The Public Square Academy (PSA) is relaunching this month with a new partnership development strategy. Public Square Academy provides education programs, builds and hosts communities, and leads learning experiences for those who want to defend and advocate for democracy. Thanks to Michael Freedman for sharing this announcement! We invite you to learn more about PSA below and contact Michael if you're interested in partnering.
The Public Square Academy (PSA) is relaunching this month with a new partnership development strategy. The Public Square Academy (PSA) aims to advance society by helping individuals become better citizens. The mission of The Public Square Academy is to “educate, empower, and engage people in their personal, economic, and civic lives.” We seek to make a more perfect union by promoting well-being, increasing economic opportunity, and nurturing a highly educated populace.
Public Square Academy provides education programs, builds and hosts communities, and leads learning experiences for those who want to defend and advocate for democracy. For our members, we offer personal growth, lifelong learning, the strength and support of the PSA community, and the specific benefits of our programs. We seek to inform and delight you. Join our community as we develop the program democratically.
For our partners and collaborators, we offer development and revenue opportunities through membership and repetitional growth, an LMS platform, program development and delivery guidance, a partner’s community, and collaborative marketing of programs dedicated to improving the common good.
We are offering our first program in March - Be Your Best Self – to help people become better citizens and will offer new programs each month after that. Please follow us by subscribing to our mailing list, and if you are interested in partnering with us, see this page and contact Michael Freedman directly or through the website contact page.
Learn more about the Public Square Academy at https://thepublicsquare.academy/.
NCDD is happy to announce the recent addition of three new members to the NCDD Board of Directors. Hollie Cost, Brad Rourke, and Sagacity Walker joined the board in January and will work with their fellow board members and staff over the next several years to guide and support the organization.
We also want to give a sincere thank you to our outgoing Board members, Simone Talma Flowers and Betty Knighton, who worked tirelessly over the last six years to help NCDD through transitions and developments and helped offer their enthusiasm, vision, and sage wisdom to our staff. We can't thank them enough for all of the hard work they put in over the years. Thankfully, they will remain active members of the NCDD network.
We could not be more excited to welcome our newest members to the board! We encourage you to join us in thanking them for taking on these new roles and to learn a bit more about them below.
The New Members of the NCDD Board of Directors
Hollie Cost is the Assistant Vice President for University Outreach & Public Service at Auburn University. Hollie has over 25 years of teaching experience, serving as a Professor of Special Education at the University of Montevallo, and Stephen F. Austin State University as well as a special education teacher at Loachapoka Elementary School. During her two-term tenure as the mayor of the City of Montevallo, Alabama the city completed over $10 million in capital projects including a complete Main Street renovation, a 167-acre park development and the construction of a new city hall. Hollie’s civic priorities include inclusivity, sustainability, health and wellness, education from cradle to career, and increasing the civic efficacy of local youth. She is a graduate of Leadership Alabama, serves on the board of directors for the National Issues Forum Institute, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation and the David Mathews Center for Civic Life and is a partner in Keys to the City Community Coaching firm. She has a Ph. D. and master’s degree in Special Education from Auburn University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Brad Rourke is a program officer at the Kettering Foundation. His work includes studies of naming and framing issues in public terms and of how people make decisions and work together on shared challenges in communities. In addition to serving as executive editor of issue guides since 2010, Rourke has written and cowritten a number of Kettering reports and articles, including Developing Materials for Deliberative Forums. His essays and op-ed pieces have appeared in publications such as the Washington Post and the Christian Science Monitor. He contributed a chapter on the ethics of citizenship to the book Shades of Gray (Brookings Institution, 2002). Prior to joining the foundation, Rourke was president of a public issues firm serving the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, founder and publisher of local online news source Rockville Central, director of external initiatives at The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, and vice president for public policy at the Institute for Global Ethics. He has served on the staffs of then-controller of California Gray Davis and then-US representative Jane Harman. Rourke serves on the boards of Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement and the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation. He received a BA in comparative literature from UC Berkeley and an MPA from American University.
