What follows are lists of organizations, groups, and people organized by sector that work to bridge divides in society and in their fields. These divisions may be political, economic, or social but what these groups have in common is that they seek to build bridges between divided communities.
The Better Arguments Project is a national civic initiative create to help bridge divides—not by papering over those divides but by helping Americans have better arguments. Developed through a partnership between the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program, Facing History and Ourselves, and Allstate the Better Arguments Project works with communities and organizations to build people’s ability to have constructive arguments through a variety of engagements like events, trainings, and media campaigns.
The Burke-Paine Society is bringing together cross-partisan discussion groups across the nation. With 8 chapters around the nation, the mission is to 1) rebuild cross-partisan trust, 2) redefine the national identity, and 3) ignite a political renaissance.
National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) supports peacemakers by being the hub for advancing the work of community mediation, aggregating the wisdom of community mediation and amplifying the voice of community mediators. NAFCM's purpose, as a membership association of peacemakers who employ the practices and values of community mediation, is to help these peacemakers to create safe spaces for the transformation of conflict to opportunities for engagement, resolution and partnership through the work and will of the participants and those impacted.
The One America Movement has chapters across the US bringing communities together across divides to work together on issues that matter to them: poverty, race relations and racism, the opioid epidemic and more. Their staff act as facilitators, supporting local chapters to build strong relationships and overcome division. They partner with experts to empower participants to understand the neuroscience and social science behind division and conflict, listen to neighbors’ perspective and create shared experiences—all while working together on issues that matter to them.
OpenMind is a psychology-based educational platform designed to depolarize campuses, companies, organizations, and communities. OpenMind helps people foster intellectual humility and mutual understanding, while equipping them with essential skills to engage constructively across differences.
Soliya’s mission is to prepare rising generations to approach differences constructively and lead with empathy, in order to thrive in an interconnected world.
The Sustained Dialogue Institute helps people to transform conflictual relationships and design change processes around the world. We define dialogue as “listening deeply enough to be changed by what you learn.
Abridge News tackles news echo chambers by providing our users with quick facts, an opinion spectrum, and reader reactions for trending stories.
American Listening Project is an effort to facilitate short conversation between Americans on different sides of the partisan divide. People are paired together and their short conversations are recorded and disseminated through social media.
TheChisel is a social media company changing the political discourse in this country. They offer a unique, proprietary online platform for nonpartisan organizations and bipartisan coalitions to post their proposals, engage the public in dialogue, refine proposals, build consensus through voting—and then send these proposals to Congress.
Civil Squared is a podcast and media organization whose purpose is to get un-likeminded people talking again because that’s how, together, we’ll create the most effective solutions to the challenges our communities face. Today’s problems won’t be solved by silencing disagreement. Civil discourse is essential to building and maintaining a free and prosperous society. A truly free society requires not just free exchanges of goods and services, but a free exchange of ideas. Through their podcast, newsletter, and events they highlight the diverse efforts of nationally recognized scholars, experts, and authors on big questions that have real-world applications for our lives and communities.
Cortico aims to foster constructive public conversation in communities and the media that improves our understanding of one another. A non-profit in cooperation with the MIT Media Lab, Cortico builds systems that bring under-heard community voices, perspectives and stories to the center of a healthier public dialogue. Cortico’s Local Voices Network (LVN) combines in-person and digital listening to host, analyze and connect community conversations at scale. This includes: 1) Facilitating in-person community dialogue that enables participants to listen, learn, speak and be heard. 2) Building a digital network that connects facilitators and conversations across political and cultural boundaries. 3) Opening a new local listening channel for journalists, leaders and the community at large. Why is this important? Our media environment prioritizes national perspectives and our politics reinforce divisive tribalism. Local citizenries, however, share a lived community experience. Today, too many of these local voices — be they from red counties or blue cities — go unheard, drowned out by hyperpartisan noise and toxic public dialogue. Social media, designed to connect us, has also divided us into insular “tribes” hostile toward outside views and ripe for the spread of false news, hateful discourse, and extremism. We need to create a new civic space for local voices to be heard in civil, empathic public conversation that heals divisions in communities from the inside out.
The Fulcrum is a digital news organization focused exclusively on efforts to reverse the dysfunctions plaguing American democracy. They are a nonprofit and nonpartisan. Their original stories, the news they gather from across the country and their opinion forum are all tightly focused on money in politics, redistricting, voting rights, election access, government ethics, civic engagement and the imbalance of powers. Their coverage is all about efforts to make our democratic republic less partisan, our elections more competitive, our politicians less beholden to moneyed interests, our officials more attentive to real evidence in their policy-making and our Congress more effective, ethical and civil.
Spaceship Media launched in 2016 with a mission to reduce polarization, build communities, and restore trust in journalism. Through dialogue journalism they go right to the heart of problematic situations by bringing people from communities in conflict – or that simply aren’t communicating – together into a journalism-supported dialogue. We amplify that process by working with our news partners to tell the stories that arise organically from those conversations. They work with media organizations and others on several different levels by designing and managing engagement conversations from the ground up; providing design and ongoing consulting support; and providing consulting around our engagement values and methodology and project visioning. Read a case study on their work from The Dialogue Project here.
The Transpartisan Review is a non-partisan journal focused on highlighting partisan realities and bi-partisan solutions in US politics.
Citizens Above Partisanship (CAP) is a registered political action committee in the State of Maryland. Their membership is a diverse, nonpartisan group of Washington County, Maryland residents who are committed to working across political differences for our common good. They support candidates from across the political spectrum whose beliefs and actions align with our mission. They value unity and equity in opportunity, access, and participation for all citizens.
Common Ground Solutions is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helps Americans become and remain active citizens who work together across party lines. We believe that as more citizens become engaged in concrete and meaningful ways, they will find opportunities to work together and encourage their leaders to find common ground. Through events and content that explore areas of agreement, educate citizens on how to take action, and connect constituents directly to their elected representatives, we offer an accessible entry point for Americans who want to impact public policy and need a road map for doing so.
Common Ground of the American People is an effort of Voice of the People, Common Ground Solutions, the Program for Public Consultation at Maryland University, and the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University that seeks to identify policy positions that have bipartisan public support. The project has so far found over 150 common ground positions on wide range of issues.
The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State draws from the humanities and social sciences to examine democracy from multiple angles. This cross-discipline collaboration is evident in their research, education, and outreach efforts. They ask what does it mean to be a partisan for democracy? They don’t take sides on the political spectrum, but they do defend the rights everyone has as a democratic citizen — from voting to protesting to consuming information from a free press that serves as a check on political leaders.
The Millennial Action Project works directly with our nation’s leading young policymakers on both a national and state level to spur bipartisan legislation and innovative policy solutions. As a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit dedicated to activating millennial policymakers, MAP gives our nation’s young leaders the resources and support to create, introduce, and pass legislation and forge productive partnerships on the issues affecting the youngest generation of Americans. Working in concert with lawmakers, MAP has advanced legislation on issues including entrepreneurship, technology, 21st century skills training, veterans' employment, immigration, volunteerism, and more – including the introduction of the first bipartisan legislation on ridesharing and social impact bonds.
Next Generation works directly with state legislators to address incivility and hyper polarization at the state level. Next Generation offers an interactive, half-day workshop titled, Building Trust through Civil Discourse, that is designed and delivered by state legislators for state legislators. The main mission of the workshop is to provide state lawmakers with an opportunity to explore the benefits of improving the level of civil discourse in their state’s legislature and more effectively work across the aisle to recover a culture where discourse and collaboration typify public policy development.
The Niskanen Center, a Washington DC based think tank and policy advocacy center, are globalists who share progressives’ desire to robustly address economic and social inequality, liberals’ commitment to toleration and civil liberties, moderates’ embrace of empiricism rather than dogma, conservatives’ belief in the wealth creating power of free markets, and libertarians’ skepticism about the ability of technocratic elites to solve complex economic and social problems. They have an op-ed series in partnership with the Washington Post exploring policy ideas with cross party appeal entitle “On Common Ground”
The Unite America Institute is a non-profit organization that seeks to encourage broad-based, non-partisan civic engagement and political participation and engage in research and scholarly analysis on important issues of public concern, including the root causes, effects and potential solutions to political polarization and partisanship.
