From Divisions to Breakthroughs

We help communities create common ground solutions on tough public issues and expand what's politically possible.

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Our mission is to renew our systems of governance so Americans can go beyond politics as usual and create better futures on our biggest challenges.

Representatives from the Michigan Citizens' Panel on COVID, selected by democratic lottery, that developed policies to move the state forward.

The American Public Trust is a non-partisan non-profit institution that supports cities, counties, and states in applying participatory, deliberative, and digital democracy methods to meet the challenges that matter most in their backyards.

These community-centered approaches go beyond typical politics to consider all involved, bridge divides, and create shared agendas for broad benefit.

We believe that by elevating the wisdom of everyday citizens and bringing new voices to public decision-making, communities can move forward together.
Updates From the Field
How A Citizen Assembly Helped Resolve A Tough Public Issue w/ City Manager Flynn

Insights and learnings from the largest  municipal US citizens' assembly to date

A New Kind of Town Hall for Divisive Issues

Hear from residents that attended a "Community Exchange" on a polarizing community challenge

Brief: Public Engagement with, Democratic Lotteries, and Plural Voting

A new engagement model designed for the State of Colorado in collaboration with RadicalxChange


Citizens' Assemblies Create Practical Common Ground

When everyday people are given good conditions to hear each other and weigh all options, they can resolve intractable issues and help repair the social fabric in a community.

See it in Action: The Power of Community-led Democracy

New approaches are increasingly called for as an antidote to the challenges facing democracy at all levels

A Practice Drawing on Indigenous and Ancient Roots

From the governance methods of the original Americans to those of Greek democracy, there is a deep history of dialogue and deliberation resolving complex issues and creating transformative common ground.

Resolve Contested
Create Equal &
Equitable Voice
Activate Civic

Current Initiatives

Advancing Deliberative Democracy in the US
Public Advocacy, Education,
& Storytelling
Practitioner Field Building

Learn About Leading Democratic Innovations that can 'Unstuck' Even
the Most Polarizing Challenges

We host events, webinars, and trainings for public agency, government, and foundation leaders seeking to create more effective change on their most intractable issues.

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© 2024 The American Public Trust
The American Public Trust does not support or oppose candidates for public office or political parties.
We are a fiscally sponsored program of Commonweal, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.