Pages tagged "Featured Blog"


Bridge Action Update

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Bridge Alliance recently received quarterly updates from our Bridge Action(formerly Collective Impact) Grantees. We are excited to share with you excerpts from three of ten updates. 

Leading with Civility - Improving relationships within state legislatures for better policy decisions. "There is so much interest, we're looking forward to preparing future projects, and maintaining our connection and partnership with each other." 

Utah Community Partners - Preserve and cultivate deeper levels of "civic ecosystem" in Utah by training facilitators to help spark and organize diverse forms of productive sociopolitical dialogue across the state. "We are so grateful for the support of the Bridge Alliance Collective Impact Fund, without which this project would likely not be possible; and in addition to the work we're doing on the ground, we're happy to be learning from this pilot initiative as we are planning other similar projects in states across the US. Thank you for this opportunity to make a difference!"
 
Bridging Divides - Better informing people of government procedures, successes and roadblocks, by creating, testing and distributing a new series of radio, TV and webcasts. "A major success of the project has been securing Stephanie Sy, a 17-year veteran of ABC news, Al Jazeera and Yahoo News, as the anchor. She is incredibly knowledgeable, with a breadth of experience on the local, national and international media stage. Apart from her broadcasting duties, she has agreed to help edit and mold the scripts as necessary, ensuring a high-quality product."  

We are proud of the work that is being done through our grant program and look forward to seeing and sharing next quarters updates. 

Bridge Alliance would also like to announce our two newest members - Common Good and The Center for Technology and Civic Life!

CommonGoodLogoNoTag_Tall.jpgCommon Good is a nonpartisan reform coalition that offers Americans a new way to look at law and government. We propose practical, bold ideas to restore common sense to all three branches of government based on the principles of individual freedom, responsibility and accountability. Learn More

 

CTC-logo-RGB_horizontal-GoTo-Header.jpegWe bring together expertise in research, training, data analysis, software development, and election administration to tackle some of today’s most pressing civic problems. With our powers combined, and yours, we are modernizing engagement with local government for millions. Learn More


Bridge Alliance

Bridge Alliance Members In The News:
Project on Government Oversight - The Hill
The Centrist Project - Mass Live
iCivics - The Recorder

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Aspen Ideas Festival

This June I attended the 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival where some of the great social, business and political leaders of America shared ideas on many subjects, including what’s broken in our system of governance and what specific actions can be taken to improve the political process so as to better serve a majority of American citizens.

As always the Aspen experience was thought-provoking and inspiring.  A prevailing theme expressed by many of speakers was that our elected officials are simply not representing the interests of our country and do not have the will or the mechanisms to solve the serious problems facing us; this despite the fact that the American public is yearning for leadership that puts country before party. 

While there was a degree of pessimism in Aspen about our country’s current political situation and concern expressed about the ability of elected representatives to deal with these problems in the short term, there was an overriding optimism about the spirit of the American people that in the past has made the United States a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.  Our entrepreneurial spirit, our ability to reflect upon our mistakes, in an honest fashion and to correct these mistakes, were all sentiments expressed and a source for hope.  Numerous speakers cited the great potential our nation has  in terms of the power of an indomitable spirit that leads to change and innovation.  And while there were many discussions as to what our government can and should be doing, I was struck by the fact that many inspiring leaders are not waiting for government to solve our problems; instead, they are taking their own actions to move our country forward.


Living Room Conversations & Listen First Project

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Part of the mission of Bridge Alliance is to encourage collaboration between aligned organizations. Our update this week highlights one such collaboration.

There are rarely more caricatured groups than Southern Conservatives and San Francisco Liberals. Using a video conference platform, two Bridge Alliance members broke through barriers within these groups to have a series of unprecedented conversations.  Living Room Conversations and the Listen First Project broadcast the first conversation over social media (with some assistance from other Alliance members) to reach over 60K people.  They are part of The Listening Coalition, along with other Bridge Alliance members, to bring conversations to even more people across the nation. 

Pearce Godwin, Founder of Listen First Project and The Listening Coalition, wrote a blog documenting his experience in these first conversations.

"Using video conferencing, we brought three Southern Conservatives and three San Francisco Liberals together for each of several Listen First / Living Room Conversations. Facilitated by Sabrina Moyle, Jamie Gardner and me, each of these conversations exceeded our wildest expectations and proved that we can break through any barrier and find common ground when we come together not as us versus them but as me and you..."

You can read the blog in full here containing an inspiring story with uplifting quotes from participants. You can also watch one of the Facebook Live conversations here.

Bridge Alliance

Bridge Alliance Members In The News:
Centrist Project - Roll Call
Public Agenda - Beckers
Nation Institute for Civil Discourse - WKSU

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Civic growth: Learning about politics from a young age

By Jacel Egan, Marketing Communications Manager, icitizen

Saying the pledge of allegiance, raising the flag at school each morning … there are plenty of ways civics can be introduced and embedded into our daily routine at a young age.

