Discover All the Great Offerings at #NCDD2018!

#NCDD2018 is almost here! Just another day until our pre-conference sessions kick off on Thursday and we couldn’t be more excited to start seeing folks again! In order to really get the most out of #NCDD2018 we encourage you to check out the extra offerings at the conference, in addition to our inspiring speakers, over 60 workshops, and 30+ presenters at the D&D Showcase.

The full conference schedule is on the NCDD blog and make sure you check out the interactive, digital version hosted by Konveio! Share your thoughts here on the blog about the conference theme and how to amplify the work of D&D. Get started on the conference networking early by connecting with other attendees here. If you are looking for a room share at the Sheraton, folks are posting here. Finally, if you haven’t gotten your tickets and you’d like to join us, we have 3-day and single-day tickets still available here. That’s all, folks!

Can’t wait to see everyone at the conference!

Thursday, November 1st

Pre-conference sessions!
We are thrilled to offer five exciting day long and one half-day pre-conference sessions on Thursday, November 1, 2018, prior to the start of NCDD 2018! These sessions are great for people of various levels of experience, and offer a variety of topics. Read through these descriptions and go to ncdd2018-precon.eventbrite.com to register!

  • Standing Up for Social Justice in Times of Fear & Hatred
  • Tackling Wicked Problems in Local Communities: A Workshop for Local Governments, School Districts, and Community Leaders
  • What is Participatory Budgeting and how can it work for me?
  • A Taste of the Theory and Practice of Bohm Dialogue
  • Transforming Community Spaces: A Workshop for Community Facilitators
  • We the People Are More Powerful Than We Dare to Believe: First Steps in Dismantling Corporate Rule

5 – 7pm – Informal Meet & Greet
We welcome all folks participating in pre-conference activities and conference attendees who have arrived early to join NCDD’s Staff at Mix16 Lounge in the hotel lobby for an informal meet & greet!

6 – 7pm – Deliberation Bootcamp
This session, specifically designed for newcomers to the conference, will provide an overall introduction to NCDD and to many of the key concepts, organizations, and challenges related to the field. The session will be led by Martin Carcasson, NCDD Board member and Director of Colorado State University’s Center for Public Deliberation. Email Martín at mcarcas@colostate.edu to let him know you’ll be attending the Bootcamp.  (Governor’s Square 14)

6:30 – 8:30pm – Breaking the Partisan Trance: A dialogue think tank about this American moment
Similar to a couple in the middle of deep-set resentments, growing numbers of Americans today have become so enraged that they can hardly see or hear each other honestly anymore.  The kind of collective distortions that anger generates can be reminiscent at times of a “trance-like” state.  If that’s true, we’re curious about the ways in which dialogue practices can effectively break the almost hypnotic, reflexive reactions that currently paralyze politics. This evening will be dedicated to exploring these possibilities together, and trying them out for ourselves, utilizing various approaches we’ve been exploring, including a Living Room Conversation format and the Transpartisan Matrix to assist in the collective inquiry. Come join the brainstorm.. The fate of the republic depends on it! (Governor’s Square 15)

8 – 9:15pm – Emerging Leaders Mentoring Session
NCDD is hosting a pre-conference event for young people and students. This will be a time for attendees 35 and under to connect with the other younger conference attendees. We will also be kicking off our NCDD 2018 Mentoring Program, which will intentionally connect a cadre of experienced D&D leaders with students and youth attendees during the conference. (Governor’s Square 12)

Friday, November 2nd

 6pm – 8:30pm – White Privilege Symposium Community Event
We are sharing the Ballroom with the White Privilege Symposium for their community event, featuring performances and speakers. Event is open to NCDD attendees and the public.  (Plaza Ballroom)

7:30pm – 9:30pm – National Issues Forum: The Opiod Epidemic
What Should We Do About The Opioid Epidemic?  –  Virgina York will lead attendees in a National Issues Forum on the opioid epidemic. Join fellow attendees to experience the National Issues Forums model and deliberate on possible approaches to this complex national issue. (Governor’s Square 15)

8:30pm and on  – Building Bridges Salon
Join a late night discussion about dialogue and racial privilege after the WPS community kick-off event. Come upstairs around 8:30pm to the 15FIFTY Restaurant & Lounge for a loosely facilitated conversation to explore how WPS attendees & NCDDers can do better together.

Saturday, November 3rd

12:30 – 1:30 pm – Ben Franklin Circles Lunch

Ben Franklin Circles (BFC) use Franklin’s classic 13 virtues to spark discussion about how participants can improve themselves and their communities. Join BFC hosts from around the country for a relaxed lunch and Ben Franklin Circle in action. Get a feel for the BFC approach as we discuss Franklin’s virtue of “Resolution” in relation to our conference theme: connecting and strengthening civic innovators. The combination of Franklin’s original prompts and modern day topics generates a unique lens for civic dialogue and community building. Come eat, explore, and innovate with us. (Plaza Court 2)

For planning purposes it would assist the presenters to know if you will plan to attend this discussion circle.  Please fill out the brief form here.

This lunchtime breakout session is a circle in action. For general information about BFC please see our workshop on Friday Nov. 2nd , Session A.

Hosted by: Tracy Rogers-Tryba, Ben Franklin Circle Host, IL and Danyel Addes -Network and Program Manager, Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact, 92nd Street Y

5pm – on – Free Time & Civic Dinner Opportunity

Explore downtown Denver and go out to dinner with new or old friends… We’ll provide you with all you need to organize your evening out!

Conference sponsor Civic Dinners is offering to help people run their own Civic Dinners Saturday night. Civic Dinners helps people transform dinner tables into forums for positive social change. Our friends at Civic Dinners are happy to help anyone who wants to host on any of their three national topics: Bridging the Racial Divide, The Voice of Women, or Common Ground (just launched!).

Civic Dinners will be getting people to sign up during the Showcase/Reception on Friday afternoon. Those of you who’d like to host something at a restaurant or, even better, local folks who’d like to host a Civic Dinner in your home, can plan to do so! If this is of interest to you, email Jenn Graham at jenn@civicdinners.com so you two can connect on the details.

Make sure you check out the full conference schedule for the line-up of workshops, plenaries, and more!

On Monday, NCDD member David Campt will be holding one of his workshops, Dismantling Racism: One Conversation at a Time, on November 5th in Denver. Learn more and register here!

We Are All Catalysts: Part One – How We Can Amplify and Broaden Dialogue and Deliberation Work

“After all, the ordinary hero hiding in each of us is often the most powerful catalyst for change.” ~ Tate Taylor

We all have a spark within and we choose every day how we will or will not use our spark. In our NCDD community, we spark conversations–dialogues that change hearts and minds and steadily change the world. Our sparks can be small or big, but we must work intentionally to ensure that the sparks catch fire. What do I mean by this? I mean that it is up to us, as those working firsthand in the creations of spaces for dialogue and deliberation, that we do not work in isolation. Like the catalysts in science, we must interact with others to create the chemistry worth having in our world.

The upcoming 2018 NCDD conference in Denver seeks to “catalyze the catalysts” by asking how we can work together to broaden the use and amplify the impacts of dialogue and deliberation efforts locally and globally. We live in an interconnected world, but it is very easy in our everyday lives to cling to the familiar and agreeable. This includes the media we consume, company we keep, and in our own work. It is up to us to share our work in ways that amplify the benefits and accessibility of both dialogue and deliberation. This means we need to intentionally step up our efforts and in doing so, step out of our comfort zones to facilitate the connections we need most–such as those across ideological divides poisoning our discourse. As Jonathan Haidt shares in his book The Righteous Mind, “When I was a teenager I wished for world peace, but now I yearn for a world in which competing ideologies are kept in balance.”

We see incredible work by D&D innovators every day that are answering this call to bring together our communities in innovative ways that heal and strengthen our relationships. Here are just a few examples (among many) from some of our conference presenters…

Libraries Transforming Communities is a joint effort by the American Libraries Association and NCDD. The initiative is founded on the strengths of the library as a trusted public community space and a place ideal for D&D work and is intended for use by libraries around the world to facilitate healing and idea generation via D&D.

The Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University has the mission of enhancing the local civic culture through increased participation and know-how of how deliberation works. Through elevating conversation via civics education, the center celebrates how crowds conversing (rather than arguing) can create better ideas for the whole community. They also recently won a Civvys Award for Local Winner!

The David Mathews Center for Civic Life based in Alabama believes in public forums and have locals define the issues and come together to solve them. The center provides education, services in moderation, and setting up community engagement events.

Make America Dinner Again empowers everyone to act locally with dinners of 8 and 2 moderators that discuss tough issues with an emphasis on respectful conversation and delicious food.

We hope these examples evoke excitement for the D&D community (and for the upcoming conference)! In true NCDD form, we want to engage this community of innovators in discussing how we build capacity for D&D in more communities and design action steps to make this happen moving forward. How have you succeeded in building capacity for engagement in the communities you serve? What do you think the next innovations might look like for dialogue, deliberation, and engagement? What do we need to discuss and think about together as a field, in order to succeed in broadening the use of D&D?

