Deliberative Governance Selected Web Resources

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Local Governance, Community Dialogue, and Civic Capacity-building

  • The Kettering Foundation (Dayton, Ohio) – The Kettering Foundation is a research foundation focusing on the question of what is required for democracy to work as it should. Their site features a rich array of resources describing the research they’ve conducted and supported around this central question.
  • The National Issues Forums (Dayton, Ohio) – “National Issues Forums (NIF) is a network of civic, educational, and other organizations, and individuals, whose common interest is to promote public deliberation in America.” The NIF site contains an abundance of learning, practice, and networking resources focusing on their primary change strategy – the public forum. They also offer training to individuals interested in organizing community forums.
  • Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (Wausau, Wisconsin) – WIPPS is a nonprofit, non-partisan institute within the University of Wisconsin Colleges and Extension. Its purpose is to address “local, state, and national issues by linking public scholarship, civic outreach, and student service to enhance community life throughout Wisconsin and beyond.” Its website features learning resources, program, project and event information pertaining to student learning and service, public scholarship, civic engagement, and public deliberation.
  • The Interactivity Foundation (Parkersburg, West Virginia) – “The Interactivity Foundation works to enhance the process and expand the scope and health of our public discussions by bringing people together in small group discussions of broad topics of public policy concern”. The site contains a variety of resources including Project, Public, and Classroom Discussion cases. Downloadable resources include their series of Guidebooks, Teaching Aids, White papers and Other Publication.
  • The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania) – NCDD offers a deep and broad set of resources focusing on dialogue and deliberation at the community level. They have produced and make available some excellent, downloadable resources such as manuals, guides, learning tools, best practices, and case studies. NCDD also sponsors and otherwise provides opportunities and events for networking and learning.
  • Community Forums Network (Issaquah, Washington) – “The mission of Community Forums Network is to bring people together to talk about important issues and to discover consensus.” Values driving the Network include Community Civic education, Independence (non-partisan), Transparency and Accuracy. The CNF focuses on communication as a core strategy for informing and enabling citizens and elected officials as they work to solve community challenges. The Network’s website features project reports, forums, a blog, events, and links to relevant, topic-based resources.
  • Public Conversations Project (Watertown, Massachusetts) – The mission of the Public Conversations Project is to “…prevent and transform conflicts driven by deep differences in identity, beliefs, or values.” The Project’s website features a deep and broad array of success stories, workshops, a newsletter, and resources related to its mission.
  • Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (Manhattan, Kansas) – The mission of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University is to “…build community capacity for informed, engaged, civil deliberation.” Their website provides resources to scholars and practitioners of deliberative democracy, including toolkits, discussion guides, online primary texts from their courses, and a database (Refworks) of over 24,000 references pertaining to democracy research. Also featured are projects and case studies associated with their work and mission, and a newsletter.
  • Public Agenda (New York, New York) – Public Agenda is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps diverse leaders and citizens navigate complex, divisive issues and work together to find solutions. They pursue their mission through nonpartisan research and public engagement activities. Their website contains a blog, a newsletter, outlines their services, describes examples of their work, and provides links to a ‘library’ of books, reports, and multi-media resources relevant to their mission.
  • Healthy Democracy (Eugene, Oregon) – Healthy Democracy is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating the public’s voice in our democracy.” The website describes a unique process called the Citizen’s Initiative Review for “…publicly evaluating ballot measures so that voters have clear, useful, and trustworthy information at election time.” It also contains a blog and a newsletter.
  • America Speaks (Washington, D.C.) – The mission of AmericaSpeaks is “…to reinvigorate American Democracy by engaging citizens in the public decision-making that most impacts their lives.” The organization is committed neutral non-partisanship in pursuit of its mission. The website features services, tools, networking opportunities and events, a blog, a newsletter, and links to many resources connected to the group’s mission.
  • Institute for Civility in Government (Houston, Texas) – The ICG was formed in 1997 by Cassandra Dahnke and Tomas Spath. Their work focuses on promoting civility in public life, and co-authored ”Reclaiming Civility in the Public Square” 10 Rules that Work,” in 2007.
  • P.M. Forni’s Civility Website (Baltimore, Maryland) – Dr. P. M. Forni of Johns Hopkins University has been writing and teaching on the topic of Civility since the early 1990s.
  • Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (Boston, Massachusetts) – The Office of Public Collaboration is Massachusetts’ “…state office for public collaboration serving government agencies and citizens of Massachusetts as a neutral forum for conflict resolution and consensus-building.” Their website features resources relating to their core services including conflict assessment, mediation, consensus-building, deliberative dialogue, capacity-building and training, systems design, and program/project monitoring and evaluation.
  • Davenport Institute for Civic Engagement and Leadership (Malibu, California) – A part of Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, the Davenport Institute’s purpose is to “…help solve California’s public problems by promoting citizens’ participation in governance.” The Institute’s website features information on relevant research, training, conferences, and blogs related to its purpose.
  • e-Democracy (Minneapolis, Minnesota) – e-Democracy’s mission is to “harness the power of online tools to support participation in public life, strengthen communities, and build democracy.” Their website features forums in several US states, as well as the UK and New Zealand, where interested persons can hold on-line conversations around issues relevant to their locale. A blog and links to local networks and projects are also provided.
  • Institute for Local Government (Sacramento, California) – Operating in close partnership with statewide associations representing California cities, counties, and special districts, the Sacramento-based Institute for Local Government “promotes good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities.” The “Publications” tab on the ILG home page links to their “Public Engagement” page which contains a number of quality resources.
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