Matthew Sagacity Walker is a program designer and facilitator focusing on community engagement and youth development. Sagacity is currently the Program Manager at Everyday Democracy where he designs community trainings and provides coaching on group facilitation and community organizing. Sagacity is also a Senior Associate with The Creative Discourse Group; a collective focused on racial equity and supporting organizations build more equitable practices. A graduate of University of Hartford, he worked as a Field Researcher for the university’s Center for Social Research where he co-designed program evaluations and long-term studies. As a group facilitator, he has collaborated with various Connecticut based organizations and institutions. Sagacity facilitated community organizing trainings in several states; Ohio, Delaware, Iowa, and Maine to name a few. He has also facilitated community dialogues on various issues, particularly education, policing, and racial equity. With a background in management, youth programming, education, program evaluation, and small group facilitation, Matthew Sagacity Walker continues to work on local and national initiatives in hopes to contribute to more equitable, just, and informed communities.
We are so pleased to be working with this amazing Board and hope that you will join us in honoring their commitments to playing such key leadership roles in our field! You can learn more about all of NCDD's Board by visiting the Board of Directors page.
NCDD member organization, Everyday Democracy, has announced they are hosting a virtual conversation on restorative justice on February 15th. Moderated by EvDem's President and CEO, Merle McGee, this virtual panel will bring together leading criminal justice advocates and members of the Connecticut Collaborative on Poverty, Criminal Justice & Race, for a discussion on the film, 'The Prison Within'. Learn more below and register for the event here.
As part of our continued partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) to support library workers through the Libraries Transforming Communities project, we wanted to share this related grant opportunity with the network.
Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities will offer more than $7 million in grants to small and rural libraries to increase the accessibility of facilities, services, and programs to better serve people with disabilities. ALA is now accepting applications for grants to be distributed over the next three years ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. Applications are open through February 28, 2023. Learn more about this opportunity in the post below and find further details at www.ala.org/LTCAccess.
New job opportunities to check out and please share with your networks! Oregon State University is hiring a Community Engagement & Leadership Program Coordinator (thanks to Emily Bowling for sharing this!). Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) is hiring for three positions: Managing Director of Funder Engagement, Communications Support Lead, and Operations Support Lead. Read more on the positions below and information is hyperlinked to the original postings.
Friendly reminder that Bridge Alliance is hiring for several 2023 internship positions, and the Participatory Budgeting Project has several positions open (currently in Seattle).
If your organization is hiring and you would like to tap the NCDD network, email announcements to NCDD Comms Coordinator, Keiva Hummel, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send directly to our Making-A-Living jobs listserv. Lastly, the following jobs boards usually have engagement and/or democracy related positions to keep an eye on: Democracy Jobs, Electiononline, and Careers in Government. Good luck to all applicants!
Oregon State University - Community Engagement & Leadership Program Coordinator
Community Engagement & Leadership (CEL) at Oregon State University invites applications for a Program Coordinator who can amplify community engagement and leadership as a critical component of the student experience. This is a full-time (1.0 FTE), 12-month, in-person, professional faculty position.
The CEL Program Coordinator will:
CEL inspires and nourishes relational leadership practices that enrich communities through collaborative learning, service, and action. Learn more about CEL’s approach to community engagement and leadership. CEL is one department within the Student Experiences & Engagement (SEE) organization within the Division of Student Affairs at Oregon State University.
Apply online (Posting #P06419UF) and include a resume, cover letter, supplemental questions/diversity statement, and contact information for three professional references. More information about the position is available on the CEL website. The application deadline is Tuesday, February 21, 2023. For additional information please contact search chair, Miranda Schmitz, at email@example.com or 541-737-7338.
From PACE's Newsletter: PACE is hiring! Help us spread the word.
In 2023, PACE is looking to fill two new roles: Managing Director of Funder Engagement who will design amazing experiences for our members and partners (and be a member of our senior leadership team) and a Communications Support Lead who will help us live into our commitment to "Learn Out Loud" and amplify the importance of civic philanthropy broadly. In addition, PACE will post a job description for an Operations Lead next week as our amazing colleague Julian Santos transitions his focus to full-time graduate studies.