We hope readers will share below their own stories of successes, ideas for new innovations, and even the challenges that we need to tackle collectively in order to achieve this goal of bringing dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement to more communities. Share your thoughts below and engage with others’ responses. NCDD’s staff will be sharing your input at the conference to help us jumpstart further conversations and collaborations we hope will help us all take our work to the next level. You can still join us at #NCDD2018 – get your tickets today!

Stay tuned for the follow-up post, “We Are All Catalysts: Part 2”, where we will shift from examples to best practices to help everyone begin or continue to strengthen and amplify their dialogue and deliberation initiatives!

Sneak Peek at NCDD2018: Our Featured Speakers!

Just one more week until the National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation kicks off in downtown Denver! We hope you are getting as excited as we are and even more so after you see some of our featured speakers! We have a dynamic lineup in store for all three days that will elevate exciting innovative civic practices happening across the country, explore how to broaden the reach of this field, and catalyze us for our work moving forward. You won’t want to miss this event! The late registration rate starts this coming Saturday, October 27th, so make sure you register today!

In addition to our great speakers, NCDD2018 will be filled with over 60 fantastic workshops which will span a wide range of subjects, plentiful networking opportunities, 30+ presenters during our engaging D&D Showcase event, and so much more! Remember we also have six exceptional pre-conference sessions being offered on Thursday, November 1st, that we strongly encourage you to check out. Take advantage of the pre-conference calm and more intimate space to learn and meet more folks passionate about D&D and engagement!

Our Featured Speakers

Derek Okubo – Executive Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships, City and County of Denver

Derek Okubo is a Colorado native and Executive Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships. The agency acts as a conduit of communication and convener of problem solving among local government, non-profits, businesses and residents. Derek attended the University of Northern Colorado and graduated with a degree in Psychology and double minors in Communications and Sociology

Justine Lee – Co-creator and Head of Partnerships, Make America Dinner Again

Justine Lee is the co-creator of Make America Dinner Again, and as Head of Partnerships, has developed relationships and worked collaboratively with organizations, media, and communities with similar missions, including appearances on NPR, WMAL-DC, and the BBC. In addition to MADA, Justine is a marketer and has ten years of experience managing and producing content for top creative firms, startups, nonprofits, and large tech companies.

Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson – spiritual leader and author, Holding Up Your Corner

Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson is a spiritual entrepreneur, elder in the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, and adjunct faculty at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. Recognized as a scholar- practitioner, Johnson authored Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community, and is a sought after thought-leader who empowers individuals and communities towards prophetic response- healing, justice and reconciliation.

Courtney Hartman – singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Slow Tours
April Struthers – organizational consultant and facilitator, Slow Tours

Colorado native, Courtney Hartman, is a Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and guitarist. April Struthers is a consultant, coach, facilitator, and owner of Wit Works, Ltd. The two have been exploring how to set up an anti-ageist, community building, slower-than-usual tour (based on the slow food movement) to allow time for deeper relationship between musicians and community.

Fatima Ahmed, Student, Lakehead University

Fatima Ahmed is a graduate of the Peace & Conflict Studies program at the University of Waterloo and current student at Lakehead University in Ontario. She recently served as the summer program director for Heart to Heart, a peace-building summer camp facilitating dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Fatima is a mediator and has extensive experience in cross cultural dialogue from her work around the world.

John Steiner, Co-Founder and Board Member, Bridge Alliance

John Steiner is a meshweaver, transpartisan leader and creative consultant, often with his wife and working partner, Margo King. He is one of the national leaders of the current effort to take the transpartisan movement to scale. He currently works full time helping to build, catalyze and serve this emergent, transpartisan/bridging field as a co-founder and board member of the Bridge Alliance, as co-founder and co-director of the Bridge Summit, and as a board member of the Mediators Foundation and BridgeUSA.

Wendy Willis, Exec. Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Wendy Willis is the Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the founder and director of Oregon’s Kitchen Table in the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. The winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize, Wendy is also a poet and essayist, and writes at twowomenandarepublic.com. She has published two books of poems, and her next book of essays, These Are Strange Times, My Dear, is forthcoming in February 2019. Wendy is an NCDD Board Member.

Watch this teaser video if you haven’t seen it already! Looking forward to seeing you all here in Denver!

The 2018 Civvy Awardees Announced – CSU Center for Public Deliberation Ties for Local Winner!

