Getting Past Partisanship and Polarization: Community Civic Infrastructure


Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 4:00pm to 5:15pm


Online event, registration required
Driven by hyperpolarization and partisan media, Americans are demonizing and othering their neighbors and peers with different views—breaking down community bonds along the way. To rebuild the civic fabric of our society and strengthen democracy, how can we bring people together and build community trust?

Community civic infrastructures: places where people feel safe to explore their differences, aided by facilitative leaders, with access to trusted local media and supported by the necessary resource, are essential to enabling citizens to discover common ground and solve problems together. In this panel discussion, community organizers, leaders, and democracy advocates will explore examples from communities all over the country where this is working today. Then, we'll discuss the challenge of replicating and expanding community civic infrastructure initiatives across the country.

  • Deborah Ellwood, President + CEO of CFLeads (Community Foundations Leading Change)
  • Elizabeth Green, Co-Founder and CEO of Chalkbeat
  • Shamichael Hallman, Senior Library Manager, Cossitt Library in Memphis, TN; Founder, Libraries as Bridges
  • John Sarrouf, Co-Executive Director and Director of Program Development at Essential Partners
  • Martha McCoy, Executive Director, Everyday Democracy
  • Moderator: Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Founding Executive Director, National Institute for Civil Discourse

Virtual Event Recording