Giving Compass' Take:

• PACE Foundation shares five things it has learned about civic engagement and participation that will help advance democracy.  

• How can funders collaborate to promote civic engagement locally? 

• Read about how philanthropy can help address challenges with the 2020 Census.

PACE leads a community of foundations and funders committed to civic engagement and democratic practice. As you might imagine, we had a lot to talk about last year. We didn’t have all the answers when we started — and we still don’t — but we learned a lot along the way.

Here are 5 things that stood out to us:

  1. We need a new way to talk about civic engagement.
    Our field tends to be comfortable with elite, academic language and jargon that doesn’t often resonate beyond the scope of our field.
  2. There is promise in leading across divides.
    As institutions committed to civic engagement, acknowledging and understanding the social and political divisions we face is key, as is creating space for people to engage their full selves in their communities.
  3. Civic engagement isn’t “nice” — it’s necessary.
    One powerful and positive shift we’ve witnessed this year is an apparent paradigm shift among people and organizations who’ve realized that civics isn’t the nice, cute, optional thing we do alongside all our necessary work… it is the necessary work.
  4. We’ve got questions — a lot of them.
    The complexity of the issues we’re facing and ever-evolving dynamics around them may require us to lead with questions and resist forced binary answers.
  5. The moment is different, but it’s not new.
    With the urgency and frequency of the issues we face today, it’s easy to slip into a belief that we’re up against a spectrum of new and unprecedented problems, but most are probably not new.

At PACE, we believe there is a role for philanthropy to create avenues and pathways for people to participate in the right and responsibility that is self-governance — to harness a sense of purpose and belonging to our community and country, and we’re committed to the journey, every step of the way.

Read the full article about civic engagement by Kristen Cambell at Medium.