The Newsletter

Unrig the System event in KC, co-hosted by BA members

Posted by Bridge Alliance on March 05, 2017

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Josh Silver,(RepresentUS),  Nick Triano, (Centrist Party) Chad Peace, (IVP) and Rob Ritchie (FairVote) all leaders of Bridge Alliances organizations are pleased to announce the following event:

Unrig The System - A Gathering of Nonpartisans, April 7 & 8, in Kansas City co-hosted by Greg Orman, Cara McCormick (Level the Playing Field), Chad Peace (Independent Voter Project), Jim Jonas (IVP Colorado), Josh Silver (Represent.us), Nick Troiano (Centrist Project), Rob Richie (FairVote), and David Nevins (Bridge Alliance).

Fixing our broken political system is more important than ever. This meeting is focused on reform efforts that are strictly nonpartisan, embrace participation from all parts of the political spectrum, and advocate policies designed to advance the public interest, with no bias towards specific political parties, specific institutions or interests. 

Through this lens, we are bringing together reformers, organizations, consultants, funders and others interested in sharing best practices, meeting up, and working more closely to advance reforms that fight corruption, empower voters, increase electoral competition and civility.

The gathering is a “working conference” where we hope to catalyze more communications and collaboration amongst disparate efforts to reform elections, voting, campaign finance, ethics and transparency. It is designed to build relationships, learn about others’ efforts, self-organize based on issue focus, geolocation and strategic approach, and develop tangible action plans. We plan the formation of a nonpartisan association to help facilitate effective follow up. 

The event is free, and will commence with a social gathering at 7:30 pm on Friday, April 7. Saturday, April 8 will be day-long conference from 9 AM to 5 PM. Attendees are welcome to schedule pre and post conference meetings.

We hope you can join us!  
Please sign up here.   You are welcome to forward this invitation to any/all nonpartisan advocates and funders interested in this work. Full agenda TBA March 7. 

-Greg Orman, Cara McCormick (Level the Playing Field), Chad Peace (Independent Voter Project), Jim Jonas (IVP Colorado), Josh Silver (Represent.us), Nick Troiano (Centrist Project), Rob Richie (FairVote), and David Nevins (Bridge Alliance).


New members & announcements

Posted by Bridge Alliance on February 27, 2017

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This week, we are making a few announcements for our current members and announcing three new member organizations to join Bridge Alliance: OpenGov Foundation, icitizen, and Citizen University.

Essential Partners recently won a $215,000 grant for a two-year project with the University of Connecticut around developing a teaching model for intellectual humility. This is the largest award granted to the organization in their 27 year history. Learn more here

The National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation is hosting a webinar with Journalism That Matters. This webinar will be about strengthening partnerships and collaboration between journalists and dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement practitioners on Wednesday, March 15th from 1-2:30 pm Eastern / 10-11:30am Pacific. Learn more here

OpenGov-Logo.pngThe OpenGov Foundation bridges the gap between citizens and government. We build the tools that power lawmaking for modern democracy. They boost collaboration and openness in governments and communities. Their software, coalition-building and events are designed to change the culture of government.

ic_fb_share.pngicitizen removes the headache of engaging in the political process whether you're a citizen, organization, elected official or school. icitizen is a nonpartisan civic engagement app that facilitates open communication and collaboration between citizens and their elected leaders to shape the policies that affect their lives.

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Citizen University works with a national array of partners to help Americans cultivate the values, systems knowledge, and skills of effective citizenship.

 

Bridge Alliance


Announcements

Posted by Bridge Alliance on February 19, 2017

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Our 65+ members have been up to some amazing things recently. This week, we are using our email as a platform to showcase upcoming events and recent announcements from a few of our members. We hope you will look into them further!

Congressional Management Foundation recently released a comprehensive report on on citizen engagement with Congress. This data has been pulled from 1,241 responses from citizen advocates and congressional staff. They hope this research helps Congress, citizens, and advocacy organizations build better relationships, engage in a more productive dialog, and help create a “more perfect union.” You may access a copy of the report here.

US Association of Former Members of Congress is hosting an event on March 2nd featuring a panel discussion of cross-generational bipartisan women political leaders. They will be discussing the obstacles they and the women who follow them still need to overcome as women political leaders. This event is open to the public and taking place at the National Archives in DC. Learn more here.

IndependentVoting.Org is sponsoring the 9th biennial National Conference of Independents. The conference will be at Proshansky Auditorium in NY, NY on March 18th. The conference is free but you must register in advance to attend. Learn more and register here.

Bridge Alliance


The Political Is Now Personal

Posted by Bridge Alliance on February 12, 2017

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Our friend and partner at one of our member organizations Living Room Conversations, Ralph Benko, recently posted a blog about how we are letting politics tarnish our personal relationships. The United States of America was founded on using the diversity of view points to continually strive to create and innovate. How can we disagree passionately without losing compassion? 

"Is a clash in which the political becomes personal inevitable? Is injury to personal relationships regrettable, but necessary, collateral damage?
..

There is a quiet “counter-counter-revolution” afoot. It is exemplified by LivingRoomConversations.orgAllSides.com and HiFromTheOtherSide.com among others. Its premise may be even more radical than that of the revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries: “The social is political.” 

Listening to, not reviling, those of opposing viewpoints may not — probably will not and should not — change many views on issues. But it transforms our understanding of many of those who hold opposing views, recognizing that those who hold opposing views are not necessarily fools or knaves."

We know you are dedicated to maintaining your relationships regardless of politics. Feel free to share broadly!

Bridge Alliance


Campus Conversation Challenge

Posted by Bridge Alliance on February 05, 2017

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One of our members, Ask Big Questions, is launching a campus based response to the recent divisive election. The Campus Conversation Challenge helps communities spark 1,000 conversations between people who might have not met otherwise, and people who know each other but haven't had a meaningful conversation. Conversations that build understanding and trust are an essential building block on a path toward humanizing the other, nurturing diversity and inclusion, and ultimately fostering greater respect and civility. We encourage you to look into this tool for campuses in your community.

This week we are also announcing two new Bridge Alliance members, American Sustainable Business Council and DEPLOY/US.

asbc_logo.pngAmerican Sustainable Business Council is a network of businesses and business associations that have committed themselves to the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Profit.  Members believe that sustainable business is good business, and a sustainable economy is a prosperous and resilient one. Learn More


LogoDeployUS_Accelerate.jpgDEPLOY/US plays a unique role in the climate and energy landscape, connecting and empowering leaders and concerned citizens across the political spectrum who share our goal of pragmatic, pro-growth solutions. Learn More

 

Bridge Alliance


Update

Posted by Bridge Alliance on January 30, 2017

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Bridge Alliance is currently reviewing 25 proposals for our Collective Impact grant program. We are so far amazed at what our members have created with one another. Some of the topics that are covered in the proposals are civic engagement, governance and policy making, and campaigns and elections. With these proposals we are creating a portfolio for funders.

We also have a new Bridge Alliance member:
Nonprofit-VOTE-logo-medium-for-web.jpgNonprofit VOTE partners with America’s nonprofits to help the people they serve participate and vote. We are the largest source of nonpartisan resources to help nonprofits integrate voter engagement into their ongoing activities and services.

Bridge Alliance


Inaugurations and Our Founders

Posted by Bridge Alliance on January 23, 2017

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We are sharing with you a note we received last week that was not only timely but timeless. You can find it online here, along with the inaugural issue of the Transpartisan Review. Enjoy!

Bridge Alliance

Transpartisan Note #29

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

On March 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson walked from his rooming house at New Jersey Avenue and C Street in Washington, DC (about a block from today’s Union Station), to the Senate Chamber in the new, under construction, Capitol building for his inauguration as the third U.S. President. Jefferson, the first President inaugurated in the brand new Capital City, led the Democratic-Republican party.

Formed in the 1790s, Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans and Alexander Hamilton’s Federalists were the country’s, and thus the world’s, first political parties. The Democratic-Republicans believed in an agrarian-based, decentralized, democratic government. The Federalist Party came into being as a national coalition of bankers and businessmen in support of Alexander Hamilton’s fiscal policies. It existed from the early 1790s to 1816; its remnants lasted into the 1820s.

In 1826, Andrew Jackson entered the White House, and Jefferson’s party split into Jackson Democrats and a party called National Republicans. In the 1830s Whigs (including Lincoln) replaced the National Republicans until the 1850s, when the Republican Party of Lincoln, the beginning of today’s Republicans, emerged.

Jefferson walked to his inauguration in the clothes ‘of a plain citizen without any distinctive badge of office’, making the point that he and his party stood for the working people, famers and small businesses rather than rich carriage-riding banking and business elites. Historians consider the rumor- and innuendo-filled 1800 campaign as one of (if not the) dirtiest in American history.

Jefferson spoke to mend the wounds of the campaign. ‘Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. . . . We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. . . .’ he said. Let critics of our society ‘stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.’

John Adams, Jefferson’s Federalist adversary, disdained the new President by avoiding the inauguration and heading home to Massachusetts before sunrise. The 1800 party fight had undercut Madison’s Federalist #10 assertion that a well- constructed Union tended to ‘break and control the violence of faction.’ He called faction a ‘dangerous vice’.

Twenty-five years and four months later, on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of American Independence, both Jefferson and Adams died. The HISTORY site says, ‘Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives,” though his old friend and political adversary had died a few hours before.’

‘Old friend and adversary’ captures a key aspect of Transpartisan politics. These two founders together worked on The Declaration of Independence, served in the first ten years of U.S. government, and fought over core principles of American life. From 1777 to 1826, with an 1801 to 1812 hiatus as adversaries, they corresponded about politics and life. These famous letters are regarded as masterpieces of the American enlightenment.

The energies that bind people together personally create the vitality and space for passionate discourse. Transpartisan politics seeks to harness this vitality and expand this discourse. We are all Democratic-Republicans . . . we are all Americans.


Membership growth

Posted by Bridge Alliance on January 16, 2017

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In the new year, the Bridge Alliance has grown with 2 new member organizations. Our membership base doubled in 2016 and we are still expanding. 2017 brings new opportunities for our members to collaborate with each other and for our movement to reach critical mass. Our newest members are the Project On Government Oversight and iCivics.

