2018 Foreword: A Two-Way Path for Information and Engagement

Credit: NASA

So much about our lives, communities, and social compact is being re-envisioned — even more than we could have anticipated when originally releasing Infogagement four years ago. Yet here, in the intersection of information, technology, engagement, and public life, are seeds of current American upheaval. Today, trust in our democracy’s institutions is at an all-time low and our democracy is, by many metrics, struggling to thrive. Yet the new kinds of engagement explored in these pages also hold the promise of a democracy that more authentically reflects the realities and aspirations of the people our systems aim to serve.

This edition includes new, diverse perspectives from contributors across fields. In sharing it now, we hope to inform reflection on what brought us here and inspire further exploration of emerging areas of threat and potential.

Collaboration is necessary to address complex, changing issues. Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) is a hub of dialogue and network creation where funders come to learn, invest, and act together to strengthen civic engagement and democratic practice.

One encouraging theme of Infogagment is that the path between information and engagement is not one-way. Greater knowledge can spur people to action, which inspires a great deal of effort in organizations that seek to serve the public interest. Yet often, as we see here, it is a desire to act effectively and across boundaries that spurs a hunt for knowledge — whether from media, institutions, data, or the stories of our fellow people.

The changes examined here could lead us away from or closer to the ideals that animate America. Diverse, inclusive engagement, beginning with each of us, will be vital to our direction.

In the spirit of collective growth and innovation, we welcome reflections, feedback, and ideas to shape this vital work together.

Kristen Cambell

Executive Director

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement

Elizabeth Good Christopherson

President, Board of Directors

Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement

Infogagement

Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection

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Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE)

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A network of foundations and funders committed to civic engagement and democratic practice. Visit our publication at: medium.com/office-of-citizen

Infogagement

Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection