Civic Engagement Series on Democratic Capacity-Building

October 23, 2017

This blog series was released in tandem with the Building Civic Capacity in a Time of Democratic Crisis white paper. The paper outlines the central challenges and tensions in creating lasting civic capacity, as well as potential avenues for renewal and transformation. 

The paper was based on a convening at New America in Washington, D.C. and a series of ongoing conversations with organizers, policymakers, and scholars from around the country. Its central argument is that the crisis of our democracy is a much broader and deeper problem of inclusion and responsiveness.

The blog posts below feature the stories of workshop participants, as well as case studies. We're excited to share these original, curated stories from voices on the ground. 

Source: Shutterstock


Hollie Russon-Gilman wrote an introduction for the civic engagement blog, highlighting the importance of looking to local communities for innovations in engagement and governance. 

Source: Geoff Livingston / Flickr

Building Bridges from Both Sides

Ashley Trim wrote for the civic engagement blog about her work connecting government officials and civic innovations.


Case Study Highlight: Q&A with NYC’s Regina Schwartz

Regina Schwartz sat down for a Q&A about City of New York's Public Engagement Unit, a proactive outreach team utilizing a new model of civic engagement.

Source: Courtesy of the Participatory Budgeting Project

Imagining a New Democracy with Participatory Budgeting

Maria Hadden wrote for the civic engagement blog about her work on participatory budgeting in the city of Chicago. 

Source: Shutterstock

Building Resilient Communities: Cultivating Community & Collaboration in Baltimore

Rev. Kimberly Lagree wrote for the civic engagement blog about her work on cultivating community collaboration in Baltimore.

Source: a katz /

Volunteering as Civic Engagement at Home and Abroad

Elena Souris wrote about the need to expand our definitions of civic engagement to include national volunteer programs.

Source: Erika J Mitchell /

Building Communities, Building Capacity: Deliberation as Innovation in Civic Engagement

Christian Hosam concludes our capsule series by explaining the importance of these civic engagement practices