The National Institute for Civil Discourse was one of our inaugural winners of the American Civic Collaboration Awards, or Civvys. Through a partnership with the National Foundation for Women Legislators and the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, NICD modeled a collaborative process that served to bring together common interests and work across divides. Together, these groups are helping to heal America. Director of State Programs Ted Celeste discussed the award, what it means, and next steps for the organization.
What are your hopes for the upcoming year?
Having the opportunity to team up with NFWL and SLLF for our Collective Impact Grant, has meant the multiplication of each of our individual efforts to extend our reach substantially. For NICD and Next Generation, we have now presented our workshop to over 90 State Legislative Leaders with the goal of each of them taking the workshop back to their states. Our first in-state workshop in Delaware on November 30thsince these joint presentations is an indication of what is to come in 2018. We have a half dozen states already looking at dates to host a workshop in their state, with more under consideration. With the involvement of leadership the number of legislators who are attending the workshops has increased and the level of engagement has intensified.
Why is collaboration important in today’s politics?
Without the collaboration that the Collective Impact Grant enabled, NICD would have had a longer and more difficult road to bring its message to legislatures around the country. Being able to meet with Majority Leaders, Speakers, and Women Leaders from around the country has afforded us the opportunity to hone our message and refine our tools. We have met an extensive group of leaders who are committed to civil dialogue and help us establish a road map to deliver our message.
What do you wish people who have lost hope knew?
A common theme during this past eight months, as we have worked cooperatively with NFWL and SLLF is the increasing desire for solving the political dysfunction and level of uncivil rhetoric. NICD has developed a national initiative called Revive Civility – Our Democracy Depends on It, to provide citizens and elected officials the tools to have more civil conversations: how to listen to understand, not engage in personal insults, find common ground and look for ways to communicate with unlikely friends. There is a real hunger around the country for these tools, and more and more organizations, both locally and nationally are getting involved. The message for those losing hope is to join our effort and know that they have a large number of folks standing with them.
What does winning a Civvy mean to you?
Winning the Civvys was a wonderful message that we are beginning to make a difference. We can make a bigger difference when we combine our efforts with like-minded organizations. The engagement with our partners during this process has been outstanding. Being recognized for our joint efforts is a big push for continuing to expand our work together.