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Everyday Democracy Building Nationwide Anchor Partner Network- New Partners in Montana and Ohio

March 21, 2018

HARTFORD, CT – Everyday Democracy, a national organization leading in the field of dialogue and deliberation to promote a stronger, more equitable democracy, is pleased to announce its 5th and 6th “Anchor Partners”– Project Ujima, based in Akron, Ohio, and Montana State University Extension’s Community Development arm in Bozeman, Montana.

Anchor Partners are leaders in addressing structural racism, engaging all different kinds of people in public dialogue, and linking dialogue to action and positive change. They are selected for their effective work and dedication to shared principles.

“With the addition of these two new Anchor Partners, there are now six Everyday Democracy anchors in various regions of the country,” said Martha McCoy, Everyday Democracy’s Executive Director.  “We are excited at the ways these partners are building and sustaining civic infrastructure in their states and regions. Everyday Democracy supports anchor partners as they support communities in their region with training and coaching. Working together, we can expand, diversify and nurture leadership for participatory democracy with a racial equity lens. Our ultimate aim is to develop and work with anchor partners in every part of the U.S., to strengthen the movement for participatory, equitable democracy.”

Everyday Democracy first worked with the team at Montana State University’s Extension from 2003 - 2010 working with the Northwest Area Foundation and the Horizons project with the goal of helping rural municipal and tribal communities take on the issues of poverty through leadership training, community organizing and assisting in Dialogue to Change programs. Everyday Democracy first worked with Project Ujima beginning in 2015 to address the racial gap in infant mortality.  The new Anchor Partnership agreements will both strengthen the work being done in these communities through technical assistance and capacity building as well as provide value for the entire Everyday Democracy Anchor Partner network through the ongoing sharing of best practices and lessons learned.

The Ohio and Montana “anchors” join a distinguished list of Anchor Partners that are making a difference in their respective regions: New Hampshire Listens, NHListens.org; West Virginia Center for Civic Life, wvcivivlife.org; InterFaith Works of Central NY, interfaithworkscny.org/; and Housing Partnership of West Palm Beach, Florida.

“We are honored to partner with Everyday Democracy and the other anchor partners in the work of empowering citizens and strengthening communities.   This partnership will enhance Project Ujima’s capacity to become a sustainable grassroots organization in Akron, dedicated to helping those most in need discover their power to be a voice and force for change.”

Crystal Jones, Executive Director, Project Ujima.

“I’m excited to be representing Montana State University Community Development and work with Everyday Democracy on this collaborative effort.  Since our time working together many years ago on the Horizons program, I have looked forward to opportunities to work cooperatively, share resources, and partner to accomplish our mutual goals.  From our many native communities, to the rural towns across the state, to our fast growing cities, Montana is fortunate to be an anchor partner with our friends at Everyday Democracy.”  

Paul LaChapelle – Community Development Specialist Montana State University Extension

Valeriano Ramos, Director of Strategic Alliances at Everyday Democracy, who implements the anchor partnership strategy, explains: “Anchor partners help build a civic infrastructure for equitable, democratic change in our country. We learn from them and they learn from us and each other about ways to strengthen our toolkits and practices to support authentic community participation for local problem-solving and decision-making.”

If you know of an organization or institution that may be interested in becoming an Everyday Democracy Anchor Partner, contact Valeriano Ramos at: vramos@everyday-democracy.org or call 860-727-5917.

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and we believe that our tools, advice, and resources will help foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.