Citizenship and American Identity Program

The Citizenship and American Identity Program explores the question of what it means to be American, and how to promote a shared sense of national identity in an age of demographic flux and severe inequality.

We are living through a period of radical concentration of wealth and opportunity in the United States. This severe inequality undermines democracy and erodes the spirit of common cause, mutual responsibility, and reciprocity vital to a republic. In a centrifugal time when this country has never been more diverse and polarized and when its role in the world is rapidly shifting, the question of what it means to be American – and how we create a sustainable story of “us” – is of prime consequence.

The program encompasses a range of cross-partisan activity, from workshops and public forums to leadership convenings and seminar-style discussions. Across our forms of public engagement, we focus on three dimensions of citizenship: values, systems, and skills. The values segment focuses on articulating (and updating) an ethical and creedal framework for American civic identity. The systems segment includes policy proposals, cultural initiatives, and multi-sector collaborations to build social cohesion. The skills segment teaches leaders to construct coalitions and a sense of shared fate across increasingly rigid class and race divides.

Our work has been made possible by Allstate, the Bezos Family Foundation, the Civic Health Project, Democracy Fund, the Fetzer Institute, the New Pluralists Collaborative, and the Omidyar Network.