Letter from the NCDD Board of Directors

Dear NCDD Supporter,

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

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

XS Purple NCDD logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

NCDD Board of Directors:

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

Thank You for Rising to the 48 Hour Challenge!

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

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

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

48 Hour Matching Challenge – Double Your Donation!

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

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

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

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

NCDD Launches an End-of-Year Fund Drive!

Since 2002, the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation has served as a hub, a resource clearinghouse, and a facilitative leader for the dialogue and deliberation community.  Together, we have achieved extraordinary connection and progress across our field, in particularly polarizing times in our world. We are turning to our community to help ensure that NCDD remains strong to continue to serve in these valuable roles and to help keep this network connected.

We are asking you to contribute to the organization’s end of year fund drive. It begins today and will run through the end of the year.  Our goal is $15,000 and will greatly help NCDD start 2018 off on the right foot.

We hope you’ll consider NCDD’s accomplishments and potential and then follow this link, www.ncdd.org/2017-funddrive, to support the work we’re all committed to…

  • NCDD supports and connects the growing dialogue and deliberation community — our conferences, listservs, blogs, forums and resources offer a unique and valuable way to expand and enhance the work of practitioners as they engage and mobilize people across partisan, ethnic, and other divides. 2018 is a conference year! Stay tuned for more information soon. 
  • Our Blog, where we keep you updated on some of the most important happenings and opportunities in our field, and our Resource Center, which boasts over 3,100 discussion guides, videos, evaluation tools, reports, books, and other tools.
  • The site also provides access to the wider public through our Beginner’s Guide, our Engagement Streams Framework, the 2010 Resource Guide on Public Engagement, and other essential resources.
  • Our launching of the Emerging Leaders Initiative, to help cultivate the next generation of leaders in dialogue & deliberation.
  • Our recent partnership with the American Library Association to bring trainings to librarians and connect them to dialogue & deliberation models and practitioners.
  • And more!

If you believe in NCDD’s mission and find value in the resources, connections and opportunities we provide, we urge you to show your support by making a donation during our fund drive. All contributions are welcome, whether they are $15 or $1,000. And your contributions are tax deductible!

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday is a day created to celebrate and support giving and philanthropy. Please consider making your donation to NCDD on Giving Tuesday! Please check out the NCDD Facebook Page tomorrow and click our fundraiser link to donate!

If you are not a Facebook user, you can use our Donation Page to make your Giving Tuesday contribution!

Outside of tomorrow’s opportunity on Facebook, please visit www.ncdd.org/2017-funddrive to make your donation!  Help us reach our $15,000 goal, and thank you so much, in advance, for supporting NCDD.

Giving Thanks to You!

Word cloud about NCDD

This week, as many of us gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving, we share what we are thankful for, and reflect with gratitude on our year. We at NCDD want to share our thanks for YOU, this fabulous network of people that comes together to learn, connect, and grow together in our practices of dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement. You are why we are here, and you keep us going with your fabulous contributions of time, skills and other gifts, and of course your support of NCDD. 

This time of the year is a time for giving thanks, but it is also a time where some of us find ourselves in tough conversations with people we hold dear to us. As a reminder, NCDD has gathered helpful resources anyone can use to help navigate these potentially tough topics. Check out our previous post including six tips for thoughtful holiday conversations, and additional guides in our Resource Center, including these great tools:

  • The Quick How-To Guide for the Conversation Café process includes agreements and questions that can be helpful ways to start and manage conversations that might prove difficult
  • For another good list of tips about keeping things civil during holiday dinners, check out the “Holidays or Hellidays?” blog post from NCDD member organization Essential Partners
  • If things are likely to be especially bad at your holiday get togethers, check out NCDD’s list of sample groundrules. You might be able to ask Aunt Susan to agree to a few guidelines for conversation at the table before dinner gets started

We hope you have a happy and full Thanksgiving holiday. And, we hope you will share your thanks for NCDD next week with a donation of any amount on Giving Tuesday.

As we round out the year, we can use your additional support to help us launch in 2018 on solid footing. We will be sharing more information next week about this opportunity and how you can help support NCDD through our end of the year fund drive. In the meantime, you can always make a donation of any amount on our donation page.

Thanks again for making NCDD so special and for all the work that you do!

Deadline 10/23: Apply to Host A (FREE) Nevins Fellow!

NCDD Member Organization the McCourtney Institute for Democracy is again offering the incredible opportunity for D&D organizations to take advantage of their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program. The 2017-18 application for organizations who want to host a bright, motivated, D&D-trained student is open now through Monday, October 23rd.

We are encouraging our member organizations to apply today for the chance to host a Nevins Fellow next summer! Having a Nevins Fellow work with you is a great way for your organization to take on a special project you haven’t had time for, get extra help with your big summer engagements, or increase your organizational capacity overall – all while helping grow the next generation of D&D leaders!  Nevins fellows work with organizations for eight weeks in the summer, at NO COST to the organization!

This is a unique and limited opportunity, so we encourage you to apply for a Nevins Fellow before the October 23rd deadline. You can find the application here: http://tinyurl.com/Nevins2017.

If you haven’t heard of the Nevins program before, you can start with the Frequently Asked Questions document that McCourtney created for potential applicants. The September Confab Call with Chris Beem from the McCourtney Institute also covered lots of the important details about the program. You can listen to the recording of that call by clicking here. You can also check out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with the the Jefferson Center, to get a better sense of the student’s experience.

We can’t speak highly enough about the Nevins program’s students or about the value of this program’s contributions to the D&D field. We know that these young people will be great additions to organizations in our field.  We encourage you to apply today!

What We Heard from NCDD’s August Member Calls

NCDD’s staff was delighted to connect with members over the course of three conference calls in August, to talk about what they are working on, what’s going on in the network, and what we can be doing together. We wanted to share with you some of the things we learned and some of the common interests coming from these calls. Read more below and share your thoughts with us in the comments! And of course, to participate in future calls be sure to become an NCDD member.

Connections are Essential

Members expressed their appreciation for NCDD’s regular channels for building connections and staying in touch, including the NCDD listservs, biennial NCDD conferences, social media channels, Confabs, and Tech Tuesdays. These events offer members new connections, opportunities to learn from others, and perhaps most importantly, cross-pollination and the development of collaborative efforts! This is NCDD’s core offerings, along with the latest news on the NCDD Blog, and the extensive collection in the Resource Center. We love to connect with you all and we love to see you connect!

Free Speech, Bias, and How to Address Current Tensions

Members of course brought up recent events in the country, highlighting racial tensions, political tensions, and the national debate about free speech. There is always a strong desire among the NCDD network to discuss current events and think together about how to address them. Most recently that has centered on Charlottesville – see Sandy’s blog post for some more information on the conversation to date.

Another member raised examining the diversity of the D&D field, and purposely look for community partners to diversify our network and be able to tackle racial tensions. Further, a call for self-reflections and assessment of personal biases came up, and there was interest in helping members explore that, and dig deeper. Some folks expressed desire in creating a small group to work together in exploring these topics. If you’re interested – let us know in the comments and we’ll loop you into that conversation when it starts up!

Learning Communities

Similarly, there was a common thread among calls: members want to connect in short and longer-term learning communities, around the topics or practices that they are most interested in. Some of the topics raised included: systems change, social change, entrepreneurial work, technology for engagement, and regional efforts. Is there something you would like to connect with a group of NCDDers around? We encourage you to reach out! Folks are looking for these opportunities, and NCDD is happy to help spread the word. If you organize a call, share it on the NCDD Discussion Listserv, post it on the NCDD Facebook Group, and share it on the NCDD Blog. We’ll help you connect with others who would like to talk about your topic of interest!

Coming Up

NCDD’s staff is working on creating spaces to discuss timely topics in the coming months. We’ll be opening registrations for upcoming Confabs and Tech Tuesdays soon. The first Confab will feature staff of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, talking about their work in their community relating to community-police relations. They have been at this work for 20 years and have really built a community infrastructure for working together to address problems and discuss tough issues among a diverse community. There is lots we can all learn from their work – more details on that call coming soon!

We’re also planning to convene a conversation about dialogue following the events in Charlottesville, to discuss how we can be helping our communities tackle free speech, as well as racial, ethnic, and religious tensions. More information on this call coming soon, as well.

And of course – 2018 will be a conference year! Staff is working with the Board right now to determine the date and location of the conference. We hope to be announcing that soon, and starting to engage with you all around what you’d like to see, talk about, and do!

But for right now: What would you like to talk about? How would you like to connect with others? Take a moment to share with us in the comments below. We look forward to continuing these conversations and exploring the latest topics with the network this fall and beyond!

Opportunity to Facilitate Ben Franklin Circles

We are excited to announce that NCDD is working with New York’s 92nd Street Y to support, The Ben Franklin Circles (BFC), a project in collaboration with Citizen University and the Hoover Institution. BFC – an NCDD member org, could use some facilitation support and that’s where NCDD comes in –  we have an exciting opportunity for you!

The Circles are inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s junto or “mutual improvement club,” – a sort of civic engagement support group the founding father started and ran for over 40 years.  In this 21st Century reboot, small groups of people get together once a month to reflect on big themes that Franklin identified as key to living a good life and creating a good society – topics like Industry/Work; Justice; Moderation; Thrift/Frugality and more.  There are 13 total.  Participants are encouraged to think about how these principles impact their own lives and how they shape our society, using the conversations as a way to create empathy and strengthen community bonds. Read more about the Circles in our Resource Center.

