Pomegranate Center

Alas, Pomegranate Center, the nonprofit, has moved to the great beyond. Pomegranate Associates, LLC will carry on the work. Read more


“Like its author, this handbook is insightful, wise, provocative, and practical. If even a small fraction of public meetings were to apply the principles described in these pages, the ripple effects in civic life would be tremendous: dysfunction would turn into creation, resentment into responsibility, helplessness into power. Read Milenko’s book and put it to use.” —Eric Liu, CEO of Citizen University and author of Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy

The Case for Everyday Democracy: Turning Community Meetings into Engines for Collaboration - Milenko Matanovič

Every day there are thousands of community meetings taking place throughout the country where we, the people, shape decisions for the future. This handbook offers guidance and inspiration for turning those meetings into productive, meaningful and even joyful events that strengthen our everyday democracy.

Order The Case For Everyday Democracy today


Advance Praise

“At a time when communication seems to value shouting rather than listening, inflexibility rather than respect, it’s refreshing to see a blueprint for civic engagement that encourages everyone to speak up and everyone to listen. In this short but profound essay, Milenko provides coaching for citizens and community leaders alike that can transform input into meaningful action. A must-read for anyone involved in local government.” —Representative Kate Webb, Vermont House of Representatives, Chair, House Education Committee

“In clear, lucid writing Milenko draws on thirty years of work with scores of organizations and communities to establish bonds of trust and understanding- all to weave individuals into groups and community. This powerful cogent piece shows the positive effects of social capital; the ways that people in relationships can reach goals that would have been far beyond the grasp of individuals in isolation.” — Lewis Feldstein, Co-Chair of The Saguaro Seminar, co-author with Robert Putman of ‘Better Together.’

“As a lifelong community activist, I have sat through hundreds of civic and volunteer meetings — many successful, many not — and all would have benefited from Milenko’s “ground rules for collaboration.” Through simple but inspiring examples, he celebrates the many ways a potentially contentious meeting can become an example of “everyday democracy” in which everyone feels they had input and achieved something special, rather than simply winning or losing a battle. Anyone who bemoans the future of democracy need only look around your neighborhood: it starts close to home, with you. Use these guidelines to make your community a more functional but also a beautiful place for all.” —Deborah Szekely, U.S. Diplomat, Co-Founder of Rancho La Puerto and Founder of The Golden Door

“At a time when so many of our larger governing institutions seem to be sinking into deepening dysfunction, Milenko Matanovic brings his decades of wise and creative experience to bear in an inspiring and highly readable handbook for the kind of democracy we can all practice.” —Daniel Kemmis, former mayor of Missoula, Montana, speaker and minority leader of the Montana House of Representatives, and author of Community and the Politics of Place

“Combining terrific personal stories and easy-to-follow skills outlines, Matanovic has written an extremely useful handbook for engaged residents and local government leaders alike. To rebuild the trust between the public and our governing institutions demands understanding the hard trade-offs inherent in many local policy decisions, and this guide provides invaluable instruction on how to improve our public meetings.” —Pete Peterson, Dean & Sr. Fellow, Pepperdine School of Public Policy

“The most powerful form of community involvement starts with the expression of respect and understanding. It is followed by the creation and nurturing of trusting relationships. This is not easy. Trust must be earned. Milenko Matanovic gives us the gift of his years of experience and his approach to civic participation that leads us to a deeper understanding of what it means to call ourselves an active member of a community.” —Mark Okazaki, Executive Director, Neighborhood House – Seattle, Washington

“Many years ago, I saw this quote on the wall of a school in Columbus, Ohio, and I retained it through the years: Education and Morality constitute the Majesty and Force of Free Government. It describes the attributes of a great society. Milenko’s booklet is an inspired and intelligent tool for its pursuit.” —Elliott Gould, actor

“Milenko Matanovic blends the political with the deeply personal is his latest work, the culmination of a career devoted to envisioning a better way and then empowering that vision in the hands of his countrymen, neighbors, and the communities he serves. ‘Everyday Democracy’ is essential for balancing inclusiveness and decisiveness, the organizer’s two primary building blocks to success, and a challenge that only the likes of Matanovic can tackle.” —Ian Martinez, UpZones podcast

“We evaluate societies by how individuals accept others. Are others an obstacle against my personal wellbeing or do we create common wellbeing? In the first case, we create a society of alienated individuals, great inequality and poverty, unhappy citizens and lots of criminal activities. In the second case, people cooperate across differences, they fragment less, and experience higher satisfaction where everyone can contribute according to their ability and knowledge. Because contributions are welcome, people are more likely to be engaged. This small booklet with big ideas offers excellent examples of how we can improve our society and increase people’s happiness.” —Matjaž Hanžek, Steward for Human Rights, Slovenia

“In New Zealand we have been brutally reminded of the danger of our communities being separated in bubbles of like-minded people. Bringing people with diverse ideas together and helping them shape a shared vision takes skill and talent, but is so important. Milenko has generously shared 30 years of practice in ‘fierce facilitation’ which provides us with principles and tools to grow a better future – meeting by meeting. We value the experience of the Pomegranate Centre and will encourage staff to make use of this great resource.” —Karen Johns, Specialist Advisor, Auckland Council