National Council of Churches
In 1995, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA launched a project it described as a “civic space” to encourage citizen participation in New York City issues. A partnership of grassroots clergy, policy analysts, academic researchers, activists, and seminarians from diverse religious traditions, the project aimed to encourage discourse exploring solutions that would be to the common good, opportunities for new partnerships amongst participants, and a model that could eventually be exported to other cities. The National Council had been a longtime RBF grantee, with almost $1 million in grants since 1951 for ecumenical projects including refugee services and international hunger relief. The Civic Conversation now advanced the Fund’s New York City program goals promoting inclusive public discourse and community engagement. The National Council was uniquely positioned to secure esteemed locations throughout the city for these dialogues and to convene leaders of trusted institutions.