First learning about politics

After the Fourth of July holiday, our team released the results of our poll on American values, which asked when people first learned about voting and elections. According to the results, over half (51%) of Americans first learned about voting and elections from someone in their household, like a parent or guardian.

For millennials, a pivotal moment in learning about politics was the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. You remember the infamous hanging chads, right? It was all my parents discussed for a month, and hanging chads were popular Halloween costumes for years.

Additionally, slightly more than a third (36%) first recall learning from a K-12 teacher – perhaps diving into government and civics in social studies or U.S. history class. Just 2% said “a friend,” and 1% said “college faculty.”


The Political Circus

By David Nevins, Bridge Alliance

In 2012 before the previous presidential election I wrote an article entitled The Political Circus

At that time I said:

“The suffocating partisanship that most Americans abhor will surely be on display for all to witness in the coming election season. The accusations and innuendos, the misinformation and vilifying of one party by the other will be the typical tactics and game plan employed by those on the left and those on the right.”

Unfortunately things have gotten much worse in five years.  The vicious ‘winning-is-all’ climate, the ‘meant-to-mislead’ rhetoric, the extreme and polarizing factions along with the sheer lack of decency are tethering our nation to a new low.

As we watch the behaviors of so many of our leaders today posturing against each other with twisted facts and vitriolic disdain, solely to WIN the sacred trust of the electorate, we ought to be asking ourselves, “Is this particular behavior having the effect of raising or lowering the level of discourse and understanding between and among us as citizens?”


Lessons From George Washington: It’s Time We Listened!

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By Brian Clancy, Big Tent Nation

We all want America to flourish and prosper, but disagreements on “how” keep tripping us up. How is much more than picking between policy prescriptions – at its core it involves how we treat each other, and particularly those we disagree with.

The person most essential to realizing America in the first place thought about this issue a lot. It’s time to revisit his legacy.

George Washington was incredibly wealthy, physically imposing and a war hero of epic proportions. He probably could have gotten away with being a total jerk and still been revered! The fact is, many Americans wanted to give him almost limitless power. Some even wanted to make him a king.

His response? To a degree unprecedented in history (with all due respect to Cincinnatus), he put nation ahead of personal power and glory.  Was it because he wasn’t ambitious? Was it because he never felt like knocking Jefferson’s and Hamilton’s heads together and telling them to just behave? Absolutely not. He had the same desires and frustrations we all struggle with. 


United We Stand, Divided We Fall

By Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, National Institute for Civil Discourse 

Yesterday, the country was stunned by the violent attack on members of the US House of Representatives who were practicing for this week’s charity baseball game, a tradition dating back to the early 1900’s. It brought Washington up short, and there was more discussion of unity and family then we have heard in a long time.

Speaker Paul Ryan took to the House floor to remind us that we are “one family”, and President Trump noted that “everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country.” Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) put it best when he noted that “We have an R or a D by our name, but our title is United States representative.”


The Media’s Role in Shaping Democracy: Is It Helping or Hurting?

By Jacel Egan, icitizen

The media has long been portrayed as two sides of the same coin – on one side a watchdog to check government powers, and on the other a vehicle for propaganda.

In an era where fake news has proliferated online and the lines are blurred between social media rumor and breaking news, clarifying the news media’s role in shaping democracy can be tricky. To get perspective on the topic, icitizen conducted a poll of 2,505 U.S. adults on their feedback.

Do they think the media is helping or hurting democracy? 

After all – civility in American politics has been an increasingly large concern. As pundits and politicians often set the tone for civic discourse, it can be hard to tell whether they provide a service or disservice in the eyes of the public.


Ads Pitch Unity

“Open your mind. Open your world.” That was the ending line of the now famous Heineken commercial. In it, people from opposite ends of a variety of issues, had come together, built a bar and, at the end of it, had to decide if they wanted to sit down, have a beer and talk to each other. The twist? They didn’t know the person they were working with was “their enemy.” Yes, enemy is a strong word. However, nowadays, more so in the past couple of years, differences of opinions has converted friends, family, co-workers into ‘others.' That’s why Heineken's commercial hit a nerve.


New Ways of Working -- Summit Follow Up

By Katie Page, Bridge Alliance

Last month, Bridge Alliance held a Bridge Summit adjunct to Earth Day Texas in Dallas. The Summit was to be a physical unifying of our member organizations and a weekend to find new ways of working together aligned with our mission of revitalizing democratic practice and discourse in this nation.

The Summit was held in an exquisitely remodeled hospital with such an expansive Early American art collection I think even the Smithsonian might blush. In my final walk through of the venue and it’s grounds with eyes wide I felt a new sense of connection to our complex roots. Surrounded by these settings I understood that what Bridge Alliance and its member organizations are working towards is something that will have a weight on American history. This was felt by our attendees of the Summit and elevated our conversations.

The weekend was spent networking with organizations that we may have never met otherwise in person. The deep appreciation and curiosity in one another’s work was a spark in relationships that could take any form. Each of Bridge Alliance’s areas of focus were represented in organization attendance and workshops: civic engagement, governance and policy making, and campaign and finance reform.


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