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Turn a Spark Into a Flame

The first steps to turn an initial idea into a real project

By Katya Matanovic

I am surrounded by people with good ideas. Perhaps it’s living in Seattle, a hub for nonprofits and foundations; or maybe it’s being of the Xennial generation (it’s really a thing); or it could be the speed and access to information every minute of every day. I’m not sure what it is. But a lot of my casual conversations with friends eventually meander to “I’ve got this idea…”

When the ideas are about their neighborhood or getting people together, I pay special attention because, well, it’s my job. Sometimes the ideas are big and loose and abstract – “I’ve been thinking about a connection between food and talking about racism,” – and sometimes the ideas are much more digested.

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Project Update: Delridge Wetlands

A wetland is a habitat of rich biodiversity. A neighborhood is a habitat of rich cultural diversity. What happens when a neighborhood has the opportunity to restore a wetland and integrate it into the surrounding community? Pomegranate Center has been working to discover that answer all year through our collaboration with the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA) on the Delridge Wetlands.

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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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