A Polarized Community Still Needs to Eat

November 16, 2018 by Lilly Weinberg

Lilly Weinberg, director for community foundations, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

In a time of growing polarization, when trust in institutions of all kinds has hit all-time lows and social media conversations often descend into hateful rhetoric, it may seem difficult to find pathways for consensus and common ground. At the same time, the strength of our democracy and our local communities relies on connected action — the ability of residents to hear each other, make informed choices and shape decision-making.

Through this lens, in 2017 Knight Foundation expanded an initiative of The Chicago Community Trust called On the Table. Founded on the basic premise that ‘we all need to eat,’ On the Table brings people from different backgrounds and income levels together to share a meal and discuss pressing community issues. In a few short years, with the help of community foundations across the country, it has united tens of thousands of city residents on a single day to talk about issues from affordable housing and climate change to racial equity and transportation.

At Knight Foundation, we’ve witnessed the impact of On the Table first-hand. Learn how here.

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