Below is a list of organizations throughout the U.S. who facilitate community dialogue and aim to bridge divides through their programs. If you know of or represent an organization that should be included in this list please contact us at ICCCR@tc.columbia.edu
Better Angels is a national citizens’ movement to reduce political polarization in the United States by bringing liberals and conservatives together to understand each other beyond stereotypes, forming red/blue community alliances, teaching practical skills for communicating across political differences, and making a strong public argument for depolarization
Civi provides a space for anyone who is looking to break free of their bubbles and move past difficult divides. Unlike other major social media platforms, Civi is the only platform that is built around enabling users to create meaningful and positive connections with people with different viewpoints than their own.
They aim to bring together the 77% of Americans who believe that our differences are not strong enough to keep us from coming together. You can talk about anything you want with your matches, all we ask is that you do so respectfully and with the intent to listen as well as share.
The Civil Conversations Project
The Civil Conversations Project seeks to renew common life in a fractured and tender world. We are a conversation-based, virtues-based resource towards hospitable, trustworthy relationship with and across difference. We honor the power of asking better questions, model reframed approaches to entrenched debates, and insist that the ruptures above the radar do not tell the whole story of our time. We aspire to amplify and cross-pollinate the generative new realities that are also being woven, one word and one life at a time.
Conversations New York
Conversations New York is a not-for-profit, volunteer initiative to enhance the quality of our lives and the healthfulness of our communities, through conversation. LET’S TALK, NEW YORK! is the invitation extended by CNY for New Yorkers to come together in small groups of neighbors and fellow citizens to discuss topics that are enjoyable, interesting, and important, hosted at no cost and at convenient locations and times, and inspired by simple guiding principles. Such conversations celebrate the city’s diversity, creativity, resourcefulness, friendliness, and civic vision.
Critical Connections is a non-profit organization based in western Massachusetts that seeks to improve understanding of social, political and religious trends related to Muslim communities here in the U.S. and abroad.
Crossing Party Lines
Founded in 2016 in Portland, Oregon and New York City, Crossing Party Lines brings Americans together for face-to-face, respectful conversation about political topics with the aim of “listening politics” rather than “arguing politics.” They use the social website Meetup to organize events, currently have groups in five states, and are eager to expand!
Days of Dialogue
Days of Dialogue is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to be a catalyst in the community problem solving process by creating dialogue on sensitive social issues among diverse community groups. By facilitating respectful, purposeful conversation on a broad range of public issues and public policies and topics, we foster understanding, and encourage people to improve their quality of life through civic engagement.
DEPLOY/US works with military, business, faith, investment, policy, and philanthropic leaders to ensure that right-of-center voices are part of the dialogue necessary to forge cutting-edge bipartisan solutions.
Our work is grounded in the field of systems entrepreneurship. We focus on three systemic levers that have the potential to dramatically increase the collective impact of right-of-center climate and clean energy efforts, as an essential foundation for bipartisan action: (1) Mobilizing Cross-Sector Coordination; (2) Expanding & Diversifying Funding; and (3) Amplifying Right-of-Center Voices
The Dialogue Project
The Dialogue Project is an interfaith conflict transformation organization. Our mission is to develop mutual trust, relationships and partnerships among ourselves – long time citizens, new immigrants, Palestinians, Israelis and people of diverse faiths and cultures in New York City and beyond. We meet face to face regularly, with intention. We explore differences and common values. Dialogue offers an opportunity for people to take a risk with the “other”, and move towards reconciliation, self transformation and healing. We identify issues that affect our lives in New York and our families in the Middle East.
Essential Partners has worked for three decades to facilitate conversations and equip people using our approach to dialogue. We bring a method that is applicable and adaptable to a wide variety of contexts. Our method, Reflective Structured Dialogue (RSD), relies on preparation, structure, questions, facilitation, and reflection to enable people to harness their capacity to have the conversations they need to have.
Essential Partners offers workshops, custom training, and dialogue facilitation, as well as consultation. Our aim is to equip you to have meaningful conversations about essential issues, so you can move forward and create a better way of living together.
