Sponsored Projects

Solving our most urgent problems together in community isn't just a matter of seeking out the right solutions. It's about having relationships of trust and understanding. It's about our capacity to communicate with compassion and resilience when our differences threaten to divide us. 

Disagreement is natural in community, and how we navigate it shapes the outcome of our stories. You can help write the next chapter of your community's story by sponsoring a project today.

Sponsored projects give donors and charitable institutions the opportunity to direct support toward a specific community or issue of special meaning to them. Below is a series of shovel-ready projects based on existing initiatives Essential Partners has taken into the field. 


Build capacity for dialogue facilitation and civic engagement in your state.

Since the 2016 election, Essential Partners has redoubled its focus on training leaders from communities across the United States in our approach to dialogue and civic engagement. Infrastructure and capacity for inclusive, connective discourse is a pronounced need at the local and regional levels of civic life. To address that need, we developed our civic engagement incubator model, which builds capacity for facilitative leadership at the local level, on a state-by-state basis, through training teams of community leaders in dialogue facilitation and focusing their practice on local conversations and action plans centered on real-world issues facing their communities. Click here to read more about civic engagement incubators. 

De-escalate the gun debate.

Communities across America are mired in divisive rhetoric about Second Amendment rights, gun control, public safety, and everything in between. A new kind of conversation about guns in American life is desperately needed - and we're ready to facilitate. Click here to learn about our project package, and here to read about the impact these projects have already made.

Bring better dialogue to your community.

Similar to our state-level civic engagement incubators, our community-level hubs for dialogue more narrowly focus on specific communities (towns, counties, campuses, etc.), cultivating local resources and skills for facilitating conversations on issues of significance to those communities. EP will partner with area leaders and organizations to identify the best people to carry this work forward, and then will intensively train and support them as they embark on their new role as local resources for community engagement. Click here to read more about developing a dialogue hub for your community; or click here to learn how a similar initiative in Gloucester, MA led to the formation of a successful dialogue hub!

Answer the call for dialogue in colleges and universities.

Whether the focus is leadership training for students, building dialogue clubs on campus, or talking about the realities of race and gender, Essential Partners is ready to help your campus come together for vital conversations about living together in diverse, intellectually-charged communities. Click here to read about our approach to campus conversations. You can also read about past work at Mount Holyoke, where we led a training on leadership for an intergenerational group of students and women from the community interested in civic engagement; or other higher education projects where we trained students as facilitators, helped launch dialogue clubs, and led campus-wide dialogues on issues such as transgender identity, sexuality, sexual assault, and diversity.

Support teambuilding across differences within an organization.

We've helped numerous faith-based organizations, nonprofits, and businesses work through dysfunctional communication patterns, and trained leaders to maximize creativity and collaboration.

Create resources for pastors to engage in a conversation about faith and science. 

Tensions between faith and science are threatening to tear the fabric of faith communities across the nation and the world. Click here to learn about our approach to the dilemma, or here to read about past work with Gordon College and the BioLogos Foundation, where Essential Partners facilitated a conference that offered pastors from evangelical churches the opportunity to learn from scientists, and to ask questions about science without jeopardizing their deepest convictions or alienating themselves from their spiritual communities.

Don't see a project that fits your community's needs? Share a new idea!

We realize each community comes with its own particular stories, challenges, and needs. If you don't see the type of project your community needs above, we hope you'll share your new idea with us. Our approach to dialogue, and the methods we use to build stronger relationships in community, can be customized to a wide range of possible circumstances and issues. Let's get started!

For more information about sponsoring a project, please contact Damien Lally at 617-923-1216, ext.23 or damien@whatisessential.org.