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!

Apply to Host a Nevins Fellow – Deadline October 23!

NCDD was happy to host a Confab Call this week with our partners at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy – an NCDD member organization – who talked about the incredible opportunity for D&D organizations to take advantage of their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program. Nearly two dozen organizations participated in the call, which marked the launch of the 2017-18 application for organizations who want to host a bright, motivated, D&D-trained student who will work with their organization for eight weeks next summer at no cost.

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 like bringing on a new full-time staffer, so it’s a great way for your organization to finally 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 bring more young people into our field and growing the next generation of D&D leaders!

Opportunities like this don’t come often or last long, so we encourage you to make sure to apply for a Nevins Fellow before the October 23rd deadline. You can find the application at http://tinyurl.com/Nevins2017.

If you haven’t heard of the Nevins program before, or are looking for a little more information, you are in luck!. You can start with the Frequently Asked Questions document that McCourtney created for potential applicants. We also had an informative discussion on the Confab Call with Chris Beem from the McCourtney Institute, who covered lots of the important details about the program, and you can listen to the recording of that call by clicking here. You can also get a better sense of what the program experience is like from the student’s perspective by checking out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with the the Jefferson Center.

We can’t speak highly enough about the Nevins program’s students who applicants will have the chance to work with or about the value of this program’s contributions to the D&D field. We know that these young people will add enormously to the organizations they work with and that this program is helping secure the future of our field – a wonderful testament to vision of the program founder and NCDD member David Nevins. We encourage you to apply today!

Don’t Miss the Sept. 20th Nevins Fellowship Confab Call

As we announced last month, NCDD is hosting a special Confab Call with the McCourtney Institute for Democracy and Healthy Democracy next Wednesday, September 20th from 1-2pm Eastern / 10-11am Pacific. The call is the best place to learn more about this incredible opportunity to have a D&D trained student come work with your organization at no-cost, so we strongly encourage the NCDD network to register today!

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During the call, NCDD Member and McCourtney’s Managing Director Christopher Beem will provide an overview of the Nevins Democracy Leaders Program and its aims, discuss the training that the future fellows are going through, and share more about how your organization can take advantage of this great chance to help cultivate the next generation of D&D leaders while getting more support for your work – all for FREE! We’ll also be joined by NCDD Member Robin Teater of Healthy Democracy, who will share her experiences hosting a fellow this summer.

NCDD is proud to have partnered the last couple years with the McCourtney Institute to help identify organizations in the field that can host Nevins fellows, and we’re continuing the exciting partnership this year. You can get a better sense of what the program experience is like by checking out this blog post from a 2017 Nevins Fellow about their summer fellowship with NCDD Sponsoring Member The Jefferson Center.

This is a rare and competitive opportunity for leading organizations in our field, and this Confab Call will be one of the best ways to find out more about how your group can take advantage of this program, so make sure to register today to save your spot on the call! We look forward to talking with you more then!

Second Phase of D&D training with Am. Library Association

In the beginning of the year we launched our two-year partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change initiative. For this collaborative project, we are working to train librarians on D&D methods and processes which they can in turn share with their communities to further make libraries hubs of community engagement and agents for change. We were thrilled at the response during the first phase of the project, which focused on large and urban libraries featuring NCDD member orgs Everyday Democracy and World Café.

Starting in September will be the second phase of the project, to provide D&D training tailored to academic libraries and further deepen the impact these spaces have on collaborative change on campuses. This round is comprised of three webinars featuring NCDD member orgs Essential Partners and National Issues Forums; and those that attend all three webinars will be invited to the in-person pre-conference workshop at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting early next year. This partnership is an incredible opportunity to share the work of our field and increase the possibilities for our members to network with librarians over the long-term. We encourage you to read the announcement from ALA below and you can find the original here.


Announcing Free Dialogue & Deliberation Learning Series for Academic Libraries

ALA’s Public Programs Office, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) invite academic library professionals to attend a free learning series that teaches several dialogue facilitation approaches and helps librarians position themselves to foster conversation and lead change on their campuses and beyond.

Through Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change, a two-year ALA initiative in collaboration with NCDD, academic library professionals can participate in three online learning sessions and one in-person workshop, all free of charge, between September 2017 and February 2018.

Attendees of this professional development training will learn to convene critical conversations with people with differing viewpoints; connect more meaningfully with library users and better meet their needs; and translate conversation into action.

Registration is currently open for three online sessions:

Each session will be recorded and archived for free on-demand viewing on the Programming Librarian Learning page.

Individuals who view all three webinars, live or recorded, will be invited to attend the free, one-day pre-conference workshop at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver (Feb. 9 to 13, 2018). Details about the pre-conference will be available in fall 2017 and will be shared during the webinars.

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

You can find the original version of this announcement on the ALA’s Programming Librarian site at www.programminglibrarian.org/articles/announcing-free-dialogue-deliberation-learning-series-academic-libraries.