Exciting news – the winners of the 2018 American Civic Collaboration awards (a.k.a. The Civvys), were announced at the National Conference in Citizenship last week! Granted to those doing high-collaboration work that transcends political division, we invite you to join us in wishing the awardees a big congratulations! Several NCDDers were listed as finalists and we are proud to see the Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation, founded and directed by NCDD Board Chair Martin Carcasson, tie for Local Winner! You can read the announcement below and find the original version here.


Celebrating 2018 Civvys Winners

On October 18, 2018 at the National Conference in Citizenship in Washington, D.C., six inspiring initiatives were honored as winners of the 2018 American Civic Collaboration awards.

The six winners and 23 finalists represent outstanding examples of collaborative work that elevate democracy and civic engagement, at every level of American life. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, these organizations are working hard to build a better future, and inspire others to do the same.

Meet the 2018 winners in each category:

NATIONAL WINNER: iCivics

iCivics is a leader in the field of civic education, paving the way for students to learn about their nation through innovative curriculum that includes games, digital interactives, surveys and teacher resources. More than 200,000 teachers use iCivics games and resources to educate and engage 5 million K-12 students in all 50 states, and the organization is committed to doubling its reach by the year 2020. In the words of Civvys judge and 2017 National Winner Jody Thomas, “This organization hits all the right notes and they have the metrics to back it up.”

LOCAL WINNER – TIE: Interfaith Works NY El Hindi Center for Dialogue; Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation

The El-Hindi Center for Dialogue at Interfaith Works in Central New York was nominated for their outstanding work in a variety of programs, most notably an initiative bridging the gap in understanding between the Syracuse Police Department and the local community. Their immediate and lasting impact presents a model for other communities to follow. Civvys judge Michele Holt-Shannon, who was also a 2017 Local winner, pointed out “the use of multiracial, multilingual facilitators expands the impact of the dialogues.”

As a pioneering model adopted by other universities, the Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation operates under the belief that universities play a key role in not just providing quality information or training informed citizens, but in elevating the quality of communication in their communities. They provide forums for citizen engagement, connection and empowerment – improving outcomes for the students involved, the local community, the faculty bringing together theory and practice, and the university as a convener.

YOUTH WINNER: FIRST VOTE NC

First Vote NC believes that if students have an opportunity to practice voting, it will become a habit. They have built a track record of success with their virtual voting platform and civics lessons, which provide education, information, and room for engagement, while de-emphasizing the right versus wrong nature of today’s politics in favor of understanding how perspectives differ because of a myriad of factors. Through a mobilized network of teachers using the platform, the work of First Vote has reached over 40,000 students in 46 counties.

POLITICAL WINNER: MAINE RANK CHOICE VOTING EDUCATION EFFORT

This year, the Chamberlain Project Foundation and the Foundation for Independent Voter Education launched a joint effort in Maine to make sure voters were comfortable and aware of ranked choice voting, which helps broaden candidate pools beyond two parties, increase voter turnout and give more power to each vote. Their work created a transformational change in the way the state of Maine elects its leaders, what Civvys judge David Sawyer called “a game changer for the nation, breaking the polarization paradigm.” Two other judges called this work “an essential experiment” in the “laboratory of democracy.”

COMMITTEE CHOICE AWARD: MONTEVALLO JUNIOR CITY COUNCIL

In 2012, eight middle-schoolers in a small, rural Alabama community approached their mayor to start the first-ever Junior City Council in their town. Through the work of these young people, they established themselves as a political body, and their president sits on the dais at all City Council Meetings to represent the youth voice. The JCC hosts deliberative forums, developed a merchant discount card for teens and convened a mayoral debate, among other activities. Their nomination, submitted by an adult, noted, “In the decade I have worked in civic engagement, I have never seen a group of young people be given as much real power to make positive change in their community.”

You can find the original version of this on The Civvy’s site at www.civvys.org/the-2018-civvys-1/.

Oh the Places You’ll Go & People You’ll Meet at NCDD2018!

A Quick Guide to Networking at the NCDD Conference that will set you on a course for successful partnerships.

What happens when you bring together a few hundred innovators in dialogue and deliberation and give them dedicated spaces to spark conversations and partnerships? MAGIC.

Every two years, NCDD does just that. This November, our three-day conference will convene at the Sheraton Denver Downtown and include 400+ attendees from around the globe. Fellow humans passionate about public engagement ready to connect and create friendships and partnerships that will last years into the future.

NCDD’s planning team has been hard at work to ensure an environment that facilitates idea generation and times and places to find your D&D tribe.

