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Organizations Working On
Finding Common Ground

Bridge Alliance

The Alliance is an invitation-only network of 97 organizations all of which agree to be guided by four principles. These include advocating a stronger voice for citizens in the political process while at the same time emphasizing that respectful, civil discourse is necessary for genuine problem solving. Member organizations have a combined three million supporters. The Alliance works to accelerate the rapidly growing civic reform movement through sharing information and facilitating collaboration. They maintain an Overview of the Democracy Field. It is a continuously updated database of all "known work for healthy self-governance."

The Alliance is one of several organizations combining both finding common ground and making democracy work. They focus on building civic engagement, improving government decision-making by giving more weight to the general public and less to big money and business interests in making decisions, and boosting participation in the election process. They offer email updates about their work and that of their member organizations. Combined with the Overview Database, this can help keep everyone well informed about the great progress being made by pro-democracy advocates. Of the many other helpful features of the Alliance website, one very useful element is a robust calendar of the conferences and related events offered by member organizations.

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Essential Partners

They promote constructive dialogue where conflicts are driven by differences in identity, beliefs, and values. They do this by offering training workshops, custom training, and dialogue facilitation, as well as through consultation services. They offer an easy path to explore bringing Essential Partners to your community, and they provide free training guides and dialogue resources, including its Guide For Conversations Across the Red-Blue Divide.

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Living Room Conversations

Living Room Conversations describes itself as offering "a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us." They provide an easy structure for engaging with those with whom we may not agree. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes lead to discussion of possible solutions. You can join or start a conversation, participate in online conversations, volunteer to help, or utilize their collection of more than 80 Conversation Topic Guides accessible online and downloadable as PDFs.

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Mediators Foundation

The Foundation builds bridges across divides. Their purpose is to prevent and reduce conflicts and promote collaboration. They develop and promote methods to increase our capacity for peaceful, creative problem solving, and they do so in ways intended to motivate participants to become more aware and engaged citizens. The Foundation provides fiscal sponsorship to organizations and projects that further their mission. Their site offers an overview of their many projects as well as an extensive collection of videos.

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National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

NCDD is a network of innovators who use dialogue and deliberation to promote cooperation across the divides that obstruct action on our toughest issues. NCDD offers a clearinghouse for thousands of resources and best practices, and it sponsors an annual national conference. The Coalition also offers free 1-hour online programs called Tech Tuesdays focusing on how dialogue proponents can take advantage of online engagement tools. They include many tool creators excited to share their innovations. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate.

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National Institute for Civil Discourse

NICD promotes civil discourse, with a focus on elected officials who, as they put it, "are capable of working to solve the big issues." They also work to promote public attitudes that demand both civil discourse and a government that works for everyone. NICD created the National Civility Network, a dozen university based institutes working on projects related to political dysfunction, civility, and civic engagement. They offer a workshop for legislators called Building Trust through Civil Discourse, and they provide a special website, Revive Civility. Using tools on the site, mayors can issue Civility Proclamations and citizens can sign pledges and host civility conversations.

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Everyday Democracy

Everyday Democracy partners with communities in promoting civic engagement, dialogue and deliberation, and racial equity. They provide assistance to communities working to bring together diverse groups to address community needs. Their process is explained at How We Can Help, and an article about their Dialogue to Change process adds detail. An extensive resource library offers discussion guides, handouts, success stories, and resources on civic engagement. Stories About Changemakers illustrate what's possible when people come together to create positive change.

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RepresentUs

A powerful movement of independents, progressives, and conservatives is building on America's long tradition of pursuing federal reform through the states. Organizers bring together leaders and voters from across the political spectrum to pass anti-corruption laws that stop bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections. Don't skip past viewing this excellent video explaining their growing campaign. Much of their work is modeled on the American Anti-Corruption Act. It sets a framework for city, state and federal laws. The provisions are explained in summary form here and here, and the Act itself is presented on AntiCorruptionAct.org. Their strategy to win is introduced (including an invitation to add your name as a Citizen Co-Sponsor) and then explained in a compelling video. In 2018, twenty-three transformative anti-corruption laws, from anti-gerrymandering and ranked choice voting to sweeping ethics and transparency laws, were passed in cities and states.

There are several ways to become involved in supporting this important reform campaign, along with an array of tools and resources to employ as you engage as a volunteer. Most importantly, you can join or support a specific reform campaign underway or upcoming in your area, or you can join a chapter, or better still, you can do both. Finally, RepresentUs sponsors the annual UNRIG: Summit of the Bridge Movement. It is an event they describe as "the premier right-left summit to solve America's political crisis. It's the brightest minds from the right and left working together... and a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect directly with the most engaged members of the democracy reform movement."

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