Project for Civic Health

About the Project for Civic Health

Almost daily, we see the challenges from the breakdown in civic dialogue — in the news, in community meetings, in national politics. Yet at the same time, people are also acting to counter divisiveness, develop community solutions to shared challenges, and improve dialogue across differences.  

Concerned by the increasingly common dysfunction in governance at state legislatures around the country, Denny Heck, Lieutenant Governor of Washington State, reached out to leaders at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, University of Washington, and Washington State University. Together, we realized civic health demanded our collective attention. The Project for Civic Health was born. 

The Office of the Lt. Governor began by convening roundtables in five Washington counties with elected officials and community leaders. Small groups gathered to talk more about the state of civic health, and, in the course of doing so, reminded each other of how much we have in common.The roundtable conversations have been distilled into a report, Common Ground for the Common Good, which formed the basis of the Summit.

The Summit | October 19, 2023

The Summit started where the roundtable conversations left off. On October 19, community and political leaders from across Washington gathered to think through how to uncover shared objectives and build more robust ways to strengthen our abilities to debate, discuss, and develop better solutions to what confronts us.  

Attendees discovered an uncommon opportunity to engage in conversations that matter about the future of Washington’s civic health.

Program Highlights

Over the course of the day, participants spoke with others holding different points of view about the current state of affairs, and engaged in small group discussions around forming potential solutions and translating those ideas into concrete action steps to strengthen Washington’s civic health. This Newsletter captures the day’s highlights.  

Featured Changemakers

Mónica Guzmán – bridge builder, journalist, and author who lives for great conversations sparked by curious questions – opened by identifying some of the contributing factors to our divisions. She then led a discussion between five leaders from across the state who kicked off the day of action and insight by offering their own remarks. See a recording of TVW’s live stream here: Civic Health Project Summit.

Step in. Step up. And become part of the solution to one of the most essential issues of this time.  

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Project for Civic Health Partners

State of Washington Lieutenant Governor
UW Evans School
Henry M. Jackson Foundation
The William D. Ruckelshaus Center