Our team has worked alongside more than 600 communities across 42 states on a wide range of issues including education, poverty, mental health, civic engagement, racism, youth and aging, immigration, and criminal justice reform. Our work has engaged thousands of individuals from Los Angeles, California to Lima, Ohio; from Decatur, Georgia to Albuquerque, New Mexico; from Syracuse, New York to West Palm Beach, Florida; and across our home state of Connecticut.
Businessman and philanthropist Paul J. Aicher founded Everyday Democracy in 1989 as the Study Circles Resource Center, which evolved over time to address the most pressing needs facing communities. In the early years, we focused on developing a more robust public dialogue, drawing on the ways people talk in their everyday lives. Over time, this expanded to community-wide dialogues, national conversations, and training for individuals and organizations. Along the way, we were challenged to examine the impact of systemic racism on communities, and, in turn, reflect on the depth of our dialogue and resulting community solutions. This compelled us to make racial equity a core tenet of our work.
Since then, we have continued to invest in place-based leaders by honing our approaches to leadership development. Repeatedly, we witnessed that local leaders are the drivers and authors of sustainable change. In the last several years, we have designed structured learning institutes and networks that build the capacity of local changemakers to organize and facilitate meaningful engagement processes in their communities.
Today, as we face unprecedented challenges to the cornerstones of our democracy, Everyday Democracy is poised to lean into providing everyday people with the tools and support needed to build an interdependent democracy for a more just society.