Kindle Project and Cotyledon Fund are pleased to announce Crossing Divides, a pilot grantmaking program for groups in Arizona, Mississippi, and Nebraska who are attempting to resolve conflicts in their communities, across aisles and despite differences.
We know the storyline: that Americans are hopelessly divided, and conversation, let alone cooperation, is less and less possible because people don’t trust institutions or each other. The influence of social media and political partisanship only make matters worse.
But we think there is more to the story and more reason to hope. We believe there are people working in their communities to resolve critical conflicts and rebuild the trust necessary to work together through future challenges and upheaval. Some of this work might be new and innovative, and some of it might be so elegantly simple that it doesn’t get a lot of attention in the media. We want to support and learn from these efforts. Crossing Divides will provide small grants of up to $10,000 to community-based non-profits that are addressing conflict through person-to-person interaction.
Our hope is to better understand how people define conflict and the “other” or the “enemy,” and how they work toward deeper understanding and possible resolution. We also hope to learn how to support the most effective approaches so that more communities can cultivate more durable peace and resilience across the United States.
Are you part of a group that is doing this work? We’d like to know more. We are curious about, and open to, any approaches that people are experimenting with, which may include:
- Local media that cultivates different voices and helps people deconstruct their own biases and fears to come up with solutions;
- Artists or other culture-makers who bring together people in conflict to co-create something meaningful;
- Restorative justice, non-violent communication, conversation cafes, and trauma healing approaches;
- Healing divisions through spiritual practice or community (non-proselytizing);
- Working the land as a tool to bring people together;
- Growing, making, or sharing food to educate and bring disparate sides literally to the table.
However, these are just ideas. We invite you to share whatever you think will or may work in your community. We know that resolving conflict is a long, often non-linear process with a mix of setbacks and successes. We are interested in supporting efforts that fall anywhere on the spectrum—from people in conflict agreeing to start a conversation to groups that have built enough trust that they are creating a shared solution, or anywhere in between. Our main requirement is that the end goal be not just getting to know others but ultimately working together, even if the road to that goal is long.
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