Here’s what you need to know:

Start early! Be sure to download and use the interactive conference guide brought to us by Konveio. This will allow you to browse the events, learn more about the networking opportunities, and many of the great attendees presenting and speaking at the conference.  To learn more about how to use the guide attend the Tech Tuesday on October 23rd!

Want to get a jump start on meeting fellow NCDD attendees and don’t want to wait until Friday morning? Then make sure you check out the six pre-conference sessions being offered on Thursday, November 1st! We have limited space for available for each of the sessions, so register ASAP to reserve your seat.

Dinner Time!  Saturday night is “on your own” but what we really mean is “with new NCDD friends”. First, meet up at the hotel bar (Mix16 Lounge) and then pick a place to wander to and get into the full conference spirit by connecting over food and drink at any one of Denver’s delicious eateries.

Use the On-Site Networking Board! Those returning will fondly remember our extra-large NCDD bulletin board made to suit all of your conference networking needs. We’ll have those great networking cards that will help you post your interests and propose opportunities to connect with others.

Do not miss the plenaries! Our opening plenary will feature “lightning talks” by civic innovators to spark inspiration and will include a networking activity to assist every attendee with identifying goals for the conference and beyond. On Saturday and Sunday, we will be focusing the plenaries almost exclusively on connecting, by using Open Space and Pro Action Cafe, respectively, for folks to propose the topics and ideas they most want to connect with others about!

Places for YOU! For when you want to meet outside of our scheduled sessions, there are four rooms and a foyer available on a first-come basis. Just look for Plaza Court rooms #2, #3, #4 and #5 for more privacy and swing around to the Plaza Exhibit Foyer for more casual seating space for discussions.

We also thought it might be helpful to create a space to connect before the conference. Please use the comment section below to start finding who you want to connect with in Denver this November! Propose a meet-up over lunch, dinner, or in between, and start finding folks to join you! We’ll keep sharing and pointing people to this post up until the conference kick-off.

We hope you are as revved up as we are about NCDD 2018!

Journalists Empower Citizens’ View of Role in Democracy

NCDD member org the Kettering Foundation recently shared some takeaways from journalists at the last Deliberative Democracy Exchange (DDEx). The journalists despite being from five different countries shared similar concerns about the growing global polarization and were united in their desire to both inform readers and empower people to engage in working toward solutions. You can read the article below and find the original on Kettering’s site here.


Journalists at DDEx Grapple with Helping Citizens See Themselves in Public Issues

The journalists from five different countries who gathered at the Deliberative Democracy Exchange (DDEx) had many things in common, but most of all, they were worried.

Over the past year, headlines around the world have called out the deepening of divisions, “populist” revolts, and growing polarization. What concerned these journalists was how these divisions were impeding people’s ability to make progress on issues, not just in a single country, but around the globe. And what was more, they suspected that standard journalistic practices were contributing to the deepening divisions and wanted to do something about it, but they weren’t sure how.

The journalists came from Colombia, Israel, Italy, Kenya, and South Africa. They shared experiences and frustrations in trying to encourage citizens to see issues as shared public problems instead of dilemmas to be solved by experts alone.

Each saw polarization, but acknowledged that in each country the fractures emerge in different ways. In the United States, for example, polarization is often defined in political terms, such as Democrats versus Republicans or liberal versus conservative.

Yet in South Africa, class and race emerge as dividing lines.

In Colombia, class, land ownership, and the experiences of decades-long civil war—and the challenges of negotiating a recent, fragile peace—have left citizens polarized.

In Israel, religious differences both between faiths and within them, and the societal power associated with different group identifications, divide people.

In Italy, Kettering Fanning resident Federica Marangio said that politics has become so contentious that people just walk away. They see no clear role for themselves and so become apathetic.

In Kenya, where there are numerous tribes but only a few that typically gain political power, government corruption and tribal identification are both issues that split people and groups.

The journalists at DDEx want to cover the issues, but do so in a way that people see a role for themselves in democracy and in making progress on shared public problems. The journalists all had the same question: How could they help both inform people and encourage them to see their own power?

The answers are a little different for each journalist—and each country.

In South Africa, where three-quarters of fourth graders cannot read for meaning, the answer is not simply to write another story emphasizing the need for parents to use libraries or demand more from schools. Instead, Rod Amner, a former Fanning resident and journalism professor at Rhodes University, is helping to build a network of parents, learners, teachers, NGOs, and government officials to help families become more literate and help others to do the same. Then those who have undergone literacy training will be involved in writing the stories.