Everyday Democracy supports organizing across the country by bringing diverse groups of people together, helping them structure and facilitate community dialogue on pressing issues, and training them to use a racial equity lens to understand longstanding problems and possible solutions. Our function is unique and unparalleled in the community engagement field: helping people create the spaces where they can build skills to bring difficult topics to light and address them effectively over the long term. Their work helps communities move conversation into action, and action into lasting positive change.
Experiment in Dialogue
What would happen if we broke out of our insulated political bubbles to break bread with people who we’ve never met? Would we see them differently? How about ourselves? We set off on a mission to find out and from there, Experiment in Dialogue was born and has become a grassroots force of nature gaining momentum and traction ever since. The idea is based on the power of the human connection and its importance in light of the political polarization felt by many in this country. We are not static representations of the political parties with which we might affiliate, and EID creates an unparalleled opportunity for participants to go beneath the headlines and understand the real stories, struggles, fears, hopes and dreams that have shaped who we all are as fellow New Yorkers. The Experiment in Dialogue mission is spearheaded by both conservative and liberal board members, thus an inherent balance is baked into the curation of each event. Anyone interested in breaking bread and having respectful, honest conversations with others they might not otherwise cross paths with is welcome to attend.
The Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion
Founded in 2006, the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people have difficult conversations. We offer professional facilitation, team building, strategic planning and community engagement services, working with organizations, neighborhoods, businesses and faith communities across a range of issues. We believe that positive and sustainable community action aimed at repairing relationships must start with trust building and humanizing.
FCNL’s multi-faceted approach draws on the expertise of registered lobbyists in Washington, DC, the commitment and passion of people around the country in our advocacy network, and the relationships we cultivate with elected officials and community leaders. A focus of FCNL, over the years, has been to foster space for bi-partisan dialogue on divisive and contentious issues facing American society.
Hope in the Cities
For over two decades Hope in the Cities has helped transform Richmond, VA, from a symbol of racial division to a model for reconciliation. Through acknowledgement of history, honest conversation and skills building workshops, the experiential learning offered by Hope in the Cities builds capacity for community leaders.
A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. addresses a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Our mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse.
Intergroup Resources is an online resource center that seeks to strengthen intergroup relations for social justice by sharing materials, tools, and lessons learned from organizers around the United States.
KAICIID is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate is to promote the use of dialogue globally to prevent and resolve conflict to enhance understanding and cooperation. Over a seven-year-long negotiation and development process, KAICIID’s mandate and structure were designed to foster dialogue among people of different faiths and cultures that bridges animosities, reduces fear and instills mutual respect. Intercultural and interreligious dialogue helps build communities’ resistance against prejudice, strengthens social cohesion, supports conflict prevention and transformation and can serve to preserve peace.
Karuna Center bridges deep divides to transform violent conflict, foster reconciliation, interrupt cycles of violence, and strengthen community resilience. Through long-term partnerships and collaborations with local partners in conflict-affected environments, they help people discover their shared capacity for building peace. Through the skillful use of facilitated, structured dialogue people on differering sides of conflict discover their shared hopes and goals, and nurture authentic partnerships across divides to develop solutions. Such dialogue can have a deeply transformative impact on participants who have become alienated from each other by past intergroup violence, or who have been subjected to dehumanizing stereotypes and misperceptions. The mutual understanding and commitment among dialogue participants emerges as a foundation upon which broader outreach, advocacy, and community-building initiatives can be built. This practice of dialogue as a foundation is central to nearly all Karuna Center programs.
Leaders for Political Dialogue
The Leaders for Political Dialogue (LPD) initiative aims to create a meeting place – a forum – where representative voices, bipartisan and nonpartisan, undergraduate and graduate, can convene to discuss issues and hear each other’s point of view with curiosity and without fear.
Living Room Conversations
Living Room Conversations is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 as a result of a transpartisan partnership focused on revitalizing civil discourse through conversation.
