Last month, the Hewlett Foundation convened our Madison Initiative grantees and some of our philanthropic partners at a retreat center outside Washington D.C. to discuss the work we have in common, explore possibilities for collaboration, and build stronger relationships with one another.
This was the second time we’ve brought the group together and we came away impressed with everyone’s willingness to share their thinking and engage with colleagues that they don’t always see eye-to-eye with when it comes to politics. What they do share, of course, is a commitment to — and belief in the possibility of — getting beyond the polarization that’s stopping Congress from working the way it is supposed to: deliberating, negotiating, and compromising in ways that more Americans can support.
We also had a more selfish reason for bringing this group together. The Madison Initiative was launched in 2014 as a three-year $50 million effort, and we’re planning to bring our proposal for a renewal to our board in November. To prepare for that conversation, we wrote an update on our work to date and our plans for the future and circulated it to participants before the event. We got a great deal of valuable feedback on our thinking during our time together with our partners, and now we’d like to ask the same of you.
The memo we shared with them is now available on our website. Please excuse the formatting (or lack thereof). In the interests of transparency we’re sharing the same document with you that we shared with the group.
We welcome your thoughts on where we’re going and the lessons we’re drawing from the grants we’ve made so far. You can leave a comment below, or if you’d prefer to respond privately or at greater length, you can email me.
As I said in the introduction to the memo: “We look forward to constructive feedback from critical friends who can point out the blind spots and weak links in our emerging strategy.”
Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts with us.