the process, co-creator Susan Partnow, past steward Jacquelyn Pogue, and NCDD staffer Keiva Hummel – click here to listen!
  • Episode Three was on the opportunities for D&D in Congress with Brad Fitch of the Congressional Management Foundation and our own Courtney Breese – click here to listen!
  • Episode Four had  Journalism that Matters Executive Director Peggy Holman and Board President Michelle Ferrier discuss their thoughts about connecting journalists and public engagement practitioners – click here to listen!
  • Episode Five featured Julie Winokur of Bring it to the Table and their work on bridging political divides and healing partisanship – click here to listen!

Stay tuned to the blog as we work to release more NCDD podcasts in the future! We recently launched our end-of-the-year fundraiser and one of our main asks is to fund the NCDD podcast. We have a lot of great ideas in store that we would love to share with you and we encourage you to consider donating to NCDD in show of support to the larger dialogue and deliberation community or join as a member!

Highlights from the Kettering Winter Newsletter

In case you missed it, NCDD org member, the Kettering Foundation sent out their Winter newsletter, which you can read in the post below to learn what they’ve been up to lately. Highlights include Kettering at NCDD2018, discount opportunity on Dzur’s new book – Democracy Inside, upcoming CGA forums, and more. Please join us in congratulating John Dedrick, who was recently named Kettering’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer! If you haven’t already, you can sign up for Kettering’s newsletters by clicking here to stay up-to-date on all that they are is working on.


Kettering Foundation News & Notes – Winter 2018

Sometimes wisdom can be found in odd places. In the 2008 movie The Christmas Clause, an elf at the North Pole patiently explains, “Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.” There are no elves (that we know of) at the foundation, but in researching what it takes to make democracy work as it should, we try to help people recognize democratic practices in a wide variety of often ordinary activities. In the past month, foundation program officers and associates have taken that message on the road in speeches, panels, and conferences.

Civility: Beyond Miss Manners

The need for civility was once a humdrum topic more often found in the musings of Miss Manners than in the opinion pages of the New York Times. No longer. In our highly contentious political environment, civility has become an enduring concern. And explorations of that concern frequently include people who have been involved in Kettering’s work.

An example: On October 29, Solutions Journalism Network cofounder and CEO David Bornstein authored a column in the New York Times to address the topic. Titled “Recovering the (Lost) Art of Civility,” the column is a question-and-answer session with the Consensus Building Institute’s David Fairman. It explores how economic shifts, demographic changes, and a lack of motivation for political parties to work together, instead of stoking conflict, all contribute to rising tensions. The column addresses what citizens can do; for example, cultivating a genuine spirit of curiosity and willingness to listen to what members of “the other side” really believe.

The column cited the work of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, as well as Everyday Democracy and Spaceship Media. People from all of these organizations have participated in Kettering Foundation research exchanges and other meetings at the foundation.

Hal Saunders’ Work Continues

The late Harold “Hal” Saunders, Kettering Foundation longtime director of international affairs and founder of the Sustained Dialogue Institute, was a pillar of the Dartmouth Conference and a creative thinker of the first order. His vision of citizen involvement in peacemaking resulted in his developing Sustained Dialogue, a form of citizen diplomacy that uses empathy, listening, and relationship-building between citizens of different nations to improve understanding. It’s also why he wrote his book Sustained Dialogue in Conflicts: Transformation and Change.
It is fitting that his book has now been translated into Russian, with Kettering Foundation support and the vision of Irina Zvyagelskaya and Alex Aksenenko, members of the Dartmouth Conference Task Force on the Middle East. Both had been using the English version as part of their courses on diplomacy. Irina teaches at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and Alex at Moscow State University.

Senior associate Phil Stewart tells us that the Russian International Affairs Council will hold a public event at the end of December 2018 to formally announce the book’s publication. Hal has been gone nearly two years, but it is gratifying that his visionary work continues to bear fruit.

Out and About with Kettering Staff

Ray Minor: The Day “OGs” Taught Firefighters
When Kettering Foundation program officer Ray Minor talks, E.F. Hutton listens.

Ray delivered a speech at the E.F. Hutton and Antioch College conference on Social Capital in Yellow Springs, Ohio, on October 20. Ray spoke of social capital as the relations and connections that build trust, reciprocity, and a willingness to work together as citizens, institutions, and communities.

