This year, with the theme It’s YOUR Democracy, our conference will bring together activists and reformers, stalwarts and newcomers, leaders and followers, bystanders now taking action, and people who are talking and listening closely for the pulse of our Civic Life. Our goal is to inspire, engage, and inform. We seek to give conference participants a unique opportunity to build new relationships and connect to new networks.

We hope you will join us and bring Your Democracy with you!

Over two jam-packed days, we will be learning from and inspired by a remarkable array of active citizens working to renew and refresh our democratic practices, our democratic structures, our democratic culture, our democratic beliefs, and our democratic hopes for the future of our country. We’ll be recognizing outstanding citizens, veterans, and civic innovators both at the community, municipal, and national levels. We will consider the state of the art across a variety of democratic initiatives and political reforms. We will be hearing from partners who are turning their Civic Health Index Reports into launching pads for civic renewal in their communities.

Conference Agenda – October 17 – 18th, 2018  |  Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC 

Day 1 – October 17

Preconference Session – 8 am to 4:30 pm: Bridge Alliance Summit, all day

Bridge Alliance Education Fund is hosting an invitation-only summit to Design a Coordinated National Strategy for Healthy Self-Governance. Invitees include many representatives in the democracy-strengthening field, including members of the Bridge Alliance, foundations, journalists, researchers and more.

Space is limited. If you have received an invitation, please register today and if you have not and would like to attend, kindly send an email to Katie Page ([email protected]) advising of your organizational affiliation and should space be available Katie will advise on or before September 15.

Preconference Session – 12pm to 4pm: Civic Health Index Partners Workshop, afternoon.

This CHI Workgroup is an invite-only special convening of a small group comprised of current, past and prospective CHI partners. The goal of this meeting is for partners to share the impact their Civic Health Index has made in the community by implementing the recommendations presented in the report, and by pushing beyond them.  This will be a peer-to-peer networking opportunity for prospective partners to learn more about how our CHI partners are moving from discussion to action. For more information contact Lisa Matthews, Program Director, at [email protected].

5 pm – Opening Reception

6 pm – Dinner Program – It’s Your Democracy! begins

Session 1: HOOAH Award Ceremony for Outstanding Post-military Service by a Veteran.

The HOOAH Award is to honor amazing patriots who are empowering the next generation of military veterans to continue to serve beyond their time in uniform. Recipients of the HOOAH Award include the Honorable Tulsi Gabbard, General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal, Chris Marvin, Eric Hilleman, and Derek Blumke.

Session 2: Keynote Speakers James and Deborah Fallows

James and Deborah Fallows will share reflections from their recent bestselling book, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America, including local stories and voices from around the country that truly deserve a larger audience. They write that, “despite the economic crisis of the preceding decade and the social tensions of which every American is aware, most parts of the United States that we visited have been doing better, in most ways, than most Americans realize.” Their ongoing project, #ThisIsMyTown, demonstrates across widely varying people and places an encouragingly consistent sense that our fellow citizens fervently believe that it is, in fact, their democracy.

Day 2   October 18

7:30 am – Breakfast

Session 3:  To Be a Citizen

Author Anne Snyder reports on her research and forth-coming book, The Fabric of Character: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Renewing Our Social and Moral Landscape.

Session 4: Youth Civic Engagement

High School Students and Teachers from the District of Columbia and Alabama report on efforts to lower the voting age to 16, to increase school funding, and to make civics come alive inside and outside the classroom.

Session 5: Panel Reflections on the Roots of Citizenship

Networking Break

Session 6Money in Politics:  Campaign Finance Reform at the Local Level

A Case Study of Citizens in Action from St. Petersburg, FL

Session 7The Civvys: American Civic Collaboration Awards

Civvys seek a range of projects, programs, and people that use civic collaboration best practices to achieve real results in facilitating dialogue, enabling cross-partisan action, or putting civility and community above ideology.

              The Civvys will be awarded in four categories:

National: These projects are nationwide in scope and audience.

Local: These projects are designed to serve a local, state or regional community.

Youth: These projects have a focus on children, teenagers or young adults.

Political: This category celebrates collaborative political leadership, problem solving and campaigns.

Networking Break

12:30 pm – Lunch & Session 8:  The Joseph H. Kanter Citizen of the Year Award Ceremony

The Citizen of the Year Award is named in honor of NCoC’s long-time chairman, Joseph H. Kanter. It aims to recognize the extraordinary contributions of an individual in furthering the cause of civic engagement and democratic practice.

Previous recipients include David Rubenstein, Jack Miller, Steve and Jean Case, and Rick Stengel. 

Session 9:  A Shark Tank for Civic Entrepreneurs

How to fix our Democracy? Hear how eight different leaders argue why their approach gives us the best chance.

Session 10: Democracy Rx: Civic Health Partners

See how partners are going beyond the Index to transform their communities.

Session 11A National Strategy for Civic Renewal

 Report From the Bridge Alliance Summit

5 pm – Conference Concludes

Room Reservations

NCoC has coordinated a room block at the Marriott Marquis for $289 per night. There are a limited number of rooms available at this set price so please make your room reservations promptly.  To book rooms at the conference rate please follow this link.  Select “attendee” in the guest type drop box when prompted and follow the path to select your dates of stay.  When the room block is full, reservations will be on a space- and rate- available basis only. To read about hotel cancellation and substitution policies, click here.

Contact Us:

Further information regarding the conference agenda will be forthcoming. If you have any questions before then, please reach out to [email protected].

We look forward to your participation in October!


To return the main Conference page, click here.

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