Big Tent Nation Progress Report


The Big Tent team does regular status reports – and we think it makes sense to share them with you.  Below is our current version – it covers everything from what’s going well to what isn’t – the good, the bad and the ugly.  We’re in this together so we’ve left out the spin and sugar coating.  Plus the door is always open for your input – so if you have any ideas, comments or concerns we want to hear them! 

Overall Objective

Enhance national prosperity and economic opportunity by dramatically increasing direct citizen engagement in strategic decision making regarding America’s economic future.


Provide a nonpartisan online platform to facilitate civic engagement that includes the following core capabilities:

  1. A civic involvement homepage personalized for every citizen, e.g. reflecting their economic interests, priorities and concerns.
  2. Vibrant online communities focused on specific national issues like education, infrastructure and innovation.  These communities will be driven by grassroots citizens and supported by world class subject matter experts.
  3. Highly interactive and empowering online resources related to the following:
  1. Issue Specific Information and Analysis
  2. Collaborative Citizen-Driven Problem Solving
  3. Communication, Outreach and Implementation

Current State

  1. Our full vision has been prototyped, designed and scoped out
  2. A world class design and development team is in place to build it
  3. The initial Big Tent Nation release is targeted for a 2017 launch

Next Steps

  1. Finalize and launch Big Tent Nation beta release by Q2 2017
  2. Build out the full institutional partner network by leveraging the Collective Impact model
  3. Launch phase two fund raising efforts
  4. Ramp up mainstream citizen community, e.g. through “Beyond Our Differences” contest

Major Challenges/Risks

  1.  We’ll get the beta launched, but keeping it going will require help from citizen volunteers.
  2. The founders have been writing all the checks to fund Big Tent so far – and have been proud to do so.  But moving to the next level will require additional funders to step up - including mainstream citizens.
  3. We’ve got a great core of institutional partners, but need more to reach critical mass.
  4. Building a large scale online community is never easy - and more than anything else will require mainstream citizens getting deeply involved in the recruiting process.
  5. In many ways, the next 3-6 months are make or break for this effort.  So if you think America needs something like Big Tent Nation – now is the time to act!

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