POGO_Rectangle_with_Tagline.JPGProject On Government Oversight(POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

Unknown.png iCivics exists to engage students in meaningful civic learning. We provide civics teachers well-written, inventive, and free  resources that enhance their practice and inspire their classrooms, ensuring every student receives a high-quality civic education.

Bridge Alliance


Together we can

Posted by Bridge Alliance on December 30, 2016

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The year just ending has been an historic year - For America, of course, and for the Bridge Alliance. 

While the wounds are deep and the divide is wide in our country, we believe – and know you do, too – that individually and collectively we can bridge the divide. 

From the Alliance’s inception in early 2015 we have stated that we firmly believe for meaningful political transformation to occur in our nation, a network must be established to build a shared identity, as Americans who put country before party and who are dedicated to collaborative civic problem solving and collaborative public policy innovations.  Together we are well on our way to achieving this lofty goal. 

In 2016, our Alliance grew from 30 members to 63 members today, with more joining all the time. 

COLLECTIVE IMPACT GRANTS:

Strength in numbers is just one part of the value we bring.  As part of our strategy, we are focused on the collective impact we can make. We ended the year by announcing the Bridge Alliance collective impact grant program, as the first concrete step in creating the collaborative efforts among organizations and leaders who are focused on their aligned missions.

You can contribute to the Collective Impact grants program by donating here

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS:

The Bridge Alliance is proud to announce key strategic partnerships for 2017 that will vastly increase our impact: 

Congressional Management Foundation Democracy Awards 
The annual Democracy Awards program focuses on recognizing legislators and staff who are using exemplary practices in the service of Congress and their constituents. 
   
People’s Democracy Playbook: For running low-cost campaigns
We need regular citizens in Congress! The Bridge Alliance and the Pluribus Project is supporting the People’s Democracy Playbook, a highly innovate open source platform guide for running a low-cost $250,000 campaign. 

Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University- Support Services
Dr. Peter Levine and his staff have a long tradition of working with nonprofits in the civic engagement sector. We will be announcing early in 2017 the specific services that will be available to Bridge Alliance members. 

Invest America- Investment in Collective Impact Projects
The Fund provides seed financing and grants to the emerging community of political entrepreneurs whose core mission is to solve our toughest national problems. 

This is a unique and catalytic moment in our history that offers challenges but also offers enormous opportunities.  Let us enter the 2017 together as one to meet the challenges.

You can make a difference by supporting the Collective Impact grants program here

Happy New Year and best wishes for a year-and beyond- of civility, respect, goodwill, prosperity and peace. 

Warm regards,
David, Debilyn, Juno & Katie

The Bridge Alliance Core Team


63 Members Strong

Posted by Bridge Alliance on December 29, 2016

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In the past few weeks, the Bridge Alliance has grown with 8 new member organizations which puts our total membership at 63! The rapid growth in our membership base provides new opportunities for collaboration, civic problem solving, and public policy innovation. Our newest members are American Promise, Generation Citizen, The United States Association of Former Members of Congress, Everyday Democracy, The Pluribus Project, Ask Big Questions, The Institute for Civility in Government, and Open Primaries. We encourage you to visit their websites and support the work each of them are doing.

AP_Web_Logo.pngAmerican Promise is a strategic, inter-partisan organization designed to win the 28th Amendment to the Constitution so that people - not money, not corporations, not special interests - govern America. Learn More

d54.GC-Background.pngGeneration Citizen (GC) works to ensure that every student in the United States receives an effective action civics education, which provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in our democracy as active citizens. Learn More

large_blue_logo_large.jpgThe USAFMC utilizes the skill sets of its 600 members to provide pro bono programs and initiatives both at home and abroad. Using the expertise of its membership, FMC has created programs to educate, assist, and support Congress domestically and internationally. Learn More

everyday_democracy_logo_horizontal-1-1.jpgEveryday Democracy's mission is to help communities talk and work together to create communities that work for everyone. We work directly with local communities, providing advice and training and flexible how-to resources. Learn More

Pluribus_Logo-1.pngThe Pluribus Project is building the political power of the many by cultivating an alternative path to electoral victory that incentivizes our elected officials to advance broad public interests, not just those of wealthy elites or partisan extremes. Learn More

Ask_Logo_Red_WhiteBG.jpgAsk Big Questions partners with colleges, universities, and organizations to engage young adults in community conversations about purpose, identity, and responsibility. These conversations build trust, strengthen community, and deepen understanding across lines of difference. Learn More

15306833_icglogo_blue__1374463391_192x192_r-1.jpgThe Institute for Civility in Government is an organization that is building civility in a society that all too often seems tilted toward uncivil speech and actions. We do not endorse any political candidate, nor do we take a position on any issue. We are about process, not positions. Learn More

OPLogo.pngOpen Primaries mission is to advocate for open and nonpartisan primary systems, counter efforts to impose closed primaries, educate voters, train and support spokespeople, and participate in the building of local, state and national open primaries coalitions. Learn More

Happy Holidays,
Bridge Alliance