The Civvys

OcTober 20th, 2017

The American Civic Collaboration Awards

Celebrating Partnerships that Strengthen America


The Bridge Alliance and Big Tent Nation, organizations committed to the fight against partisan rancor and division, have joined forces to announce the first annual American Civic Collaboration Awards, or the Civvys.


About The Civvys

The Civvy Awards are the first national awards program designed to highlight organizations and individuals that leverage collaboration as a key strength in building initiatives that improve communities.

Driven by a panel of civic engagement experts, including former members of Congress, senior managers from top foundations and political thought leaders, the Civvys will highlight best practices in collective action that put community and nation before party, ideology and narrow interests.

In an era of division and gridlock, it’s more important than ever to celebrate and support organizations that work together to improve America.


Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.
— Henry Ford

Meet the Winners

And the 2017 Civvy Award goes to:


Youth Winner: Student PIRGs

The Student Public Interest Research Groups from several college campuses were nominated for their work supporting voter education, voter registration and creating safe spaces for dialogue between students with diverse perspectives. Student PIRGs promote learning and understanding about a host of current issues, while providing a forum for students to become politically active and effective. As one elected official put it, “the work PIRGs do is vitally important in a democracy and serves as such a great role model as a set of engaged citizens so necessary to building effective public policy.”

Regional Winner: New Hampshire Listens

New Hampshire Listens is thewinner in the regional category for their work facilitating civil conversation in the state of New Hampshire on controversial public challenges. They also train others to facilitate such productive dialogues. Bruce Mallory and Michele Holt-Shannon have developed programs to elevate the state’s problem-solving capabilities, modeling a respectful and inclusive approach that many hope will be replicated nationwide. As the person who nominated them put it, “People feel relieved and respected when Bruce and Michele enter the room.”



National Winner: Collaboration between SLLF, NICD, and NFWL.

The partnership between the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, the National Institute for Civil Discourse and the National Foundation for Women Legislators has resulted in a new leadership program designed to deliver insight, inspiration and techniques to legislative leaders working to improve public policy discussion in their states. With NICD’s expertise in training community leaders and legislatures, SLLF’s success in providing state legislators with nonpartisan information and a forum for discussion, and NFWL’s work in empowering leaders, this partnership aims to replace gridlock with progress and criticism with compassion. In the words of their nominator, “since many of our federal leaders begIn their political service in state legislatures, success in this program will eventually improve our federal government.”

Thank you to all those who submitted nominations and helped take part in recognizing organizations doing great collaborative work

Here is to another year of innovation and collaboration!


Review Committee

Thanks to our esteemed reviewers for this year’s Civvys - we couldn’t have done it without you.


Peter Levine

Peter Levine is the Associate Dean for Research and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs in Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch College of Civic Life. He has secondary appointments in the Tufts Philosophy Department, the Tufts Political Science Department, and the Tufts Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. He was the founding deputy director (2001-6) and then the second director (2006-15) of Tisch College’s CIRCLE, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which he continues to oversee as an associate dean.


Betsy Hawkins

Betsy Wright Hawkins is the Director of the Governance Program at the Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Focusing on principled leadership and effective governance, Betsy leads the Democracy Fund’s mission to invest in approaches that help our elected leaders deliberate, negotiate, and serve the American people. 


David Sawyer

David Sawyer is Partner of Converge, a team of strategists and designers who partner with others to tackle complex social and environmental problems. He is also President of Context, a consulting firm with practice areas in strategy, leadership, and culture.

Sawyer is a strategy guy for a better world, specializing in networks, design, and systems thinking. He is active across all sectors and has played key roles in a variety of fields: education reform, national service, social entrepreneurship, women & girls, venture philanthropy, and environmental preservation.

We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.
— Bill Richardson