Voice of the People (VOP) is a nonpartisan organization that seeks to re-anchor our democracy in its founding principles by giving ‘We the People’ a greater role in government. VOP furthers the use of innovative methods and technology to give the American people a more effective voice in the policymaking process. VOP works with the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation to develop policymaking simulations to enable individual citizens to get informed on key issues before government, to hear arguments and offer their recommendations to their Congressional representatives.
The Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI), based at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs’ Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, works to support local community resilience in the United States, building on expertise from political and elections work around the world. BDI uses different tools and methodologies to track demonstrations and political violence in real time, providing new data and risk analysis so that local communities and national organizations will be better able to address issues before they escalate. BDI also works to build an expansive picture of peacebuilding and reconciliation organizations across the country, to highlight existing work while developing new avenues for coordination and support. Their interactive map is one of the most robust and accessible mapping efforts of US based peacebuilding organizations, and is also a partnership with the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data (ACLED) Project to track political violence and protest in the US. Find their interactive map here.
The Center for the Political Future (CPF) at the University of Southern California (USC) combines rigorous intellectual inquiry, teaching, and practical politics to advance civil dialogue and research that transcends partisan divisions and finds solutions to pressing national and global challenges. Our events, programs, scholarships, and internships inspire and train students for careers in public service and lifetimes of civic engagement. Read a case study on the center’s efforts to engage the business community can support students commitment to bi-partisan civil discourse from The Dialogue Project here.
NewGen Peacebuilders is a youth peace education program designed for high school and university students (14 to 25). It draws on principles of peace education familiar to Rotary Peace Fellows as well as best practices in peace and global education for youth. The program was designed by Rotary Peace Fellow Patricia Shafer (US) with collaboration and input from Rotary Peace Fellows Phill Gittins (UK), Carla Lineback (US) and Pranisa Ekachote (Thailand). One of the key elements/outcomes of this youth peace education program is a team peace education project that youth complete. These projects have spanned education inequality, poverty, domestic violence, international/cultural bridgebuilding and peace conference planning and management. The program content is global/universal in nature, but also adapted/adaptable to local language, issues and cultural circumstances.
The Project on Civil Discourse at American University encourages students to move from thinking only about what they have a right to say and consider why and how they engage in conversations as speakers, listeners, and readers. The project is based on the understanding that our choice of how to use our voices, what conversations to engage in, whether and how we listen to others, is at the core of our learning experience. It challenges students to examine their goals and be wise and mindful architects of their contributions to American University—an institution whose mission is to promote and disseminate knowledge.
American Sustainable Business Council is a network of business leaders focused on the business community’s contributions to sustainability and policy interaction with government. They have a working groups focused on “Making Capitalism Work for All” and “Diversity & Inclusion” which are both policy focused but get at fairness in the economy, making things work across divisions, and advocate for bi-partisan approaches to policy making…
“At Business for America we believe that the business community can help to overcome political polarization and preserve our country’s representative democracy.” They work to “mobilize the business sector to help increase voter participation and civic engagement, put meaningful solutions on state and national agendas, and generate the support necessary to drive change.” This is their platform
The Dialogue Project is a research effort to explore what role business can play to help improve civil discourse and reduce polarization. It is supported by such companies as Google, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Chevron, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Southwest Airlines, among others, as well as the University of Southern California. Their report, based on nearly a year’s worth of research in conjunction with Morning Consult, provides disturbing new data on Americans’ deteriorating ability to debate difficult issues, as well as promising initiatives from the business world and recommendations from top CEOs. The Project and report also features case studies of efforts to transform polarization by the business community and original writings from a spectrum of leading American business figures.
Future500 envisions a future in which business and civil society work as equal partners and responsible stewards of a clean, just, and prosperous world. They believe that relationships are the first step toward solving our most pressing environmental and social challenges. By helping diverse organizations step out of their echo chambers and seek common ground in uncommon places, they aim to catalyze innovative, systemic solutions that enable both our planet and society to thrive.
General Mills has an initiative called Courageous Conversations. launched in January 2016, the initiative gives employees a safe and supportive place to have candid discussions about important issues. Conversation starts with an external keynote speaker followed by an open forum discussion facilitated by trained employee volunteers. Hundreds of employees have now come together to have open and honest dialogue around important issues. Attendees have reported that they’ve come away with increased commitment to engaging different perspectives, increased levels of understanding and empathy across different communities and increased understanding of company resources. Find a case study on the program from The Dialogue Project here.
The Institute for Economics & Peace is the world’s leading think tank dedicated to developing metrics to analyze peace and to quantify its economic value. It does this by developing global and national indices, calculating the economic cost of violence, analyzing country level risk and understanding positive peace.
The Leadership Now Project is a membership organization of business leaders mobilized to “Fix American Democracy.” They invest in high-impact organizations and candidates (New Leaders) to advance a modern, effective democracy for all Americans. Their issue priorities for 2019-2021 are:
Not explicitly focused on polarization or political divisiveness but they are concerned with a democracy and government that is effective and works which brings in the ability to conduct bi-partisan governance writ-large.
Unite America is a movement of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working to bridge the growing partisan divide and foster a more representative and functional government. They are focused on scaling and accelerating the movement to put voters first and ensure that the right leaders have the right incentives to solve our country’s greatest problems. Through their Unite America Fund, they leverage their nonpartisan donor community to invest in the reform movement like never before.
Millions of Conversations is a media driven campaign designed to change existing narratives that marginalize and politicize “the other.” Starting with the predominating narrative about Muslim-Americans, their focus is on eliminating stigma in all its forms.
State of Formation (SoF) is an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. Founded as an offshoot of the Journal of Interreligious Studies, both publications are produced by the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership at Hebrew College and Boston University School of Theology. The forum is for up-and-coming religious and ethical thinkers to draw upon the learning that is occurring in their academic and community work. They curate a list of faith-based dialogue activities in US States.
Generations for Peace, an international Jordanian Youth oriented Peacebuilding Organization, has opened its first US based office in the South-Side of Chicago and is piloting youth-led peacebuilding initiatives there to bridge generational divides and interrupt and prevent widespread gun violence.
Peace Players uses sports to bridge divides in communities in conflict—specifically through sports programming, peace education, and leadership development programs.
Peace and Sport provides supports for national and international peacebuilders designing and implementing programs that use sport to promote education, integration, and socialization.
RISE—the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality—works with youth athletes, coaches and school administrators to provide educational programming and workshops about racism, prejudice, diversity and inclusion, and through awareness campaigns at sporting events.
A research paper titled Can Celebrities Burst your Bubble? About a strategy for using celebrities to overcome filters in social media as a means of mitigating polarization.
The Common Ground Committee is a forum organizing events hosting high-profile leaders from diverse political backgrounds to find common ground on divisive issues like ace, taxes, healthcare, and the media.
92nd Street Y is a world-class cultural and community center in New York City where people all over the world connect through culture, arts, entertainment and conversation. As a proudly Jewish organization, 92Y enthusiastically welcomes and reaches out to people of all ages, races, faiths and backgrounds while embracing Jewish values like learning and self-improvement, the importance of family, and the joy of life.
The Divided Community Project hopes to synthesize insights for collaborative approaches to community division; provide counsel to local leaders based on these insights; and help local leaders translate these principles into practice in local communities throughout the nation.
Hands Across the Hills formed in response to the 2016 election with the goal of meeting face to face with others who voted differently than us, eliminating the voices of politicians and the media, who seek to divide us, to see us as enemies, red versus blue. Two small groups, progressives in rural Western Massachusetts and conservative voters in Eastern Kentucky coal country, met for three immersive weekends of dialogue and cultural exchange in each other’s towns, in fall 2017, spring 2018 and fall 2019.