About John Spady

[John's bio] The National Dialogue Network seeks to coordinate collaborative local conversations into mindful national dialogues. Why? “Because we’re all in this together!” Our message line: 800-369-2342 www.ncdd.org/10940

Forum Foundation Announces Micro-Grant Awardees


Updated: January 30, 2017

The Forum Foundation, in cooperation with the National Dialogue Network, has completed its review of four applications and has awarded a total of $20,000 to the following organizations who agree to collaborate and incorporate the versatile Opinionnaire® Survey and Fast Forum® Reports into their public projects beginning in 2017. All organizations agreed to become members of NCDD; chose to repeat their projects during 2017 and 2018 to receive additional funding; and to apply to present their public results at the next NCDD conference in 2018.

Larger forum-foundation-ff-logo

The following organization received awards:

  1. The Interactivity Foundation
  2. The Linner Foundation
  3. The Listening Corps
  4. The Russian-American Education Forum: An Online Journal

(more information will be provided shortly)


Poverty and Wealth in America – final report published by the National Dialogue Network


The culminating results and insights from the National Dialogue Network (NDN) about its 2013 inaugural national conversation on Poverty and Wealth in America were presented during the NCDD conference in Reston, VA, October 17-19, 2014.

A PDF copy of that report is available through this link.

Thank you again to all the people that helped make the National Dialogue Network, and its inaugural effort, a success. Your names are documented on the cover page of the referenced report.

And just to document again how the NDN came to be, I wanted to leave this trail of links to previous posts about the idea (see below)… creating a national scale infrastructure, that is decentralized and collaborative, and that can help the most locally focused groups of people, organizations, and institutions, better engage their natural scale of constituents or members about issues important to themselves. AND THEN taking locally developed materials and inserting a national scale “Opinionnaire® Survey”, packaging it all up, and distributing it all to anyone else, ANYWHERE ELSE, that wants to engage their (other) constituents and community members in a similar conversation.
Contact me if you want to unpack this last paragraph further.




If you have other thoughts about any of this, please either leave a comment below or contact me privately. I continue to refine the tools and infrastructure of the National Dialogue Network… this is all available without charge to NCDD members. Please let me know how I can help you do something similar with your community — big or small —
“Because We Are All In This Together!”


Constitutional Amendment on Campaign Finance Reform?


Check out http://ndn.codigital.com to learn about a new project from the National Dialogue Network!

The National Dialogue Network recently used a form of “crowdsourcing” from Codigital.com to solicit ideas from as many people as possible about whether or not a constitutional amendment is necessary to either limit or protect current practices of election campaign spending.

The purpose of this project is to solicit statements from all sides, edit and rank them using Codigital, and create a summary of the results for delivery to the Senate Judiciary Committee which, in June, is debating the value of a constitutional amendment limiting campaign spending.

Results after July 3 will be repackaged to create materials for local public review, public engagement, and national feedback. NDN wants our political representatives to understand the opinions and values of those who care deeply about this issue — from all sides.

This is the same general process successfully used recently by the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD). Their experience with the process can be reviewed at this link.

Thanks for checking us out — again: http://ndn.codigital.com


Peace Education Center in Lansing, Michigan, holds community dialogues on Poverty and Wealth in April


An exciting message from Terry Link in Lansing, Michigan, describes upcoming community events at Michigan State University (on April 4) and Lansing Community College (on April 9) that are organized by the Peace Education Center and co-sponsored by big name community supporters.

Hello John,
Just wanted to let you know that we finally have all the pieces aligned to run the NDN program on Poverty and Wealth here in Lansing, MI. We have two sessions organized – the first at MSU for the larger campus community , nearly 60,000 potential participants, although we’ll be happy with any more than 50. The second to be held at the local community college on downtown Lansing. The local Peace Education Center is the organizing force for both (I am a board member) but as you will see from the flyers we’ve solicited co-sponsorship from different entities for each event.

We hope to have the surveys completed and will find volunteers to submit them online back to NDN. We will also be doing an interview in advance of the events on our public radio station’s public affairs show at a date yet to be determined. I will keep you both posted as we move ahead. I will be travelling March 13-27, so you likely won’t hear anything further back from me until I return. Below is the note I sent out to campus sponsors this morning. For more info see the website www.peaceedcenter.org

All good things,
Terry Link

The problem of an ever expanding disparity between the “have’s” and the “have-not’s” has become the issue of the day.

Please join us in a respectful conversation about a problem that affects us all. We will use a process and materials designed by the National Dialogue Network, funded by a grant from the National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation. Seated in small groups, we will listen to each other’s perspectives to further our own understanding of the concerns and possibilities surrounding this important issue.
There will be two sessions, one for the Michigan State University (MSU) community and a second one for the larger Lansing community.

MSU Session, APRIL 4, 3–5 PM, MSU Main Library, North Conference Room, 4th Floor West. This event co-sponsored College of Communication Arts and Sciences, College of Social Science, Residential College of Arts and Humanities, Peace and Justice Studies program, Philosophy, and the Peace Education Center of Greater Lansing.

Seating is limited so reserve a seat please send your name and email to: hesslin2@msu.edu. The event flyer can be downloaded here.

Greater Lansing Community Session, APRIL 9, 7-9 PM, Lansing Community College, Administration Building Board Room. This event is hosted by Lansing Community College and sponsored by the Peace Education Center, Michigan League for Public Policy, Capital Area District Library, Power of We Consortium, Justice & Peace Task Force at Edgewood United Church, League of Women Voters – Lansing Area, Red Cedar Friends Meeting, and Common Cause of Michigan. Seating is limited, so to reserve a seat please send your name and email to: pec.comments@gmail.com. The event flyer can be downloaded here.


