Civity Theory of Change

CIVITY: Community leaders working together across divides to address social and economic problems.

The Issue

Isolation and fear of “the other” prevent individuals within communities from working together to address
critical issues.

Our Change Focus

  • Communities with needs
    the resources to
    address them.

  • Influential community leaders working to address issues grounded in inequities.

Our Strategies

Strengthen Place-Based Networks: Support community leaders’ ability to organize in place for systemic change by diversifying existing local networks.


Be “Intrapreneurial: ” Validate and reinforce the ways in which community leaders already engage in Civity and support their increased effectiveness.


Harness Diversity: 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 and support leaders with focused, simple, and portable approaches and models.

The Outcome

Leaders in communities
across the country
strengthen civic networks
by forging divide-bridging
relationships of respect,
empathy, and trust.

Grounding Evidence

With healthy bridging relationships and strong diverse networks, communities are resilient and able to effectively address the
problems they face.

  • Individuals, when working strategically and leveraging networks, can make a difference.

  • Positive civic outcomes are more sustainable when they involve people from diverse experiences and perspectives.

  • Because communities are systems, small strategic shifts – “critical yeast” – can lead to widespread change.

  • Increased connection, especially bridging connection, yields significant system-level benefits.


(Sources: Robert Putnam, Ashutosh Varshney, John Paul Lederach, Sean Safford, Palma Joy Strand)

© 2017 Civity

  • MailIcon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon