What We Do
Everyday Democracy Program Director Carolyne Abudullah coaches a dialogue-to-change organizing committee in Mundelein, Ill.
The goal of Everyday Democracy’s programs and services is to help create communities that work better for everyone because all voices are included in public problem solving, and to link that work to creating a stronger democracy.
Community Assistance. This is the heart of Everyday Democracy’s work. Everyday Democracy focuses its assistance where people of different backgrounds are committed to working together to solve public problems. They help communities adapt ideas and tools to fit particular needs and circumstances. They work with neighborhoods, cities, towns, regions, and states, and help them pay attention to how racism and ethnic differences affect the problems they are facing. In the communities where Everyday Democracy provides customized technical assistance, they coach local people, serving as resources and trainers to help communities build their own abilities to create change. They rely on a tested set of democratic principles and processes to help cross-sector community groups:
Click here for more information on getting our help.Click here for a video orientation on how Everyday Democracy helps communities.
- Build a diverse and effective working coalition;
- Engage across difference, and address the racial and ethnic dimensions of issues they’re facing;
- Set achievable, measurable goals for their public engagement effort;
- Select or create discussion materials for public dialogue;
- Actively recruit a wide diversity of community members;
- Plan, organize, and facilitate large-scale public dialogue;
- Plan to support and implement key action ideas emerging from the dialogue, and connect them with other community change initiatives;
- Tell the story to the whole community;
- Name and learn from the results they achieve; an
- Generate the support they need to expand and sustain their work.
Learning and Evaluation. Everyday Democracy is committed to learning from the communities it assists, and to applying the lessons to its own work and advice. Formal tools of assessment and research are part of its overall approach to learning, along with more informal learning that takes place through regular communication among staff, associates, partners, and community groups. The organization is dedicated to applying what it is learning, to continuously update and improve tools, advice, and practices. At the same time, it is helping communities do the same kind of learning, so that they can be more clear about their goals and theories of change, and more effective in their work.
"In the many years of participating in group dynamics exercises and community organizational meetings, I have never encountered such a professional and practical demonstration as well as excellent participatory training program."
--Susan Rosenthal of Morris County Human Relations Commission (N.J.) on Everyday Democracy's organizing training
Creating and Disseminating Tools. In over 18 years of learning from communities, Everyday Democracy has documented hundreds of lessons and stories, and has created tools that other communities can use and adapt free of charge. These include how-to materials for organizing dialogue-to-change, issue-specific guides, facilitator training guides, and self-assessment tools on racial dynamics and community change.
Click here to visit our resource room.
Communicating the Power of Community Engagement for Creating Change. Through its website, blog, and brief monographs, Everyday Democracy tells the stories of what can happen when all kinds of people have a voice and a chance to create communities that work for all. Everyday Democracy relays real-life stories of resulting changes – in individuals, in relationships, in institutions, and in public policy.
Click here to check out stories and news articles about our organization and the communities we've worked with.
Partnerships. Everyday Democracy works with national and regional organizations and networks. Major initiatives can entail preparing guides on important public issues, providing technical assistance for sponsors and organizers of civic engagement initiatives, offering issue-specific or general regional orientations, and/or developing training strategies and curricula for organizations that aspire to strengthen the civic engagement aspects of their work. It also partners with other organizations in order to strengthen and bridge the fields of deliberative democracy, community problem solving, racial justice, and the larger movement to strengthen democracy.
Click here to see a sample of Everyday Democracy's partnerships and initiatives.