In his speech, Ray cited five case studies to illustrate his points. One involved the Los Angeles Fire Department’s work with former gang members, or OGs (original gangsters), in the south precinct. The OGs educated the firefighters, who were fearful of answering calls in crime-ridden neighborhoods, on gang culture and behaviors; the firefighters trained the gang members in life-saving techniques. Call them strange bedfellows, call them coproducers; somehow, it all works.

Read the rest of Ray’s speech here.

Ray also moderated a panel at the 2018 Northeast Conference on Public Administration, which was held November 2-4 in Baltimore, Maryland. Ray’s remarks for the panel, “A critique on the government’s response to communities of color,” discussed US immigration policy and its adverse effects on people of color. Ray cited four cases, including Vietnamese and Haitian “boat people,” Cuban refugees, and the recent Central American refugee caravan to support his point that US immigration policy historically has favored certain European immigrants and disfavored immigrants from nations of color, including China, Mexico, and African countries.

A Civil Dialogue with Valerie Lemmie
On October 19, Kettering Foundation director of exploratory research Valerie Lemmie brought her independent status as a voter and her years of experience as a city manager to a University of Dayton panel titled “A civil dialogue in an uncivil time.”

The panel featured former Ohio governor Robert Taft and members of the Ohio statehouse on both sides of the aisle, as well as members of academia. The audience heard Valerie reflect on the challenges of citizenship and working in government.

“The value of working in local government is that you get exposed to every facet of society from elites to the downtrodden,” Valerie said. “Often when people are uncivil, it is because of their anger and their frustration. They have had it! They come to a city council meeting and are given three minutes to speak. While they are talking, nobody is listening. They have knocked on the door, and nobody has answered,” she said.

Valerie recalled her work in Cincinnati when the shooting of an African American man by a police officer sparked unrest. “The hardest part as a civil servant and a woman of color was to be boycotted whenever I walked along downtown streets, to hear protesters chant ‘No justice, no peace.’ It broke my heart that they thought I, as a woman of color, did not understand,” Valerie said. “I saw my role as being in the system but not becoming the system in order to make change.”

“Most of us care about our communities. . . . What if we got together on a wicked problem that we were concerned about? What if we said, ‘This isn’t a right or wrong issue; this is a matter of values’? We may not agree with our neighbor, but this will give us a perspective that we didn’t have before, a perspective that allows us to wrestle with the trade-offs and perhaps be able to reach common ground on what we can do to solve problems,” Valerie said.

For more, watch the video.

Dzur’s Book Explores Innovations in Democracy
In December, Oxford University Press will publish a new book by Albert Dzur, professor at Bowling Green State University and former scholar-in-residence at Kettering. Democracy Inside: Participatory Innovation in Unlikely Places looks at recent instances of transformative citizen action across the United States and, through examples and interviews, demonstrates that looking beyond conventional politics is necessary to bring about change. Dzur argues that change requires transforming classrooms, courtrooms, and offices into civic spaces where citizens and institutions can interact in a constructive and effective way.

You can order a copy on the Oxford University Press website. Use code ASFLYQ6 to save 30 percent.

KF Swarms Conference
The National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) met in Denver November 2-4, and among its 40-plus presenters for more than 5 dozen workshops were many familiar faces from the Kettering Foundation, including program officer Ekaterina Lukianova and senior associates Betty Knighton and Paula Ellis. There were many more fellow travelers who have come to the foundation over the years, including, of course, Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD’s founding director. The conference featured a deliberation led by Virginia York on the opioid epidemic, using the NIF issue guide What Should We Do about the Opioid Epidemic? For more details and information, head over to the NCDD website.

Dedrick Named Kettering’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
John R. Dedrick has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation.

“John’s new title recognizes the work he has already done, providing leadership to both the foundation’s research programs and its operations,” said Kettering president David Mathews in announcing Dedrick’s new title. “This recognition is long overdue and well deserved.”

“It’s an honor and privilege to be part of this organization,” Dedrick said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve the foundation.”

Since 2008, Dedrick has served as Kettering’s vice president and program director. He joined the foundation in 1995 as a program officer and held the position of director of programs from 2003 to 2008.