More in Common
More in Common is a new international initiative, set up in 2017 to build communities and societies that are stronger, more united and more resilient to the increasing threats of polarisation and social division.
The National Conference for Community and Justice of Metropolitan St. Louis (NCCJ St. Louis)
Since our beginning, NCCJ St. Louis has brought people together from different groups to “clear up misunderstandings” and to “promote goodwill and cooperation.” Interfaith dialogue groups, interracial dialogue groups, diversity dialogues; in the evening, over breakfast, in living rooms—NCCJ’s commitment to dialogues for diversity and justice continues in its Building Inclusive Communities (BIC) dialogues, in talking circles held with our partners, and in the process used in our celebrated training programs.
Make America Dinner Again
It is no secret that the results of the 2016 election have highlighted great divides in opinion, whether between family, neighbors, or perfect strangers. In an attempt to build understanding and move forward together, we’d like to invite people to sit down and have dinner. There are many avenues to protest, to donate, to fight, to be heard; Make America Dinner Again is an avenue to listen. These small dinners consist of respectful conversation, guided activities, and delicious food shared among 6-10 guests who have differing political viewpoints, and our country’s best interests at heart.
On the Table
The Chicago Community Trust’s On the Table is an annual forum designed to take people places – to offices, schools, libraries, restaurants and other spaces where they meet others, share ideas and explore ways to improve our region. The results are exciting new relationships, elevated civic conversations and genuine pathways toward collaborative action – outcomes that make our communities more connected, resilient and resourceful. The success of On the Table in Chicago has inspired similar initiatives in more than 20 communities nationally and internationally, including a cohort of 10 cities replicating the project as part of a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
a 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan public charity, provides professionally-researched pro, con, and related information on more than 50 controversial issues from gun control and death penalty to illegal immigration and alternative energy. Using the fair, FREE, and unbiased resources at ProCon.org, millions of people each year learn new facts, think critically about both sides of important issues, and strengthen their minds and opinions.Our official mission statement is: “Promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, and primarily pro-con format.”
Real Talk: Engaging Diversity through Transformational Intergroup Dialogue
Real Talk: Engaging Diversity through Transformational Intergroup Dialogue is an education program which promotes intergroup cooperation and understanding through dialogue. Real Talk helps participants better understand the impact of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and class on individuals and groups through face-to-face, interactive exchanges focused on the reality of who people are rather than the fear that has been taught through group and cultural norms.
RNW was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1985 by a small group of community members who valued the vision of a restorative juvenile justice system. Today, RNW provides services and trainings in mediation & conflict resolution, facilitation, restorative justice, and racial equity.
Conflict and differences are inevitable. Violence is not. Search partners with people around the world to ignite shared solutions to destructive conflicts. Whether at the local or national level, Search brings people together across dividing lines to discover and achieve shared goals. They work with those traditionally in power and those without a platform, often women and youth. While dialogue is one powerful tool Search has developed and utilized over the years, as a large and diversified development organization they are able to leverage the dialogue work they do alongside many other capacities and processes in efforts for more systems impacts.
Sustained Dialogue Institute
Vision:Only a culture of dialogue enables all people to relate peacefully, justly, and productively.
Mission:Sustained Dialogue develops leaders able to transform differences into the strong relationships essential to effective decision-making, democratic governance, and peace.
The Peoples Supper
We aim to repair the breach in our interpersonal relationships across political, ideological, and identity differences, leading to more civil discourse. And, we plan to do it in the most nourishing way we know – over supper!
Our mission is to foster safe dialogue, explore effective approaches, and ultimately encourage action to price carbon that is viable, equitable and commensurate with the challenge of climate disruption.
The Village Square
The Village Square hosts about 20 civic forums every year in Tallahassee, providing a model for new locations and others across America working to bridge the partisan divide.
Who They Are: WeListen is a grassroots, campus-based organization bridging the American political divide.
Their Mission Is: To build empathy across the American political spectrum through conversation.
Their Goal Is: Change the American political climate by building a movement of listeners on campuses across the country.