The Weekly Update Newsletter

Illinois Humanities & Institute for Local Government

Posted by on November 16, 2016


This last summer, the Bridge Alliance was busy making connections and bringing new organizations on board. We wanted to take a moment to highlight two of our newer members and the powerful work they are doing.

Illinois Humanities works to build dialogue across all sectors of society to examine issues important to democracy in the focus areas of public policy, media & journalism, business, and art. Using the humanities as tools to stimulate discussion, we create experiences across Illinois through programming, events, and grantmaking to engage a diverse public on ideas and issues that matter.


The Institute for Local Government promotes good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities.  The Institute’s goal is to assist local leaders to govern openly, effectively and ethically, work collaboratively and foster healthy and sustainable communities.

The Bridge Alliance is proud to have new organizations joining our network that all have in common a commitment to working together for collective impact and increasing visibility for all those who want to strengthen the common ground.

Bridge Alliance

Represent.Us & FairVote

Posted by on October 31, 2016



One of our members, Represent.Us, is the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption campaign. We bring together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass powerful anti-corruption laws that stop political bribery, end secret money, and give voters a stronger voice. Together, we’re fixing our corrupt political system – so our leaders represent us.

This year, Represent.US has helped create statewide anti-corruption acts in two states, Washington (The Washington Government Accountability Act) and South Dakota (The South Dakota Accountability and Anti-Corruption Act). The Washington Act will end secret money and reveal who is buying political ads, encourage voter participation and empower small donors, and increase penalties for rule breakers. The South Dakota Act will end secret money, stop unlimited lobbyist gifts, and increase enforcement for violation of campaign and lobby laws.

OxU62jNH.jpgAnother one of our members, FairVote, has garnered broad support across the political spectrum for their initiative in Maine on ranked choice voting (RCV). RCV describes a voting system that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, and 

then uses those rankings to elect candidates. RCV is straightforward for voters, allowing them to rank as many candidates as they want without the fear that ranking others will hurt the choice of their favorite candidate. The campaign has released a video of the RCV benefits for Maine that you can watch here.

We are proud to support these organizations and our other members in their efforts to change our nation. We are making progress and we strongly urge everyone to vote in their respective communities.

Bridge Alliance


Posted by on October 23, 2016


Dear Friend-

We are excited to help announce that one of our members bridgeUSA is opening new collegiate chapters around the nation that will help more young people engage in civil discourse. bridgeUSA seeks to provide an open and welcoming forum for frank and rational political discourse where it is most desperately needed – the university campus.

Here is a note from President and Co-Founder, Patrick Kearney:

"bridgeUSA was happy to recently welcome the newest addition to our organization - bridgeASU - whose coverage of the presidential election has electrified Arizona State's campus and brought dozens of new members to the bridge movement. 

Likewise, bridgeSLU and bridgeUST, at St. Louis University and the University of St. Thomas, respectively, await administrative approval to begin their activities. We have also received expressed interest from student leaders on dozens of campuses across the country, including MIT, George Mason, Boston University, Michigan, Chicago, Northwestern, and other schools, all of whom are excited to join bridge in bringing virtuous discourse to their college campuses."

Bridge Alliance

Nevins Fellows

Posted by David Nevins on October 16, 2016



The Nevins Democracy Fellows program is an educational and leadership-training program. This program has the necessary funding to provide Penn State students with an all-expenses paid summer internship opportunity with a civic organization that promotes democracy, dialogue, and/or deliberation.

They believe that trans-partisan leadership skills can best develop by exposing students to a variety of philosophies, viewpoints, and strategies, and by teaching them the tools of critical thinking, deliberation, and dialogue. Nevins Fellows get a grounding in these ideas through a one-credit course at Penn State, but the summer internship is the key.

They are looking for democratic innovators to host Penn State students for two months the summer of 2017.  The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State provides the funding for this program, and the hosts ensure that the Fellows have an outstanding educational and professional experience advancing the programs of the host organization.

Past host organizations include: No Labels, The Aspen Institute, Public Agenda, Everyday Democracy, Healthy Democracy, The Jefferson Center, and many more.

Applications are due by October 21, 2016. Interested organizations can apply to host a 2017 Nevins Fellow by clicking here, and you can view FAQ by clicking here.

If you have questions or need any more information, please contact the McCourtney Institute Managing Director Chris Beem at [email protected].

Bridge Alliance


Essential Partners

Posted by on October 10, 2016


Bridge Alliance is excited to help announce that one of our member organizations Public Conversations Project has a new name and identity- Essential Partners.

Here is a note from Essential Partners about their change:

The new name and identity culminated from two years of analysis, research, and a strategic process to better address the many challenges facing the nation and the world. 26 years after the founding of the organization by a group of colleagues at the Family Institute of Cambridge, our body of practice in shaping courageous conversations is well known and respected. We are now ready to boldly proclaim the power and relevance of our work and move assertively to share our practices, our training, and our consultation with new audiences hungry for better ways to be in community.

The name “Essential Partners” emerged because we get to the issues at their essence. We work through long-term, sustained partnership with communities that want to find a new way to be together. Our years of action research have shown that new possibilities emerge when people whose views differ turn to one another as essential partners to discover a path forward. We are ready to be your partners in uncovering the essential connection that is hidden in the midst of difference. Learn more about the work that led us in a more detailed story.

Executive Director Parisa Parsa sums it up:

“Essential Partners invites us each to discover and re-discover the core of who we are and what we value. Grounded in our own truth, we can find both the courage and the generosity to listen to those we have considered our enemies. This continued discovery of our partnership as neighbors sharing a community, a nation, a planet is absolutely essential to crafting a vibrant future.”