Building a Big Tent for Democracy

Posted on July 8, 2015

Help build a big tent for a 21st century democracy

By Lawrence Grodeska, CivicMakers – Blog, LinkedIn and Twitter
11036338_1423963757913803_659759271857146895_oDo you see it? Technology is finally starting to deliver on its potential to transform our political institutions. From civic engagement platforms like Nextdoor and Neighborland, to the spread of participatory budgeting programs from New York City to Vallejo, California, I can see a new movement for a 21st century democracy sprouting up all around us.
I started CivicMakers to support this new civic tech movement by connecting passionate citizens who are building a better democracy in our communities, workplaces and political institutions. In one year, we’ve hosted ten events for nearly 1,500 agency staff, entrepreneurs and community organizers from San Francisco to New York City. The incredible passion and impact that groups like ELGL are having in their communities is hard to miss. But an important question remains–how do we share our passion and expertise with those outside of the civic tech ecosystem?
The time is now to build a “big tent for democracy”–a strong, broad-yet-deep community of citizens of all stripes and vocations who are dedicated to delivering on the promise of democracy. We are erecting the scaffolding for this tent. We envision a platform that meets your need for finding the right civic tech solutions and project implementation guidance by connecting you with your peers–innovative agency staff, as well as nonprofits, community organizers and citizen activists. This knowledge base will support citizens who are creating, implementing, and reporting back on their experiments in building a better democracy everywhere.
11667354_824620477623516_3091819560993017994_nSound cool? We think so, but we want to hear from you. We’ve posted a survey that will only take 5-7 minutes to complete. Help us identify the missing gaps in how agency staff discover and successfully implement civic technology tools, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card.
This conversation has just begun, and we’d love to hear from you. If you are in the Bay Area, join CivicMakers, ELGL, and IAP2 for a Summertime Civic Mixer happy hour at The Hall in downtown San Francisco on Thursday, July 16th. Let’s geek out on democracy together!

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