Dedrick received a BA and MA from the College of William and Mary and an MA and PhD in political science from Rutgers University.

Dedrick is emeritus board president of Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement. He serves on the executive committee of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, Philanthropy Ohio’s public policy committee and the editorial board of the Journal of Public Deliberation. He is also a faculty fellow at Fielding Graduate University, where he leads seminars on topics including deliberation, dialogue, and civic engagement.

Common Ground for Action Forums in December

There are a number of Common Ground for Action (CGA) forum opportunities coming up in December. These are great opportunities to let students or colleagues try a deliberative forum from the comfort of their own desk (or couch).

  • Wednesday, December 5 @ 1:00 pm EST to Thursday, December 6 @ 3:00 pm EST
    CGA Moderator Workshop for Educators  REGISTER
  • Wednesday, December 5 @ 1:00 pm EST/10:00 am PST
    Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?  REGISTER
  • Saturday, December 15 @ 6:00 pm EST/3:00 pm PST
    America’s Energy Future: How Can We Take Charge?  REGISTER

And, for those who have been trained as CGA moderators but could use a refresher or have questions about using CGA in their work, Kara Dillard has online “office hours” each Friday. REGISTER here! December’s sessions are:

  • December 7 @ 12 pm EST
  • December 14 @ 12 pm EST

Thelma Chollar

The foundation lost a good friend the week before Thanksgiving when Thelma Chollar died at the age of 102. She was the widow of former Kettering Foundation board chair and president Robert G. Chollar (1971-1981). Chollar had been residing in an assisted living facility in Vienna, Virginia, for several years. Her son Ric wrote in an email that her final days were comfortable and pain-free. The family plans to hold a memorial service in Fairfax, Virginia, January 12.

Mary Mathews remembers Chollar as a strong woman who exerted a quiet influence behind the scenes. “What I remember the most is how open and inviting the expression on her face always was; it was reflective of an innate gentleness and acceptance,” Mary said. She said Chollar often hosted social events at her home with Kettering Foundation board members, staff, and associates because the term of her husband’s presidency predated the current campus and the foundation had no facilities for get-togethers.

Bob Daley was the foundation’s director of communications when Robert Chollar died in 1981. For several years thereafter, Bob and his wife, Berneta, would escort Chollar to foundation events, picking her up at her Kettering condominium and bringing her to dinners and other occasions. “She was a small woman, always gracious, and always grateful for the little things we would do for her,” Bob said.

Read the full obituary here.

See KF or NIF in the news? Please let us know.

We do our best to track mentions of the foundation and National Issues Forums in the news and in academic journals, but we need your help to make sure we don’t miss anything. If you see Kettering or National Issues Forums mentioned in press coverage or academic publications, please let us know by emailing newsandnotes@kettering.org.

Webinar Roundup Featuring MetroQuest, Living Room Conversations, and more!

As the NCDD network continues to grow, we are coming across more and more exciting webinars that we are thrilled to share with you! Because we try to only post on the blog once a day, we are going to be doing more weekly roundups of webinars happening in the field in order to keep sharing more D&D events for you to tap into. This roundup includes several NCDDers that we encourage you to check out in the post below and register in the links provided. This week we are featuring MetroQuest (and are proud co-sponsors of this webinar!), PACE (this webinar is co-hosted with Media Impact Funders and includes our NCDD2018 sponsor, the Democracy Fund), Living Room Conversations (register ASAP for this one as the webinar is tomorrow) and the Zehr Institute.

Do you have a webinar coming up that you’d like to share with the NCDD network? Please let us know by emailing me at keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org, because we’d love to add it to the list!


Webinar Roundup: MetroQuest, Living Room Conversations, and PACE

MetroQuest webinar – “Transforming Public Apathy to Revitalize Engagement”

Wednesday, December 12th
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern (1 hour)
Educational Credit Available (APA AICP CM)
Complimentary (FREE)

Apathy is all around us. Most people have become disengaged not only from politics, but also from the government agencies that make decisions that directly affect their quality of life. Increasingly, leaders are asking themselves “How do we boost public participation?”