In Kenya, three journalists are holding meetings with other journalists in their country about the need to go beyond daily stories of corruption that increase the feelings of apathy among readers and radio listeners. Instead, they want to discuss ways journalists can write stories that help people see what they can do. They hope to hold meetings to discuss the practices of naming and framing issues for journalists for whom those concepts are new.

In Colombia, journalists decided to take a different approach when covering the recent presidential election. They noted that the country has been divided for 50 years, between political parties and between right-wing and left-wing armed militants. Political divisions in peacetime are still prevalent, and they wanted to avoid contributing to those divisions. They tried to cover stories in a way that showed people what they have in common, even if they have different views. They gathered citizens ahead of the race to ask them what questions they wanted candidates to answer and involved officeholders who seemed most interested in a community-oriented approach.

In Israel, journalists wrote about an issue that a Jewish woman spoke about in a way that made both Jewish and Muslim women see what they all shared in common. It involved a husband withholding from his wife a blessing over a meal, done in such a way that made it impossible for her to eat without suffering public shame. Both groups saw that the use of religion to harass or abuse a spouse was not relegated to one religion alone; they coined the term, “spiritual violence” for such acts and have made it a public issue. In such stories, the journalists said, they could show people a problem that very different religions share.

And in Italy, Marangio discovered for herself that how journalists frame stories will make it more or less likely that people will respond and get involved. She first tried to hold a public forum to hear people’s general concerns, but nobody came. Then she wrote a story on increased levels of illness in areas located near factories, and then held a forum, inviting both citizens and politicians. This time, 100 people came because she had written about an issue in a way in which her readers could “see” themselves—and see the issue—as a shared public problem. The way she framed the story mattered.

The steps each journalist took were often small, but important, and contribute to their shared recognition that ordinary citizens have a role in democracy in grappling every day with issues of concern. Journalists who are open to change and who question their professional routines and the way they go about reporting stories may find that they are embarking on interesting and even exciting experiments that change the way they report the news. It might even change how those who read and hear their stories think about, and perhaps even trust, the media.

You can find the original version of this on Kettering’s site at www.kettering.org/blogs/journalists-ddex.

Submit Application for NCL’s 2019 All-American City Awards

It’s that time again! Applications are now being accepted for the 2019 All-American City Awards until March 5th, 2019. Hosted by the National Civic League, an NCDD partner and conference sponsor, the award will be given to the communities working towards improving health equity through inclusive civic engagement. We encourage you to watch the video from the 2018 awardees with tips on applying and how the award has benefitted their communities. You can read the announcement below and find the original version on NCL’s site here.


Creating Healthy Communities Through Inclusive Civic Engagement

The National Civic League invites you to apply for the All-America City Award – the nation’s most prestigious community award, now in its 70th year.

The AAC Award offers the opportunity for both recognition and reflection. Applications require communities to come together to assess their strengths and challenges. The 2019 All-America City Award is focused on celebrating examples of civic engagement practices that advance health equity in local communities. We are looking for communities that demonstrate inclusive decision-making processes to create better health for all, and particularly for populations currently experiencing poorer health outcomes.

Download the application now and mobilize local groups to work together and display on a national stage the people and projects that make your community a great place to live, work and play.

Details and Dates
Applications on behalf of cities, counties, towns, or tribes are due March 5, 2019. Leaders from local government, schools, nonprofits, community foundations, libraries, chambers of commerce and youth have all led their communities to win the All-America City Award. APPLY NOW!

  • July 2018 – June 2019
    All-America City Promising Practices Webinar Series
  • Nov. 14, 2018
    Letter of Intent due (not required to apply)
  • March 5, 2019
    Application Due
  • April 2019
    Finalists Announced
  • June 21 – 23, 2019
    Awards Competition and Conference

Want to submit a competitive application? Watch the webinar recording below to hear 2018 All-America City winners, Kershaw County, SC and Las Vegas, NV, present on their All-America City journey with tips for applying, the types of projects they submitted and an update on the benefits they have seen from winning the award.

You can find the original version of this announcement on the National Civic League’s site at www.nationalcivicleague.org/creating-healthy-communities-through-inclusive-civic-engagement/.

Count Me In! – Backyard Ballot Bash & Ballot Speed Dating

We always love hearing about cool, fun engagement efforts going on, which is why we’re excited to share with you an effort happening in Colorado called, Count Me In! It’s a collaborative civic engagement effort that educates voters on what’s on their ballot in a transpartisan way, bringing in all sides of the initiatives. CMI seeks to empower voters to know what they are voting on and vote on the whole ballot, with fun events like Ballot Speed Dating and Backyard Ballot Bashes. If you are in Colorado, check out the events that are lined up or contact CMI to plan your own! For those not in the state, we encourage you to check it out and see if you can bring something similar to your communities! You can learn more about CMI in the post below and on their site here.


