Placer Community Foundation

Placer Community Foundation Awards $18,000

Auburn, Calif. – Open dialogue and communication are key elements in maintaining a healthy, connected community. To encourage debate, Placer Community Foundation (PCF) awarded the following grants:

* Peace and Justice Center: Conversations for US
* Conversations on Racial Healing Series
* Foresthill Community Development Council: Make America Talk Again
* Girl Scouts Heart of Central California: Discover Civil Discourse in a Day Events

“This grant program is intended to promote civil conversations about issues that divide us and are often contentious and difficult to sort through,” said Rick Saletta, PCF Grants Committee member. He explained the program is also beneficial to local youth, adding “This program will develop the future leaders of community conversation.”

By encouraging social gatherings with respectful listening and debate, grantees will provide an opportunity for individuals to achieve a better understanding of topics as conveyed from multiple points of view, and directed in a respectful and productive manner. Each organization will be hosting civil discourse deliberations in a variety of ways as outlined below.

Peace and Justice Center – Conversations for US

“Conversations for US will discuss issues that are relevant to Placer County, such as homelessness, poverty, mental health, development, crime, drugs, immigration, local taxes,” explained organizer, Jerry Silverman. “The process, which has had success internationally, will have three stages. First a small group of twelve to twenty people (a citizen council) will meet for a day and a half with a facilitator to consider a single issue and strive to arrive at a consensus of ideas and solutions. Then the group will present the results to the public at a gathering that allows for further small group discussion and feedback. Finally there will be a presentation to decision-makers involved with the issue, such as a city council or board of supervisors. The goals are more than to come up with solutions to problems. We want to educate citizens on the issues, mine the wisdom and create a voice of the community, engage people in being part of the solution, and demonstrate the ways that we can talk together face-to-face, peacefully and productively. We aspire to help create the trust that brings a community together for the common good.”

Conversations on Racial Healing Series was founded in 1999 in their quest for equality; they provide educational programs to children and adults that focus on character development and racial healing.

For the purposes of this grant, will focus on racial healing. “Our Conversations on Racial Healing program helps people examine and unlearn racial bias and replace stereotypes with real experiences of people of color,” said Jan Merrill, board member, who explained the program is a free nine-week series that discusses the history of racism and racial bias to help others become more aware of racial conditioning. The end result is improved relations within the community.

Foresthill Community Development Council

Foresthill Community Development Council aims to develop economic and social opportunities in Foresthill. They have held several workshops, panel discussions, training classes and more over the past few years and saw an opportunity to take their efforts a step further with their project, Make America Talk Again.

“We have recently seen a disturbing trend whereby individuals prove themselves as being unable to discuss their differences in a civil and respectful manner,” explained Marjene Streeper, program manager. “The broad goal for this project is to train or revive community members to consider other individuals’ point of view about politically sensitive topics without feeling the need to resort to uncivilized behavior or hurtful word choices.”

Starting in June 2018, they will facilitate a series of civil discourse panel discussions, workshops, breakout sessions and lectures that will carry on into the 2019 year.

Girl Scouts Heart of Central California (GSHCC) – Discover Civil Discourse in a Day Events
Girl Scouts is committed to building girls of courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place. GSHCC serves 2,616 girls K-12 and 1,477 adults in Placer County and with this grant, they plan to hold six Discover Civil Discourse in a Day events for girls in second to eighth grade.

Through these events, girls will gain skills in civil discourse; engaging in interactive activities and role playing to spark conversation around fairness, equity, respect, and identity. Presenters at each event will inspire and help girls navigate this topic within their communities. Girls will learn the importance of civil discourse, advocacy, and what they can do to be effective leaders.ย Learn more at

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