Join TED Talk celebrity, Dave Meslin and MetroQuest Chief Engagement Officer, Dave Biggs as they explore proven techniques for building a culture of engagement. They encourage us to recognize apathy as a web of barriers that reinforce disengagement – and show us how we can work together to dismantle the obstacles to revitalize public engagement.

This in-depth journey will combine humour with many examples of best-practices. The strongest cities have learned how to tap into the collective creativity, passion, and knowledge of their constituents. This webinar will chart the course.

REGISTER: http://go.metroquest.com/Transforming-Public-Apathy-to-Revitalize-Engagement.html

Living Room Conversations webinar – “Peace Building in the United States”

Friday, December 7th
2-3:30 pm Pacific, 5-6:30 Eastern

Join us for a free online (using Zoom) Living Room Conversation on the topic of Peace Building in the United States. Please see the conversation guide for this topic. Some of the questions explored include:

  • How do the “us and them” divisions impact you?
  • Who is us and who is them?
  • How many friends do you have in other groups?
  • What should we expect from our leaders in terms of healing divisions?

You will need a device with a webcam to participate (preferably a computer or tablet rather than a cell phone).

Please only sign up for a place in this conversation if you are 100% certain that you can join – and thank you – we have many folks waiting to have Living Room Conversations and hope to have 100% attendance. If you need to cancel please return to Eventbrite to cancel your ticket so someone on the waitlist may attend.

A link to join the conversation and additional details will be sent to you by no later than the day before the conversation. The conversation host is Shakira M.

REGISTER: www.livingroomconversations.org/event/online-living-room-conversation-peace-building-in-the-united-states

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement – “Re-Envisioning America’s Public Square”

PACE LogoMonday, December 10th
9 am Pacific, 12 pm Eastern

America’s public square–the institutions, networks, and spaces where Americans engage in the critical issues facing our democracy–is facing a paradigm shift. #Infogagement–a term that describes the recent collision of media, technology, and civic engagement–is fundamental to that shift. A combination of economic impacts, advances in technology, and social change are re-shaping how we access and engage with the information that connects us to civic life. To respond, we must come together to re-envision and rebuild our public square so it serves all members of our democracy.

This webinar will bring together thought leaders from across the Infogagement landscape to engage with participants in answering several questions:

  • What are some of the institutions and spaces that created our public square?
  • What caused the paradigm shift we’re experiencing today?
  • What kind of public square best serves all members of our democracy?
  • How can we reconfigure existing institutions and build new infrastructure to rebuild our public square to serve all members of our democracy?

Speakers:

  • Ashley Alvarado, Director of Community Engagement at KPCC
  • Sarah Alvarez, Founder and Lead Reporter, Outlier Media
  • Kristen Cambell, Executive Director, PACE =
  • Eli Pariser, Founder and CEO, Upworthy
  • Josh Stearns, Director, Public Square Program, Democracy Fund

REGISTER: www.pacefunders.org/webinar-re-envisioning-americas-public-square/

Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice – “Transforming Violence: Restorative Justice, Violent Crime, and an End to Mass Incarceration”

Wednesday, December 12th
1:30pm – 3:30pm Pacific, 4:30pm – 6:30pm Eastern
Guest: Danielle Sered
Host: Howard Zehr

Sered will discuss the use of restorative justice in cases of serious violent crime such as robbery and assault. Common Justice, the organization she leads, operates a restorative justice program that serves as an alternative to prison in the adult criminal justice system. Sered proposes that responses to violence should be survivor-centered, accountability-based, safety-driven, and racially equitable. She will explore the potential of restorative justice applications through each of those lenses, discuss the program’s partnership with the district attorney’s office, describe the violence intervention model the program employs, and invite conversation regarding the potential for more diversion of violence in the movement as a whole.

REGISTER: www.zehr-institute.org/webinars/transforming-violence.html

New Resource & Webinar on Combating Bias in Schools

Addressing incidents of bias when they come up can be challenging, especially when they happen in schools. NCDD member org, Public Agenda, just released their new guide, “Addressing Incidents of Bias in Schools” to support having these conversations (which can be downloaded for free on their site here). There will also be a free webinar on addressing bias in schools this coming Wednesday, December 5th from 3-4pm Eastern, 12-1 Pacific – which you can register for here. You can read this announcement below and find the original version on Public Agenda’s site here.


