For more than 30 years communities of all sizes have used the Civic Index to measure their civic capital – the formal and informal relationships, networks and capacities that enable communities to solve problems and thrive.
Building on decades of work in communities, the fourth edition updates the Civic Index with a specific focus on equity and engagement; key components for healthy, thriving communities.
Use the Civic Index with gatherings of community members, partner organizations or staff to spark conversation about community strengths and areas in need of improvement.
Resource Link: www.nationalcivicleague.org/resources/civicindex/
An annual report that elevates the discussion of our nation’s civic health by measuring a wide variety of civic indicators, America’s Civic Health Index is in an effort to educate Americans about our civic life and to motivate citizens, leaders and policymakers to strengthen it. Among other things, the Civic Health Index measures such factors as engagement in public policy, charitable giving, volunteering, and online participation. Learn more at www.ncoc.org/CHI.
From the National Conference on Citizenship website:
Civic Health Index (CHI) is at the center of our work. We think of “civic health” as the way that communities are organized to define and address public problems. Communities with strong indicators of civic health have higher employment rates, stronger schools, better physical health, and more responsive governments. For the past 10 years NCoC, together with the Corporation for National and Community Service and state and community level collaborative networks across the nation, has documented the state of civic life in America in city, state and national Civic Health Index (CHI) reports.
Partisan polarization has reached an all-time high. Almost two-thirds of Americans find it stressful to talk about politics with someone who identifies with another political party. But to solve the most significant problems—and to have a healthy democracy—we must be able to discuss the issues, policies, and values that matter.
The purpose of this guide is to help prepare you to speak about what is most important to you in ways that can be heard, and to hear others’ concerns and passions with new empathy and understanding—even and especially if you continue to disagree.
Interested in learning more about EP's approach? Consider registering for an Essential Partners workshop or contact us for a free consultation.
The COVID-19 pandemic led many practitioners to shift to online engagement tools. Our friends at Dialogue + Design Associates team put together a resource of different digital facilitation and project management tools and resources, to help navigate some of the digital choices available for dialogue and deliberation practice.
While it may not be exhaustive, this is an incredibly thorough resource with a whole variety of tools that may be useful, now and long into the future. If there is something that's been missed, please add to it!
The Reunited States is a documentary profiling several Americans who are dedicating their lives to promoting depolarization and communication across the political divide. These visionaries come from both right and left. They believe that we have more in common with our political opposites than what separates us. They are focused on helping communities around the country find common ground through shared stories.
From the Creators:
At a time when America is ripping apart at the seams, The Reunited States is a powerful and urgent documentary that follows four everyday heroes on the difficult journey of bridging our political and racial divides.
This post lists several podcasts that our members have created and/or host. Do you have a podcast to add to this list? Please submit it to us via the Add-A-Resource Form!
Co-creating Peace: a podcast focused on Conscious Communication and Conflict Transformation
Do you have an important conversation that you know you need to have, but are dreading because you fear it will not go well?
Do you avoid confrontation because you equate confrontation with conflict?
Do you avoid conflict because you believe the only two approaches to conflict are fight or flight, and that nothing good ever comes from conflict?
Then, Co-creating Peace is the podcast for you! In each 30-minute weekly episode, we will explore powerful tools and practices you can use to evolve your approaches to the important, yet difficult conversations you need to have.
An Empathy Circle is a structured dialogue process that effectively supports meaningful and constructive dialogue. The basic process can be fairly easily learned in about 15 minutes and it is a lifelong practice to deepen. An Empathy Circle increases mutual understanding and connection by ensuring that each person feels fully heard to their satisfaction. The practice is the most effective gateway practice for learning, practicing and deepening listening and empathy skills, as well as, nurturing an empathic way of being.
Russ Charvonia’s The Civility Mosaic, written with Michael Ashley, is a 21st Century treatise on restoring civility as a matter of our survival. As past Grand Master of Masons in California, Charvonia provides readers with a first-of-its-kind, insider look at Freemasonry and how the practical application of its underlying ethos of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth can help us rise above the world’s bickering and violence to create a more compassionate, more humane, and more civil society.
The book is designed to help readers develop their own personal civility journey, using exercises built into the chapters.
From the Publisher:
Civil discourse is in a state of crisis. Public dialogues today are celebrated not for what they accomplish, but for whom they divide. Incivility has become the new normal just as humanity faces existential, political and environment challenges that will require unprecedented global cooperation. The Civility Mosaic by Russ Charvonia with Michael Ashley is not only an urgent call to restore civility but it is also an instruction manual on how we might save ourselves from our most destructive impulses.
Written with screenwriter, author, and fellow Freemason Michael Ashley, The Civility Mosaic teaches us to take self-responsibility for transforming our troubled world by applying the cornerstone principles found in one of the world’s oldest and most influential societies—Freemasonry.
Resource Link: https://civilitymosaic.com/
Submitted by: Lauren Barthold
This book describes how civic dialogue can serve as an antidote to a polarized public square. It argues that when pervasive polarization renders rational and fact-based argumentation ineffective, we first need to engage in a way that builds trust. Civic dialogue is a form of structured discourse that utilizes first-person narratives in order to promote trust, openness and mutual understanding. By creating a dialogic structure that encourages listening and reflection, particularities and differences about fraught identities can be expressed in such a way that leads to the possibility of connecting through our fundamental, shared and deeply felt humanity. Drawing on Plato, Buber, Gadamer, Dewey, cognitive bias research, as well as the work of dialogue practitioners, Lauren Swayne Barthold provides a sustained defense of civic dialogue as an effective strategy for avoiding futile political arguments and for creating pluralistic democratic communities.
Submitted by: Mark Smutny
Imagine meetings where everyone is heard and all people matter. Picture organizations that embrace all voices and are committed to justice, equity and opportunity. Imagine businesses, nonprofits and the public sector creatively engaging people in thousands of ways—seeking their best ideas, empowering the silenced, and building communities where all are treated with dignity and respect. That’s what Thrive seeks to create. Each chapter contains practical insights and accessible stories that transform meetings from dull to dynamic.
You will learn how to:
• capitalize on diversity’s strengths.
• keep meetings task-oriented and collegial.
• facilitate effectively in polarized or conflicted settings.
Thrive includes chapters on privilege and power, multilingual and virtual meetings, and full inclusion of people with disabilities.
Whether you are a skilled practitioner or new to leadership, Thrive will teach you techniques for facilitating more effective, inclusive and energizing meetings.
About the Author - Dr. Mark Smutny is a professional facilitator, DEI consultant, speaker, author and founder of Civic Reinventions, Inc. He is known for helping organizations uncover the wisdom hidden in their diversity, build cohesion, and achieve their goals. He draws upon decades of work planning and leading retreats, facilitating meetings, and working with nonprofits and businesses.
A Conversation Café is a 90-minute hosted conversation which is held in a public setting like a coffee shop, bookstore or library, where anyone is welcome to join. Its simple format helps people feel at ease and gives everyone who wants to a chance to speak.
The CC method was created by Vicki Robin, Susan Partnow and Habib Rose. During the summer of 2001, Habib, a natural networker, invited Vicki Robin and Susan Partnow to experiment with organizing neighborhood gatherings of “Cultural Creatives” in Seattle. The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World is a nonfiction social sciences and sociology book by sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson.
The three Seattleites were set to launch Conversation Cafés in September 2001, but changed gears after the 9-11 terror attacks took place. They immediately began hosting CCs to help people process their emotions and thoughts on what had and was happening in the country.
Posted by NCDD Community | March 27th, 2019
The following meeting facilitation tips were submitted by John Godec of The Participation Company. As public sector consultants, The Participation Company helps government agencies manage public issues to accomplish agency objectives. Their private sector business clients are able to maintain or improve their relationships with the public and gain support for their projects.
Facilitating meetings can be both an art and a science when the issues being discussed are comparably complex. Getting the right people involved in the discussion from the start can go a long way in your being able to facilitate successfully. Inviting those “right” people is key to reaching consensus. But how to craft an effective invitation is not always a skill everyone has. Here are some meeting facilitation tips to help when creating meeting invitations:
Posted by D&D Resources | December 24th, 2009
Dialogue and deliberation are dynamic processes which can be empathy-enhancing, relationship-changing, problem-solving, action-planning, organization-developing, community-building, conflict-resolving, skill developing, prejudice reducing, consciousness-raising, and more! The various models and methods that are used in our field often emphasize, strive for and obtain different outcomes. This resource shares some great quotes from over a dozen leaders in the D&D community about what “dialogue” means to them.
Also see our list of leaders’ definitions of deliberation.
How do people in the field describe dialogue?‘Dialogue is shared exploration towards greater understanding, connection, or possibility.’