All three roles can be based anywhere in the U.S. Read more about the positions on PACE's site here.
Another "Financial Friday" lead - this time from our friends at Community Heart & Soul, who are offering $10,000 seed grants to support bringing this resident-driven process to cities and towns with populations under 30,000. Learn more about the grant opportunity below and the full requirements for eligibility can be found on their site linked here.
Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program
The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program provides $10,000 in funding for resident-driven groups in small cities and towns to start the Community Heart & Soul model. Grant funding requires a $10,000 cash match from the participating municipality or a partnering organization.
How to Apply
About the Community Heart & Soul Model
Community Heart & Soul is a resident-driven process that engages the entire population of a town in identifying what they love most abou their community, what future they want for it, and how to acheive it.
Developed and field-tested over a decade in partnership with over 90 small cities and towns across America, Community Heart & Soul is a proven process for engaging a community in shaping its future. Based on three powerful principles - involve everyone, focus on what matters most, and play the long game - Community Heart & Soul helps towns move toward a brighter, more prosperous future by bringing the residents of a community closer together. When residents get closer, differences tend to fade and the things they care most about replace the differences. Trust is built and residents become more collaborative in their decision-making and stronger believers in their communities. People continue to stay in their communities, new people move in, and investment in towns increases.
Community Heart & Soul is unique in how it engages communities. It is a highly inclusive process that reaches deep into communities to ensure all voices are represented in determining a town's future. Instead of bringing residents to the table, we bring the table to them at community events, neighborhood block parties, schools, businesses, and virtual gatherings.
Learn more at: www.communityheartandsoul.org/seed-grants/
NCDD member organization, the National Civic League is accepting applications for the 2023 All-America City Award until Wednesday, February 15th. This year's theme, ‘Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement’, seeks to identify communities that are working to improve the health and well-being of young people, with particular attention to efforts that engage young people in this work. Only one of the featured projects has to relate to the theme, so they welcome communities who are addressing other challenges as well. Learn more in the post below and on NCL's site linked here.
The 2023 All-America City Awards: Applications Due 2/15
The National Civic League is now accepting applications for the 2023 All-America City Award! The theme for 2023 is " Creating thriving communities through youth engagement."
Since 1949, the National Civic League has designated towns, boroughs, cities, counties, and regions as All-America Cities for their outstanding civic accomplishments. The award, bestowed yearly on 10 communities, recognizes the work of communities in using inclusive civic engagement to address critical issues and create stronger connections among residents, nonprofits, academic institutions, businesses, and government leaders.
The 2023 All-America City Award will recognize ten communities that are working to improve the lives of young people, with particular attention to efforts that engage young people in this work. Democracy thrives when all residents are active and engaged in the policies and decisions that shape their lives. In 2023, the National Civic League is seeking to identify communities that are breaking down barriers to meaningful youth participation and enacting programs that will improve quality of life for youth, and all residents, by extension.
All-America City applicants for 2023 will be asked to demonstrate innovation, impact, equity and inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross sector collaboration by discussing the strength of their civic capital—the formal and informal relationships, networks and capacities they use to make decisions and solve problems—and to provide examples of community-driven projects/programs that have adapted and transformed the community to be more receptive to youth voices and have addressed their concerns for the future.
Applications are due February 15, 2023. 20 finalists will be named in March of 2023 and will be invited to assemble a community team to present their work at the All-America City Award event in Denver, CO from June 9-11, 2023, during which the ten eventual winners will be selected and announced. The 2023 award event will be in-person for the first time since 2019 and the League is looking forward to connecting with communities that are exhibiting the best in local innovation, civic engagement, and cross-sector collaboration.
Teams of residents, nonprofit, business, and government leaders, and young people from communities across the country will share insights with peers, learn from national thought-leaders, and present the story of their work to a jury of nationally recognized civic leaders. The event culminates with the awards ceremony, recognizing the year’s ten All-America Cities. The transformational experience equips, inspires, and supports leaders and communities to achieve more than they ever believed possible.
The All-America City Award shines a spotlight on the incredible work taking place in communities across the country. By celebrating the best in local innovation, civic engagement and cross-sector collaboration, the All-America City Award reminds us of the potential within every community to tackle tough issues and create real change.