Ways to Combat Bias in Schools: A New Resource

There’s a growing concern about discrimination and hate crimes taking place across the country. While incidents of bias can occur anywhere, it’s especially troubling when it happens in our schools. Discussing race and discrimination can be difficult for the most seasoned of professionals, however, that discomfort should not prevent important conversations from taking place.

Join Matt Leighninger and Nicole Cabral of Public Agenda for a one-hour webinar where attendees will be armed with the tips and strategies they need to facilitate safe, illuminating and productive conversations on incidents of bias. Matt and Nicole will pull from the newly-released discussion guide, “Addressing Incidents of Bias in Schools: A guide for preventing and reacting to discrimination affecting students” to provide a framework for this virtual conversation that will include advice on how to use the guide in classrooms, staff meetings, afterschool programs, and schoolwide events.

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 5 – 3:00 pm ET

Guest Speaker: Nicole Cabral, associate director of public engagement, Public Agenda
Moderator: Matt Leighninger, vice president of public engagement, Public Agenda

To register for this free webinar and to receive updates leading up to the event, please  is serving only as the host for this presentation. The content was created by the sponsor. The opinions expressed in this webinar are those of the sponsor and do not reflect the opinion of or constitute an endorsement by Editorial Projects in Education or any of its publications.

Closed-captioning is available for this event. On the date of the event, you can log in as early as 15 minutes before the start of the webinar. Open the “Closed-Captioning” link from the “resource list” (located at the bottom of the console) to access Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). A transcript will also be available for download from the resource list within three business days after the event.

You can find the original version of this announcement on Public Agenda’s site at www.publicagenda.org/pages/ways-to-combat-bias-in-schools-a-new-resource.

NCL Webinar on Public Engagement in Fiscal Matters, 12/19

On Wednesday, December 19th, the National Civic League – an NCDD member and partner, will be offering the free webinar, “Engaging the Public in Fiscal Matters”, as part of their AAC Promising Practices Webinar series. The webinar will feature residents from two All-America Cities who will share how the public contributed to budget decisions in each of their cities. We encourage you to read more about the webinar in the post below and register on NCL’s Eventbrite site here.


AAC Promising Practices Webinar: Engaging the Public in Fiscal Matters

Can the public really help local governments make solid budget decisions? Of course!

Two communities – Hampton, Virginia, and Placentia, California – will share how residents have contributed their views on budget matters. In Hampton, City Manager Mary Bunting will discuss the I-Value effort in Hampton. In Placentia, Rosanna Ramirez, the city’s director of administrative services, will talk about the city’s Citizens Fiscal Sustainability Task Force.

Join the National Civic League for this free webinar on Wednesday, December 19th at 11:30 am PST/12:30 pm MST/1:30 pm CST/2:30 pm EST

To Join by Computer:
Sign on to the National Civic League’s Webex Meeting Room:
https://nationalcivicleague.my.webex.com/meet/ncl 
Access code: 622 739 287

To Join by Phone:
+1-510-338-9438 USA Toll
Access code: 622 739 287

If you missed the November AAC Promising Practices Webinar: Community-Wide Visioning with an Equity Lens – click here to listen to the recording! Learn more about how two All-America Cities underwent a community-wide visioning process with a specific focus on engagement and equity.

2019 All-America City Key Dates:

  • November 14, 2018 – Letter of Intent due for interested communities (LOI not required to apply)
  • March 5, 2019 – Application Due
  • April 2019 – Finalists Announced
  • June 21-23, 2019 – Awards competition and learning event in Denver, Colorado

All-America City Promising Practices Series
National Civic League is hosting a series of “AAC Promising Practices” webinars to share innovative and impactful AAC projects nationwide. This series will also highlight successful projects around the country with speakers from cities implementing creative strategies for civic engagement. By equipping individuals, institutions, and local governmental bodies through this series with ideas, models and insights that can be adopted/adapted to individual communities NCL hopes to accelerate the pace of change in communities across the country.

The All-America City Promising Practices webinars are made possible with support from Southwest Airlines, the official airline of the All-America City Awards.

You can find the original version of this announcement on the National Civic League’s site at www.nationalcivicleague.org/resource-center/promising-practices/.

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/.

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.

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!