Bridge Action Grants
first-round Grant projects
Recognizing that organizations cannot effectively bridge the broad political divide alone, the Bridge Alliance awarded more than $525,000 in Bridge Action grants in 2017 to two dozen Bridge Alliance member organizations to enable our member organizations to better collaborate on ways to fix political processes on the local, state and national levels.
These joint projects will help members implement and test innovative approaches in our Alliance’s three core areas: expanding civic engagement and participation; improving governance; reforming campaign and election processes. The programs are designed to generate tools, ideas and best practices for all Bridge Alliance members to use and to multiply the impact of each group’s work.
Improve the workings of state legislatures nationwide by bringing together legislators from across the country to study how to talk with others with opposing views and how to reach policy decisions without or with minimum acrimony.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: National Institute for Civil Discourse; State Legislative Leaders Foundation; National Foundation of Women Legislators. Grant amount: $50,000 in two phases.
Make local government meetings and decision making more effective by distributing a toolkit to make public meetings more productive and guide how people inside and outside of local government perceive and communicate with each other.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: Public Agenda; Cities of Service; Institute of Local Government. Grant amount: $45,000
CIVIC PARTICIPATION & ENGAGEMENT
Help people and groups find opposing forces who are willing to talk and stimulate dialogue between those of differing viewpoints by creating an online “matchmaking site” to help divergent Bridge Association members and others find each other for open conversations on difficult issues.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: AllSides, Living Room Conversations, Digital Citizen. Grant amount: $65,000
Find out if voters can make better-informed decisions on initiatives and referenda, by expanding and testing new Citizen Initiative Review Panels’ voter information guides in a California demonstration project.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: Public Agenda, Davenport Institute, Healthy Democracy. Grant amount: $60,000
Enable open conversation between leaders and groups with diverging views, with a test project in Utah to train civil discourse facilitators who will lead and teach others how to find common ground for discussion.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: Essential Partners, Living Room Conversations, Village Square. Grant amount: $45,000
Improve government decision making and civic participation by better informing people of government procedures, successes and roadblocks, by creating, testing and distributing a new series of radio, TV and webcasts.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: AllSides, Living Room Conversations, Bring it to the Table, Coffee Party. Grant amount: $38,000
Harness the power of social media to showcase positive acts of governing instead of just the negative, through research, tests and the participation of social media experts and companies.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: Civil Politics, Living Room Conversations, Village Square. Grant amount: $25,000
Create a new model for Americans of different backgrounds and beliefs to come together in face-to-face conversations, with social media tools and guidelines to allow all Bridge Member groups, other organizations, and individuals to organize powerful “circles” and moderated dinners for cross-party dialogue and civil debate.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: 92Y, Village Square. Grant amount: $90,000 in two phases
CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS
Educate voters where new election processes are in place or under consideration, such as open primaries and ranked choice voting.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: Fair Vote, Open Primaries, Reconsider Media, Independent Voter Project. Grant amount: $35,000
Encourage and enable more people to run for public office, with social and other media outreach to potential candidates and the public at large, to foster a more representative, responsive, and functional government.
Collaborating Bridge Alliance members: Centrist Project, Independent Voter Project, Represent.Us. Grant amount: $60,000