Learn about what’s on your ballot with Count Me In!

There are going to be 13 initiatives for Coloradans to vote on this year, and that’s just the statewide ones. Even the most well-informed among us will need some help figuring out how they’re going to vote on all of these issues. That’s why Count Me In! is here. Once again, Count Me In! is partnering with community organizations around the state to make sure voters get all the information they need to make informed decisions about these critical policies affecting our state. Count Me In! is nonpartisan and provides information that is objective. There is still time to bring Count Me In! to your community, connect with us and we will plan an event that works for your community.

Check out where Count Me In! is headed with our list of events below. Join us for these events and share with your folks. We are getting new requests every day so check our website and Facebook page for the most up to date CMI! Events.

Save the Date(s) for Count Me In! Ballot Speed Dating

Count Me In! Colorado is hosting a few bigger ballot events we are calling Ballot Speed Dating. You’ll learn about each measure at these fun, informational ballot events. Count Me In! will be inviting all the statewide ballot campaigns to join us. You’ll get to ask your questions and learn more about each measure, like you would while speed dating. There will be appetizers, drinks, prizes, and engaging election information. Don’t miss this event!

  • Grand Junction Ballot Speed Dating: Thursday, September 27 from 5:30 –7:00 pm, SpringHills Suites, 236 Main Street, Grand Junction. Please share this event with folks in your network that would be interested!
  • Denver Ballot Speed Dating: Wednesday, October 17 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Great Divide Brewing, 1812 35th St, Denver, CO 80216. Be on the lookout for more info and promotional material for this event later this week.
  • Denver Ballot Bash: Saturday, October 20 – Denver Game Lounge – more info to come!

Ballot Bash in a Box

This year, in addition to great events at cool venues in every corner of the state, voters will be invited to host their own Backyard Ballot Bash (patent pending) using materials we’re calling Ballot Bash in a Box. If you’re dying to help your friends and neighbors get informed and want to make sure they vote their ballots from the bottom up, or you just need more information about Count Me In!, make sure you email Caitlin Schneider at schneider@coloradofiscal.org today.

Follow Count Me In on the social media, FacebookTwitterInstagram!

Check out the calendar of events planned so far!

Date/Time Event
9/13/18
10 am – 11:30 am
 Count Me In! at the Southwest Rural Philanthropy Days
9/20/18
7 pm – 8 pm
 CMI! joins DougCo Dems for “What’s on Your Ballot?”
 Highlands Ranch Library, Highlands Ranch CO
9/23/18
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Tri-County Health Network hosts Count Me In! in Telluride
9/27/18
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
 Grand Junction Ballot Speed Dating
 SpringsHill Suites by Marriot, Grand Junction CO
10/01/18
6 – 7 pm
What’s on your Ballot?
Aspen, CO
10/02/18
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
What’s on your Ballot?
Colorado Mountain College, Edwards Campus, Edwards CO
10/04/18
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
 CMI Happy Hour with Common Cause
10/10/18
5:30 am – 7:00 am
 Count Me In! partners with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
 Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Littleton Colorado
10/11/18
8 am – 10 am
 CMI! in Summit County “What’s on your Ballot”
10/11/18
12 pm – 2 pm
 CMI! in Grand County “What’s on your Ballot?”
10/14/18
9:30 am – 10:30 am
 Count Me In! and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
 Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Littleton Colorado

You can read more information about Count Me In! at www.countmeincolorado.com/.

National Week of Conversation from October 5th – 13th

The next National Week of Conversation (NWOC) is October 5th – 13th! During NWOC, folks around the country will be joining conversations, in hopes to better address the intense divisions in our society through dialogue, deepening understanding, and building relationships. We encourage you to join a conversation already going on and/or start your own here! To help support these conversations, resources like conversations guides and helpful background information are provided on the National Conversation Project (NCP) site here, many from the NCDD coalition! And don’t forget to check out the 3k+ resources on the NCDD Resource Center too! You can read more in the post below and on the NCP site here.


National Week of Conversation: October 5-13

Americans of all stripes are stepping up to address the growing cultural crisis of hyper-polarization and animosity across divides. Together we can turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division with widespread conversations in which we #ListenFirst to understand. Supported by 100+ organizations, National Conversation Project promotes monthly conversation opportunities as well as National Weeks of Conversation.

