Civity: Bridging Divides to Strengthen Communities
Our Guiding Principles
We build Civity into institutions and communities by naming, eliciting, and supporting relationships of mutual respect, empathy, and trust across social dividing lines.
Principle #1: Relationships are Foundational
We encourage, create space for, and teach relationship-building. Moving along a continuum of respect, empathy, and trust,
relationships – especially those “bridging” relationships that connect through difference – are foundational to making change.
Principle #2: Individuals Can Make a Difference
We work with individuals to forge and improve relationships. By being strategic and intentional about their civic networks,
individuals can strengthen their own community.
Principle #3: Networks Enable Ripple Effects
Our goal is stronger civic networks with aware, intentional individuals engaging in more – and more productive – bridging
relationships. By utilizing the fact that people are already self-organized into networks, our relationship-building approach can
leverage greater impact.
“Civity Communities”: The Work
Starting in January of 2016, we will support leaders in communities across the country to build Civity. Working with community-based partners in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors to develop a Civity-building approach specifically tailored to each community, we will:
Strengthen Place-Based Networks:
Support community leaders’ ability to organize in place for systemic change by diversifying existing local networks.
Validate and reinforce the ways in which community leaders already engage in Civity and support their increased
Elevate the inherent value of being connected to individuals with diverse perspectives and the power of connecting
through difference without needing to resolve it.
Disseminate User-Friendly Tools:
Train, support, and reinforce leaders’ work with focused, simple, and portable approaches and models.
Though Civity can be built at many levels, we will focus on communities that are both small enough to leverage existing networks and big enough to offer a range of opportunities for crossing divides.
Our Commitment to Learning
Although the basis of our theory of change – strengthening civic networks to improve community resilience – is grounded in already-existing research, there is much to learn about how to operationalize that work in communities. We are committed to bringing rigor and data-driven analysis to our process so that we can both improve our own Civity-building work and contribute to the field at large.
Read the full concept paper here.