"Civility is a variation of the ‘Golden Rule’. It is being kind, courteous, polite, and avoiding overt rudeness. In community improvement it relates to higher-minded and self-sacrificing behavior. Civility is the "how" when it comes to building relationships."
-Jay Newman & Kent Roberts
The National Civility Center is a not-for-profit organization established in 2000 to help people make their communities better places to live. We believe that a comprehensive approach to community improvement - one that engages all local stakeholders around shared ideas and a unified plan for action - can help community members and organizations become more effective at solving tough social issues. We have authored a book Bring A Dish To Pass: The Civil Action of Community Improvement to be used in getting this dialogue started in your community. We also have available a case statement on the topic of involving the private sector in community improvement efforts.
The National Civility Center recognizes that healthy systems are dynamic systems and that most organizations/communities find themselves consistently in the middle of profound processes of change. We have observed, however, that some organizations/communities seem to manage change more effectively than do others. This leads us to ask, “What distinguishes the more successful from the less successful?”
Kent Roberts, Executive Director
Welcomes group to the national gathering at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum
We believe that highly successful, dynamic organizations/communities build their “Framework for Change” upon a firm foundation of High Quality Human Connections. These organizations/communities have discovered the importance of open, honest, insightful civil dialogue. It is the purpose of the National Civility Center to facilitate conversations within, among, and between a variety of different organizations so that the real power of the organization is unleashed and the most good can be accomplished.
We believe American citizens can provide a better quality of life within their communities. In addition, they can be more efficient and effective through a common approach. This approach will create a process for planned action. Efforts to formulate process are not new, but to our knowledge there has not been a proven process that can be easily replicated.
We believe our purpose is to act as a coordinator in development of the process. We will provide organizations and individuals the formulated process plan to improve communities. Every effort will be made to make this information on theories, practices, evaluations and systems applications broadly known.
We promote common sense discussion in a common language among people with a common purpose. This promotion creates what we call CommonUnity™.
The National Civility Center has the energy and passion to believe we can produce a process that can be effective in helping communities help themselves. We believe that when guidelines of process are followed positive change will take place within the community.
We seek to align with current efforts being made across the United States. We will encourage local and national leaders to share their ideas for sustainable comprehensive community building process. Process will be our product; enlisting the assistance of many to create, define and refine process will be our approach.
What Do We Do?
The National Civility Center:
- Promotes the building of High Quality Connections that allow organizations/communities to be more effective and efficient.
- Facilitates Civil Dialogue that is Affirmative and Purposeful
- Has Created an intentional process that has at its core learning, contextual thinking and the discipline to sustain efforts
- Has discovered that the Quality of the Human Connections within organizations/communities is directly related to its ability to create value.
Employ Lessons Learned
Board Members Martin Carver and Richard Maeglin
Speaking with Superintendent Beverly Geltner
Early Comprehensive Community Initiatives have provided a wealth of information which the Center uses to formulate strategies for helping communities be more successful. We want to use these experiences not so much as models for action but as a set of guiding concepts. These concepts include coordination, comprehensiveness, collaboration, and community participation and empowerment. We use these concepts to assist communities in the development of a wide range of organizational and programmatic strategies that promote positive community change.
- Facilitate Dialogue Gatherings
- To create a place where interested people gather to discuss and study theories/practices aimed at improving communities.
- Share and Disseminate Information
- To share and disseminate information surrounding the current best practices and other promising innovations in the field of improving communities.
- Encourage Field Testing
- To encourage field-testing of these theories/practices and to serve as a resource for interested individuals and communities.
- Connect People and Organizations
- To connect individuals, communities and organizations who have similar goals and passions in the field of community improvement.
- Promote Community Partnerships
- To promote the importance between, public, private and not-for-profit sectors of a community in seeking alignment and leveraging their resources to create a better community.
- Enhance Efforts for Improving Communities
- To enhance efforts by those seeking to make a positive difference and impact.
- Acquire the discipline needed for sustainable continuous improvement efforts.
- Promote Continuous Learning Across the Community
- Correlate continuous quality improvement with ongoing learning
- Learn how measurement can be used as a tool for learning.
- Creating Alignment
- Recognize signs of alignment and exercise the leveraging of a shared sense of purpose.
- Understand the connectedness of everything that is attempted