In April of this year, thousands of Americans took part in the first National Week of Conversation (NWOC). More than 130 schools, libraries, faith communities, activist groups and nonprofits hosted conversations coast to coast in 32 states. These conversations were grounded in a pledge to listen first and seek understanding. The official #ListenFirst hashtag reached millions during NWOC and continues to be promoted by celebrities and journalists to millions more. NWOC events gained media attention across the nation including in the New York Times.

Majorities of NWOC participants walked away feeling more tolerant, understanding, appreciative and curious toward people with different perspectives. Two-thirds rated the value of their conversation as a 9 or 10 out of 10. More than three-quarters now feel better equipped and more likely to listen first to understand, as well as more likely to participate in conversations across divides. A survey of all Americans found 75% willing to set a good example by practicing conversations across divides, and 36%—amounting to more than 100 million people—want to see a national campaign promoting such conversations.

The next National Week of Conversation is October 5th – 13th! Join a conversation already going on or start your own here: www.nationalconversationproject.org/how_to_get_involved

TOPIC OF THE MONTH: Bridging Divides

The United States is facing a cultural crisis. Increasingly in America today, we don’t just disagree; we distrust, dislike, even despise those who see the world differently. Animosity for positions is becoming contempt for the people who hold them. Difference and disagreement are deeply personal as we rage against and recoil from those we see as enemies across widening divides—political, racial, religious, economic and more. Most of us see fewer things that bind Americans together today and have few or no friends from the other side. The rate of loneliness has more than doubled to nearly 50%, creating a public health epidemic. We’re withdrawing from conversations—thereby eroding relationships and understanding—which threatens the foundational fabric of America. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level, and 56% believe it will only get worse. Our condition is rapidly deteriorating into what’s now being described as a soft civil war.

There’s nothing wrong with passionate beliefs, disagreement, and protest, but it feels like something more dangerous is taking hold. Do you see it? Personally feel it? What’s changed? What can we do about it together? How we can bridge the divides that threaten our future?

Conversation Guides on Bridging Divides

Background Information to support these conversations:

National Conversation Project Calendar – click here

National Week of Conversation – Fall ‘18: October 5-13, 2018
Listen First Friday – Nov: November 2, 2018
Listen First Friday – Dec: December 7, 2018
Listen First Friday – Jan: January 4, 2019
Listen First Friday – Feb: February 1, 2019
Listen First Friday – Mar: March 1, 2019
National Week of Conversation – Spring ‘19: April 5-13, 2019
Listen First Friday – May: May 3, 2019
Listen First Friday – Jun: June 7, 2019
Listen First Friday – Jul: July 5, 2019
Listen First Friday – Aug: August 2, 2019
Listen First Friday – Sep: September 6, 2019
National Week of Conversation – Fall ‘19: October 4-12, 2019
Listen First Friday – Nov: November 1, 2019
Listen First Friday – Dec: December 6, 2019

You can learn more about the National Week of Conversation at www.nationalconversationproject.org/.

Apply by October 15th to Host Nevins Fellow (for free!)

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 2018-19 application is open now through Monday, October 15th, for organizations who want to host a bright, motivated, D&D-trained student at no-cost!

The Nevins Democracy Leaders Program was founded in 2014 after a gift from David Nevins, President and Co-Director of the Bridge Alliance, an NCDD Member Org. The program provides Penn State students with education and ­training in transpartisan leadership skills by exposing them to a variety of viewpoints and philosophies, as well as teaching critical thinking along with the tools of dialogue and deliberation.

But the flagship work of fostering the next generation of democracy leaders centers on the yearly initiative to place Nevins Program students in unique fellowship position with organizations focused on D&D, transpartisan dialogue, and civic renewal – that means organizations like yours! Stipends and living expenses are provided to the students through the program so that organizations can bring these bright, motivated students into their work for a summer at no cost. The McCourtney Institute provides $5,000 toward the cost of hosting a Nevins Fellow for a summer internship. Students come to their internship sites well prepared and ready to get to work.

Fellows have interned at the following organizations, just to name a few:

  • Everyday Democracy
  • Participatory Budgeting
  • National Institute for Civil Discourse

Much like students apply for the fellowship, organizations apply to host a fellow. Nonprofits, government organizations, or other groups committed to building and sustaining democracy that would like to host a fellow can apply here!

NCDD hosted a Confab Call last September with Chris Beem from the McCourtney Institute, who 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 Jefferson Center, to get a better sense of the student’s experience.

It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone involved!

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!