Archives for category: Mannakee Circle Group

Friends, I am delighted to announce the imminent release of a project I have been working hard on for the better part of the year. My company (The Mannakee Circle Group) has been lead partner on the first-ever Maryland Civic Health Index. This report was developed as a partnership between The Mannakee Circle Group, the Maryland Commission on Civic Literacy, Common Cause Maryland,  and the National Conference on Citizenship. It was funded in part by the Center for Civic Education.

The Civic Health Index is developed using data from the U.S. Census, and is mandated by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009. The National Conference on Citizenship developed a national report, and partnered with a variety of local organizations in developing a number of state and local reports.

I am proud to say I was the chief author of the report. My very good friends at CIRCLE did the core data analysis and I am deeply indebted to them.

In addition to the census data, the Maryland partners convened a number of community conversations throughout the state and culminated this listening effort with a Civic Literacy Summit held on October 23 where workgroups made recommendations for moving forward.

All this is given in detail in the report. I will release a link to the report after it is made public on December 8 in Annapolis. The report can be found here.

Below is the event announcement:

ANNAPOLIS, Md.  – A coalition next week will release the first-ever report on the civic health of Maryland, evaluating in numerous areas how Marylanders work together in society for the common good, and how their level of work and engagement compares to residents of other states.

To evaluate the Free State’s civic health, the first-ever Maryland Civic Health Index looked at indicators that include volunteerism, social connections, voting habits and political engagement, among others. The report sketches a picture of Marylanders engaged in their communities more than residents of many other states. But it also suggests that given its higher than average median income and education levels and proximity to Washington DC, it is not as high as expected.

The report will be released at a press conference, details below.

Press Conference Details

What:   Release of Maryland Civic Health Index 2010

When: Wednesday, Dec. 8, 9 am

Where: Miller Senate Building

Who:

  • Judge Robert Bell, Chief Judge, Maryland Court of Appeals
  • Dr. Nancy Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools
  • Barbara Reynolds, Director, Governor’s Office on Service and Volunterism
  • Senator Allan Kittleman, Chair, Commission on Civic Literacy
  • Marcie Taylor-Thoma, Vice-chair, Commission on Civic Literacy
  • Dr. