Everyday Americans driving politics and policy

Many Americans never have the chance to apply their unique knowledge and insight to the issues affecting their lives. At the Jefferson Center, we know the informed participation of America’s diverse citizenry is essential to reinvigorating our democracy. That’s why we’re creating opportunities for Americans to solve collective challenges through education, group deliberation, and community action.

Find out how.


We engage Americans to study, deliberate, and act on the most pressing challenges facing our country. From healthcare and climate issues to broader reform of our democracy, we put Americans in the position to impact policy development and civic life. Click a project below to learn more.

+ Rural Climate Dialogues

Rural Climate Dialogues

Our ongoing collaboration with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy engages community members and community organizations to identify and implement solutions to climate change and extreme weather in towns across Minnesota.

+ Patient Participation in Reducing Diagnostic Error

This joint effort with the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine will utilize patient participation to develop patient-focused strategies for reducing diagnostic error – one of the most challenging and costly patient safety issues in US healthcare today.

+ Up for Debate Ohio!

We’re uniting voters and media to promote a more civil, substantive campaign discourse in the nation’s most contested electoral battleground.

+ Exploring Engagement with Public Officials

With our partners at the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation and the Kettering Foundation, we’re exploring how civic engagement and dialogue & deliberation practitioners connect with elected officials to expand the role of citizens in government.

Read about our other projects.


We believe that democratic participation requires citizens to be informed enough to participate meaningfully in shared conversation and deliberation with their peers. That’s why we convene Citizens Juries as the basis of our public engagement work. Citizens Juries create the setting for diverse groups to learn and discuss together before generating thoughtful input on collective challenges.

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Citizens Driving Democracy