Continuing the conversation on Poverty and Wealth


Maurice Ward at the Department of Social and Health Services in Washington State, has provided a detailed response to a comment about his previous post on “Poverty and Crime.”
One quote from Maurice:

In my personal life I can tell you that almost every single African-American and Latino youth that I have ever met are born with nearly half of the precursors and held responsible on day one for the environment they cannot afford to escape. I don’t suggest we buy every one of them a father, a home, a low drug use neighborhood, or parents who stay married, but I would suggest providing equitable opportunities to all youth in all communities.

Please follow this link to read the original article and add your own thoughts: http://www.nationaldialoguenetwork.org/poverty-and-crime/#comment-1272


The 2013 NDN public analysis phase begins


Submitted by John Spady: The 2013 National Dialogue Network (NDN) process has now entered “Cycle 4” of a five cycle process where our volunteer working group releases a preliminary graphic report of all responses received as of November 23, 2013 along with the underlying Excel spreadsheet used to create it.

Focusing on Cycle 4

(click to enlarge)

During this phase, the general public is strongly urged to help intrepret the results and submit any and all insights to the working group for review and inclusion in the final summary report that is due before the end of 2013.

I am asking readers of this post to make a small contribution of time to this public analysis phase. Click on both of the following links and just focus on what interests you. Try to understand “what the data is saying.” Then post a comment below with any insights that you are able to glean from the preliminary report.

If you want to see another type of cross tab or have any other questions either ask them below or leave a private comment at 800-369-2342.

Total number of participants who completed the national survey: 105

Preliminary report:

Final Excel data (XLS) download:

View 2013 NDN Participant Responses (105) in a full screen map

Thank you!
John Spady
Volunteer Coordinator for the National Dialogue Network


Local NDN Discussion (WI)


Submitted by Dennis Boyer: We held our poverty and wealth discussion last night (Oct 23, 2013). Eight participants comprised of four couples in rural area. About half had previously participated in test discussion of draft discussion guide entitled “Fairness” (work in progress of the Interactivity Foundation). It lasted about 3 1/2 hours and went very well. Dennis Boyer, IF Fellow and member of the Public Participatory Learning Community.


Demographics of 2013 NDN Opinionnaire® Survey


This is an experimental report showing just the current demographic tallies of the 2013 Opinionnaire® Survey’s completed so far. Values are expected to be automatically updated each day. Your comments are invited at the bottom of this post or can be left on the NDN message line at +1-800-369-2342. Thank you!

“We are all in this together” — contribute your opinions and insights to the Opinionnaire® Survey on Poverty & Wealth in America. Visit: http://is.gd/kogasa to begin the survey.




Univ of Oregon Students for Public Participation (SP2)


UO, SP2 meeting

University of Oregon, Students for Public Participation (SP2), Oct. 15, 2013

Jo Niehaus, graduate student in Public Administration at the University of Oregon and Special Projects coordinator for the UO’s Erb Memorial Union (ERB), recently welcomed John Spady, volunteer coordinator for the National Dialogue Network, to Eugene, Oregon, for a conversation with club  members of the Students for Public Participation (SP2). We met at the cozy McMenamans East 19th Street Café and had a wonderful time talking about the National Dialogue Network, the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2 USA) and its active Cascade Chapter, and also the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation. This was the first meet up for UO chapter of SP2 since the start of the term and everyone enjoyed their time together.

Thanks to Jo and her UO SP2 students for their time and interest in hearing about the National Dialogue Network. Everyone is welcome to contribute their opinions to the national conversation of “Poverty & Wealth in America” — join in at NationalDialogueNetwork.org/get-involved.

Thank you!


Announcement Sept 20, 2013


Recipient of the 2012 Catalyst Award for Civic Infrastructure, National Dialogue Network (NDN) volunteer John Spady announces that the NDN achieved a major milestone on September 18 when it released its public Conversation Kit on the topic of Poverty & Wealth in America for voluntary and coordinated national conversations. Revisit the May post on NCDD to remember how and why this topic was selected. Groups and individuals are now invited to “Get Involved.” Follow this link and take an action on the topic — and an important first action is to simply download the Conversation Kit, then ask your friends, family, neighbors, or community to join in and help inform the national dialogue. The NDN coordinates distinct individual and community conversations — giving everyone a “sense of place” and voice within the larger national dialogue. NDN’s dedicated volunteer’s seek to revitalize and promote civic infrastructures within communities where all who choose to participate will impact the national conversation by:

  • Focusing intently on an issue over time with others;
  • Listening to the opinions and ideas being discussed in your community and across the United States; and
  • Speaking up about your own opinions and ideas in conversations with your family, friends & community.

Jim Wallis, President and Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners Magazine, appears prescient on the topic when he writes in the March-April 1999 issue:

“The growing economic inequality of American life presents the most crucial moral issue for the health of democracy, according to historian James MacGregor Burns. It’s an issue that affects almost every other issue, from campaign finance to corporate welfare to the daily priorities of the U.S. Congress. The widening gap between the top and bottom of American society is now the 900-pound gorilla lurking in the background of every political discussion. It’s just sitting there, but nobody is talking about it. It’s time we started talking about it. Our moral integrity demands it.  And the common good requires it.” is.gd/5Nu85Z

The NDN is appealing to participants and the general public to raise at least another $10,000 for 2014 so they can continue to develop processes and content for another year of national dialogue. Any amounts raised over $15,000 will be used to develop more professional content, coordination, and promotional grants. Donations can be made online at GoFundMe.com/NatDialogue

Finally, NDN is grateful to the people who volunteered their hearts and hands to make this project a reality. Their collaborations are exactly what NCDD intended when it created the Catalyst Awards and the National Dialogue Network acknowledges their contributions on its About-Us page.