Here is the opportunity: 92Y has created a platform and toolkit and is offering limited stipends for facilitators to help lead these conversations in their communities. Circles meet once a month for 13 months for about 90 minutes each session. Meetings can be scheduled based on the facilitator’s schedule. 

This is a great opportunity for you to utilize this model, connect with groups in your community, and get paid for your time as well! NCDD would love to see a whole bunch of you get involved with Circles across the country. It’s another great way we can work to strengthen community connections and help people bridge divides, at this particularly divisive time in our nation. And many of you have the networks with interest in these kinds of conversations!

If you are interested in this opportunity and would like to connect with organizers to learn more, please fill out this quick form here and they will contact you to discuss this opportunity further! 

For more information, please visit: benfranklincircles.org. You can follow BFC on Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter at @BFCircles as well as the hashtag #BenFranklinCircles.

NCDD Members: Thank You!

On behalf of NCDD’s staff, I wanted to thank all of our members who have joined or renewed their membership over the past several months. You all really stepped up after NCDD announced our membership changes and asked you to take action. NCDD relies on our members support, and we’ve been blown away by your response and commitment to this work!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out how to maximize your membership – there are great benefits, discounts, and opportunities to share news and information with this community! This week we sent out an email to all members letting you know about some upcoming exclusive calls for NCDD members to chat with staff about their work and what they’d like to see the NCDD network talk about in the coming months – be sure to check your email! Our staff look forward to connecting with you soon.

Our member map and directory have been updated to reflect the changes in our membership structure – you can check them out at ncdd.org/map or browse the map below!

We also want to share a big thank you to our very first sponsoring member, the Jefferson Center for New Democratic Processes!

We appreciate the added support a sponsoring membership provides.  We also want to make sure you all know about this great organization! We’ll be sharing more about the Jefferson Center on our website soon (as we will be doing for all sponsoring members), but in the meantime be sure to check out their website at  www.jefferson-center.org.

If you did not get a chance to join or renew your membership before our changes took place – it’s not too late! Be sure to join or renew today, and reinstate your membership!

The NCDD staff thank you all again for recommitting to NCDD and the work of bringing people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together. We are constantly inspired by you all and the work you do, and we look forward to connecting with you all soon!

NACRJ 2017: Moving RJ from Margins to Center

Last month, the NCDD team had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the 6th Annual National Conference on Community and Restorative Justice in downtown Oakland, CA. The conference was hosted by the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ) and Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY). A whopping 1,300 attendees gathered for the event – which was almost double the attendance from their 2015 conference!

The theme, “Moving Restorative Justice from Margins to Center: We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For” set a powerful energy that carried through the three days we attended. There were three pre-conference training sessions held the day before on June 15th to deepen experience around implementing RJ in schools, utilizing an equity lens for RJ practice, and holistic health for RJ practitioners. The conference included beautiful cultural performances, powerful keynote speakers and plenary sessions, almost 300 presentations, an awards ceremony, and even a concert with Dead Prez.

NCDD staff Courtney, Roshan, and I presented a session on Healing Racial Divides and Addressing Community-Police Relations through Dialogue & Deliberation. In the session, we shared about the NCDD network and the important work being done around bridging racial and community-police divides. Since we were at a conference with RJ practitioners and enthusiasts, we also wanted to tap the knowledge that was in the room. We asked session participants what advice they had to offer people wanting to do police-community and cross-race dialogues. We heard valuable feedback regarding participation, ways to engage, and best practices to consider. Below are some of the large group report-outs:

  • Meet people where they are at, and be authentic. When people are in conflict or upset with you (as law enforcement), listen to what they have to say without your particular lens, and respect them for that without your personal opinion or bias, or institutional opinion or bias.
  • How do we get police to work with us? Form better relationships – engage with schools, young people, community orgs, etc.
  • There is a difference between human-to-human interaction, and police-to-community dialogue where officers can hold humility in the room.
  • There needs to be coordinated community responses – how to engage police, build policies, police being approachable and part of the community, make connections, etc.

There’s more detailed information that participants shared us and we’ve uploaded these notes gathered during the NCDD session, which can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ncddnacrj.

For more information on the overall conference, keep your eye on the NACRJ’s site here for recordings, interviews, and photos. You can also check out the hashtag #NACRJ2017 on Twitter for more photos, quotes, and participant experiences!

Planning for the 7th Annual NACRJ Conference is already underway! Save the date for the next conference in Denver, CO – June 2019!