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The Institute for Everyday Democracy: Strengthening Collaborative Intelligence

In November of 2016, Pomegranate Center and I became reflective about our country’s fractured state and how our work and mission should evolve to address it. What came out of our conversations and planning is a natural extension of the work we’ve already been doing for thirty years: determining the best ways people can work together to improve our communities.

Since retiring from the role of Executive Director, I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time engaging with the Pomegranate community through thoughtful conversations, which have in turn inspired me to focus more on thinking and writing. I’ve been fortunate to spend the last three decades doing the hands-on work of collaborative community building with Pomegranate Center, and now I plan to take that experience and focus on the invisible work that is so critical for our world now, what I call the work of “everyday democracy.”

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A Challenge to our Community

At the start of 2017, longtime champions of the Pomegranate Center Ron and Eva Sher pledged a $25,000 challenge grant, and friend of Pomegranate Nancy Nordhoff followed suit with a pledged $37,000 challenge grant to support us in our critical transition period. That means we need to raise money from our supporters in order to match the $62,000 in pledged funding.

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Year-end Highlight: Highland Park Elementary

“I think that playgrounds should be renamed ‘research environments.’ This is what the children are doing so vigorously. They are not playing. They are finding out how the universe works.” – Buckminster Fuller, architect

 

In 2016, the Friends of Highland Park Elementary in West Seattle tasked Pomegranate Center to reimagine their asphalt playground into a place of nature, wonder, and exploration. More importantly, we were asked to convene a design process that involved the school’s community and students, recently ranked the second most diverse school of any age level in Washington State.

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Annual Fund Drive

“If we don’t do it right, people turn into cynics rather than participants.”

At a Pomegranate Center training, this is how Founder Milenko Matanovic describes why we need strong, inclusive civic engagement. Now more than ever, Pomegranate needs your investment. At a time when our country is fracturing along party lines, you can help us motivate individuals and communities to stand up and participate, rather than give up.

A donation to the Pomegranate Center will help us to inspire change and bring neighbors together.

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Post-election Reflection: How to do it Better Next Time

by Milenko Matanovic

I yearn for leaders who are collaborators.

In an election, I wait for one candidate to say to another, “That’s an interesting insight—I want to think about it.” Or “That is a different perspective—I never thought about that angle.” Or, “Maybe if we combine our ideas, we might do more good.”

Collaboration must become society’s norm. Why? Because we live in a complex world, yet we act as if someone’s individual expertise or ideology can provide all the answers. The present moment calls for “system leaders” who understand that we require each other’s insights to fully comprehend the needs of our society and its diverse peoples, as well as the entire planet we inhabit.

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