The Weekly Update

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The Democracy Awards go to…

As we approach the midterm elections, it is easy to get caught up in the raw partisanship that has engulfed D.C. We start seeing individual contests as a race between a vote for your party’s agenda and a vote against your party’s agenda. Members of Congress, however, have a myriad of important duties beyond just casting a vote -- they are OUR  representatives. The Democracy Awards, presented by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) and the Bridge Alliance as a founding partner, celebrate Members who excel at these less visible -- but absolutely vital -- duties of office. While these individuals may be best known for their vote on Legislation X or Nominee Y, we believe they deserve praise for the work described below:

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We Want To Celebrate the Uniters Among Us...But We Need Names!

It is safe to say that the political climate in America is toxic. If you’re a politician, it’s dangerous to speak positively about a colleague from the other side of the aisle, let alone work with them. If you’re a member of the media, large segments of the population don’t trust you. And if you’re a citizen, you’re wondering if there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Fortunately, there are many people and organizations dedicated to getting the country back on track. These are the unsung heroes of this generation, and we want to make they get credit! If you know somebody who is doing incredible work in bringing people together, nominate them for a Civvy! We want to recognize them and give them a platform.

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iCivics Wants to Show You That Talking Politics with Your Kid Can Be Fun!

Member organization iCivics is running a campaign called “Democracy At Play,” which is designed to encourage conversations about civics and politics between parents and their kids in a fun, informative, and engaging way. Materials, activities, and games are available in both English and Spanish. You can take the Democracy At Play civic challenge by clicking here here, and you can read more about it on Romper.com. iCivics hopes you will share your family's experience or join the discussion on social media using #DemocracyAtPlay.

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Bridge Alliance Members Are Revitalizing Our Country -- It’s Happening Now!

The Bridge Alliance is an invitation-only coalition, and one of the most important questions considered when evaluating requests for membership is “has this organization achieved real-world results?” Our country faces serious problems and to address them we need leaders who know how to turn theory into action. That is why the Bridge Alliance prides itself on connecting and showcasing organizations who have shown the ability to create change.

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Civvys Nominations Are Open! Also a civic challenge and another job opportunity

As you may know, we co-hosted the first ever American Civic Collaboration Awards last year, and it was a big success. We loved reading our inspiring nominees’ stories and the work our members are doing to help heal divides and improve communities in America. We are gearing up for the second year of the Civvys, and wanted to let you know that we are now accepting nominations! Nominations will be open through Wednesday, July 11th. Start thinking about who you might want to nominate, and -- when you're ready -- head to Civvys.org to submit their names and information. Please help us get the word out to your friends, colleagues, and networks who may be interested in submitting a nomination. Winners and finalists will be celebrated at the National Conference on Citizenship in Washington, D.C. in October.

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The Bridge Alliance Management Team Continues to Grow!

We are incredibly excited to welcome Brian Clancy and Caroline Klibanoff of Big Tent Nation to the Bridge Alliance Team. Brian led the team that launched Fidelity.com; was responsible for systems planning and analysis at the world’s largest investment management organization; and co-founded the Center for Financial Inclusion. The Center has become a global thought leader in microfinance. He is joined by Caroline, who is a digital media expert with a background in multimedia content, social media communities, and public programming. Caroline has worked for cultural institutions including the Pew Research Center, the FrameWorks Institute, Big Tent Nation, and the Cambridge Historical Society.

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An intro, an opportunity and an event...

Intro: Last week, the Bridge Alliance welcomed its first intern to the team. Hana Ryan -- a rising sophomore at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. She is double majoring in Economics and International Studies and is a member of the JHU mock trial team. She has hit the ground running and is excited to serve all of our member organizations.

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iCivics and Everyday Democracy Want to Hear From You (And we’ve expanded the Alliance again!)

Member organization, iCivics, is leading a coalition of civic educators committed to expanding and improving civic education in the USA. As part of that effort, they are asking concerned citizens to take this survey/exercise to help the coalition identify key leverage points and strategies for improving civic education in the U.S. The exercise will allow a broad range of people to suggest underlying causes of unsatisfactory civic education.

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Special Update: Coalition of Bridge Alliance Members is Working to Improve Congress

Only 15% of Americans approve of Congress' performance. Americans don't feel like their elected representatives are listening to them and that there is a distinct lack of accountability in Washington, D.C. A coalition of six organizations within the Bridge Alliance is trying to change that by opening up lines of communication between Congress and the general public, as well as increasing transparency in government. Those organizations are the Congressional Management Foundation, the OpenGov Foundation, the Center for Civic Design, the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, and the Project on Government Oversight. 

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National Institute on Money in State Politics Announces Merger and Expansion

Bridge Alliance members believe that we are stronger when we work together to meet the challenges we face. The National Institute on Money in Politics (NIMP) (formerly the National Institute on Money in State Politics (NIMSP)) and the Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) are taking it one step further by officially combining forces. NIMP uses its multi-state, multi-year databases to reveal trends in political giving, examine how contributions may drive public policy debates, and see which special interests are giving to which politicians.

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