We’re looking for ideas that help create a dynamic, social civic connectedness – where residents from all backgrounds exchange ideas and engage with neighbors.
Submit your mini-grant idea here. The submission deadline is Friday, May 18th.
These grants are supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, through the Community Foundation of North Florida, and in ongoing partnership with Leon County Government through our project Club of Honest Citizens.
In the wake of tragic events fueling racial division across America, it is now a national imperative to build local capacity to address tensions. Unless this civic “muscle” is intentionally formed and exercised in advance, catalyzing events will further polarize disconnected groups as they turn to broadcast and social media that inevitably drive citizens apart rather than toward diverse neighbors with a shared stake in the community.
As America grows closer to being a majority minority country, communities that thrive will be the ones that build institutions incorporating this diversity dynamically into the fabric of civic life. In times of turmoil, citizens in these communities will turn toward their neighbors rather than their television sets. To successfully move from catalyzing events to generating solutions, a community must have the core capacity to stay constructively engaged in the midst of crisis. We think this community is one that is fully ready to embrace diversity as a creative force.
As America grows closer to being a majority minority country, communities that thrive will be the ones that build institutions incorporating this diversity dynamically into the fabric of civic life.
Rather than appealing to sense of duty to slog through wicked problems (a well-worn approach that doesn’t work anymore — people simply don’t show up, especially young people), we want to inspire — moving citizenship out of stodgy meeting rooms and into a participatory space that is a positive, magnetic, idea-generating, lifestyle-based, edgy (even artistic and joyful) Hamilton-inspired Technicolor town hall. This strategy is very different than the approach employed by the vast majority of efforts to tackle entrenched problems where significant differences of opinion are in play. Rather than trying to navigate intractable disagreement as a precondition for progress, this project jumps straight to what we aspire to in a shared, healthy, diverse community civic space and then it creates that space.
We’re looking for ideas that help create a dynamic, vibrant civic center, where residents from all backgrounds exchange ideas and engage with neighbors in creating a stronger civic capacity that transforms our hometown. From this foundational civic base – one that we think is mandatory for democracy in all its diversity to thrive – all aspects of community life can flourish. Your idea can stand alone or you can connect it up as an aspect of a project or forum that exists (either through the Village Square or through another organization).
We’re looking for ideas that create the connections between citizens that we’re lacking at a time when all of us are spending more time with people who look and think like we do.
While race initiatives may succeed in drawing racially diverse engagement, they too often fail to produce optimal results because they couldn’t engage politically diverse citizens (audiences run heavily liberal), thus tend to not move the needle adequately. Too often the quiet depths of goodwill that the vast majority of people have – people of every ideology and demographic – for “the other” are left untapped and thus are easily polarized toward the two angry poles in times of crisis. We believe that here in our hometown we can elevate this good will and makes it the through line story for our community’s future.
Submit your mini-grant idea here. (The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 18th 2018.)