Four Key Innovations in Citizen engagement

A PublicForum Webinar

Tuesday, 10 November 2009, 14:00 Eastern/19:00 GMT (90 minutes)
Free. A Circle Club members-only event.*

Presented by PACE: Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, National Civic League, and PublicDecisions

Local governments today are mobilizing citizens in innovative ways to set priorities, make decisions, resolve conflicts and solve critical community problems.

While many of these instances are driven by fiscal realities, these innovations are opening the door to new ways of thinking about how local governments fulfill short- and long-term community goals.

Based on research sponsored by PACE, this PublicForum webinar will focus on the four key innovations that are changing how communities plan and make decisions today:

  1. Experiments that equalize engagement across the citizenry as part of ensuring diverse voices are heard, rather than providing a platform for "professional citizens" alone
  2. New programs that resolve long-standing problems and address pressing neighborhood needs, by leveraging community assets and knowledge
  3. Temporary planning and decision-making forums that go beyond community meetings and public hearings, as part of building support for difficult decisions
  4. Government-citizen efforts that harness technology for gathering real-time data, for program decision making and day-to-day program management

In this 90-minute webinar, NCL's Mike McGrath will briefly present findings from the recent PACE report and then lead a discussion with panelists Amalia Alarcón de Morris, Derek Okubo and Ed Everett about current innovations in engagement practice at the local government level. You'll hear key 'lessons learned' and gain tips for implementing similar initiatives in your own community. Bring your questions and join us for this insightful discussion!

Guest Panelists

  • Amalia Alarcón de Morris, Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, City of Portland, Oregon. Amalia has 25 years of experience in cross-cultural community building with an emphasis on intercultural communication, organizational development and strategic planning. She has extensive experience working with Latino, African American, American Indian, and Asian and Pacific Islander as well as gay, lesbian, bi- and transgender and disability leadership in both mono- and multi-cultural settings. Her programs include initiatives intended to promote shared governance while integrating the City's civic engagement system. Her programs have been receiving national attention recently, being featured in the New York Times and on National Public Radio. Amalia's work continually teaches her that integration, whether at the national, local or corporate level is a two-way street and can succeed only where there is willingness to power-share, as well as true leadership development and mentoring involving both those who are new to a system and those who manage it.
  • Derek Okubo, Vice President of the National Civic League. Derek has delivered extensive technical assistance for local and state governments, school districts and communities in areas that include long-range planning, economic development, conflict resolution, apprenticeships, diversity, program development, collaborative problem-solving, consensus building, substance abuse prevention and health care. Derek has been a part of nearly 40 community planning processes around the country. Derek was the primary author of the documents Governance and Diversity: Findings from Los Angeles, Governance and Diversity: Findings from Oakland, and The Community Visioning and Strategic Planning Handbook. He managed the process to develop the revised version of the Civic Index - a self assessment tool for communities to measure their civic infrastructure. He is also actively involved in the eighth revision of the Model City Charter.
  • Ed Everett, former City Manager, Redwood City, California. Ed also served as city manager of Belmont, California; assistant county manager for Washoe County, Nevada; and program analyst/fire chief for the City of Palo Alto, California. He has a degree in economics from U.C. Davis and a graduate degree in urban affairs from Princeton University. He also served several years as a VISTA volunteer. Before retiring in 2007, he oversaw what some have called the "renaissance of Redwood City," focusing on community building and citizen engagement.

Moderated by Mike McGrath, Senior Editor at the National Civic League.

Read more in the New Laboratories for Democracy report.

About PACE/Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement

PACE is a learning community of grantmakers and donors committed to strengthening democracy by using the power, influence and resources of philanthropy to open pathways to democratic participation. PACE's mission is to work within the field of philanthropy to inspire interest, understanding and investment in civic engagement, broadly defined. It was created to take a broad approach to educating grantmakers about effective civic engagement strategies that strengthen communities and improve our democratic practice.

About the National Civic League

The National Civic League (NCL) is America's original advocate for community democracy. It is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization dedicated to strengthening citizen democracy by transforming democratic institutions. NCL fosters innovative community building and political reform, assists local governments, and recognizes collaborative community achievement. NCL accomplishes its mission through technical assistance, training, publishing, research, and the All-America City Awards, America 's original and most prestigious community recognition program.

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