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About Paul J. Aicher

Portrait of Paul J. AicherThe Paul J. Aicher Foundation is a product of the creative energies, vision, and commitment of Paul J. Aicher. Mr. Aicher, who died in 2002, left the legacy of a powerful vision for a democracy that is alive with the participation and voice of all its people.

Mr. Aicher was a businessman and philanthropist who played a leading role in advancing the idea and practice of civic dialogue on critical social issues in the United States. Throughout his business career, Aicher was involved in community work that would later lead him to become a full-time philanthropist and national civic leader.

In 1982, Mr. Aicher sold his business and established the Topsfield Foundation, Inc., based in Pomfret, Conn., to enhance civic engagement and improve the quality of public life in the United States. His vision of respectful, inclusive, productive citizen dialogue as a regular practice of democracy led Aicher to create Everyday Democracy as the Study Circles Resource Center in 1989.

No one who knew Paul Aicher will forget his zest for life, for nature, for birds, for flying his airplane, for sparring about ideas, for creative achievement, for teasing, for caring for people, for his love for family and friends, and for his ability to reach out and take risks. But even those who never had the privilege of knowing him have been affected by his generosity and vision.

In 2004, the Board of Trustees changed the name of the Topsfield Foundation, Inc. to The Paul J. Aicher Foundation.

Everyone wants to live in a place where they have the chance to thrive. Check out some key stories of change from communities addressing poverty and building prosperity, as well as some resources...

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, the dialogue to change program can help community members take action and make their voice heard.