For additional information, watch this informational webinar and download the 2023 application.
Applications are open for the Better Arguments Project Ambassador Program until February 5th. This nine-week, fellowship program will offer the opportunities to learn with others in the Ambassador cohort on how to have more constructive conversations within their communities. The program is free to attend, and will provide a stipend to participants. The Better Arguments Project is a collaboration by the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program, Allstate, and Facing History and Ourselves. Learn more about the program below and click here to apply.
Better Arguments Project Ambassador Program
Do you want to lead your community to engage more constructively across differences of opinion?
The Better Arguments Project Ambassador Program is a fellowship-style, action-oriented experience. As a result of the program, each Ambassador will be equipped to make commitments of action to put Better Arguments into practice in their respective communities. We seek leaders of all kinds who share a passion for finding healthier, more constructive ways to disagree and exchange ideas, and who are ready to commit to leading their communities in doing so. This program will unfold through a series of nine modules, taking place virtually for two-hours each week. Meeting weekly with their cohort of Ambassadors, participants will master the Better Arguments framework, reflect deeply on their own values and views about civil discourse and engagement across divides, and learn how to guide others to argue better. Participants will engage in peer-to-peer learning with a diverse cohort of Ambassadors, all of whom are taking this step to improve our civil discourse. With the support and feedback from fellow Ambassadors as well as the Better Arguments team, participants will craft a commitment to bring Better Arguments concepts to their community.
This program is completely free, and each participant will receive a stipend. If this program sounds right for you, start by asking yourself: “Why does my community need a Better Argument?” Share your thoughts with us by applying to the Ambassador Program today!
More information can be found at: betterarguments.org/ambassador-program/.
NCDD member orgs - CitizenLab and Konveio have teamed up to make online engagement even more dynamic! "Get the right community input for every phase of your project. Learn how to match the right communications and engagement tools to each part of a project lifecycle with CitizenLab and Konveio." Learn about this exciting partnership on their upcoming webinar this Thursday, January 26th, at 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific - read more below and register here.
Introducing the CitizenLab x Konveio partnership.
Get everyone on the same page with a full suite of online community engagement tools and interactive documents.
Until now, online engagement tools have applied a one-size-fits-all approach; relying heavily on surveys throughout a project lifecycle and under-investing in initial and follow-up communications. This approach can make engagement feel transactional and leave residents in the dark about how and when their input will be used.
In response, CitizenLab and Konveio have teamed up to ensure local governments can match the right communications and engagement tools to each part of a project lifecycle. Local governments can now do it all; launch a project using CitizenLab's idea collection or survey tools; refine early drafts or mockups using Konveio's embedded document engagement platform; and then communicate out findings and reports, all in one place.
This webinar will cover the different types of community input and buy-in required as a project progresses, and identify different "sequences" or pre-defined engagement processes that align to specific types of projects, like comprehensive plans, climate action plans, and ARPA budgeting. Join us to learn and discuss:
Register for the upcoming webinar at: www.citizenlab.co/konveio-webinar
NCDD Member Organization, the Kettering Foundation, announced the release of their most recent publication, Connections 2022: Innovating for Democracy. This issue explores learnings from Kettering's research around the challenges to democracy and takeaways on how various sectors are working to address those challenges. Read the highlights in the post below and download the publication for free on Kettering's site here.
Connections 2022: Innovating for Democracy
Connections 2022 is a deep dive into Kettering research: what we’ve done—and where we want to move in the future. The issue, edited by KF director of strategic initiatives Melinda Gilmore with KF senior associate Maura Casey, features research spearheaded by Kettering program staff and colleagues. It includes articles focused on how citizens and professionals are tackling the challenges of democracy, from elementary students developing deliberative citizenship to journalists rethinking how they engage with the community. One common theme runs throughout: the work of democracy includes experimenting and learning together. The authors invite you to learn with them and consider how you might innovate for democracy in your community.
Articles in this issue:
Find the full publication at: www.kettering.org/catalog/product/connections-2022.