Can national organizations serve local communities? That's the question driving our newest initiative, New America DC.
New America DC is a research program that works with communities across Washington, DC to map our local civic life and evaluate what role (if any) outside actors can play in supporting our ecosystem. Our goal is to capture not just the organizations working on DC's public issues and interests, but the everyday actions, relationships, and places residents themselves engage in -- the stuff that makes DC's communities, well...communities.
At a time when many powerful national-facing institutions are taking on community-focused work based on their own agendas, we think it is essential to experiment in models of local engagement that prioritize context -- models that begin by listening.