People in conversation

About Us

We give people the means to strengthen relationships, deepen belonging, and renew hope in their communities.

Founded in 1989, Essential Partners helps people build relationships across differences to address their communities’ most pressing challenges.

Our proven approach helps people live, work, worship, and learn better together. Through richer, healthier, more inclusive dialogue, people strengthen relationships while gaining new insight into themselves and each other as well as the problems they face together. Since our founding in 1989, we have collaborated with a diverse array of partners, including more than

  • 350 college campuses
  • 140 workplaces and organizations
  • 400 local communities
  • 100 secondary schools

We have partnered with people across all 50 U.S. States plus Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico as well as 29 other countries, impacting the lives of more than 500,000 people each year.

At EP, we believe that the most urgent problems can only be addressed by people who live and work together every day. The strength of relationships rooted in trust and mutual understanding empowers people to address the most pressing challenges—from partisan polarization and political dysfunction to interfaith conflicts and abortion access—without compromising their deepest values or identities. We envision is a world of thriving communities strengthened by difference, connected by trust.

Essential Partners collaborates with civic groups, schools, faith communities, colleges, and organizations to build a culture of connection, a deeper sense of belonging, as well as mutual understanding and trust across differences of values, beliefs, and identities. We do this in several ways:

  • Training people in our trademark approach
  • Through long-term support, coaching, and mentorship
  • Initiatives to shift community or institutional cultures
  • Crafting new programs and resources with our clients
  • Facilitating dialogue around particularly explosive issues
  • Continuous research, evaluation, and innovation

Find out more about how we work as well as who we work with, or browse our impact stories for real-world examples of our work and its outcomes.

Ready to learn more about how we can help your neighborhood, campus, faith community, or workplace? Take the first step.

Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Honors & Awards

Community Peacemaker Award

Community Dispute Settlement Center, 2016

D’Alemberte Raven Award

American Bar Association section of Dispute Resolution, 2016

The President’s Award

The Southern California Mediation Association, 2006

Award for Innovative Contributions to Family Therapy

The American Family Therapy Academy, 1999

Eureka Mentor Award in Recognition of Dedication, Commitment, and Community Service

Eureka Bay Area Communities, 1999

Mary Parker Follett Award for Excellence and Innovation in Dispute Resolution

The Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, 1997

Bridge Alliance Member Badge