Innovating for Democracy

Last week we welcomed Matt Leighninger as an addition to the National Civic League family. Matt will head our new Center for Democracy Innovation, creating models and measurement tools to strengthen democracy across the U.S. We’ve also added a new role for Rebecca Trout, our Director of the All-America Cities program, as Director of our Washington DC office.

Combining forces with Matt Leighninger is a home run for the National Civic League! Matt is a leader in the field of democracy and civic engagement, having authored or co-authored books like The Next Form of Democracy, and Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy, and worked with several of our partner organizations over the years, like Everyday Democracy, Public Agenda and the National Conference on Citizenship. Matt will be joined at the Center by Nick Vlahos and our Senior Director for Equity and Engagement, Benita Duran.

I’ve known Matt since I started at the League in 2015. At that time, he was the founder and director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, helping organizations working to advance civic engagement connect and collaborate. Matt had worked with the League in our strategic planning assistance to cities and counties, led by Derek Okubo, and written articles for the National Civic Review.

Matt has leveraged his many years of working with communities and other thought leaders to bring innovations to the field of civic engagement and equitable governance and will continue to lead in this direction. Some of the areas to be explored by the Center are civic measurement, civic tech and the use of social media, mapping democracy organizations, partnerships with academia, international innovation, the role of Congress in fostering democracy nationally and civic applications of artificial intelligence.

As the head of our Washington DC office and someone who’s been with the League for five years, Rebecca Trout will bring the National Civic League into national conversations about democracy and create new partnerships with other national organizations. Working with a new research and communications assistant, Rebecca will continue to lead our social media and communications programs and All-America Cities program, and work with Matt and the National Conference on Citizenship to host a conference this fall.

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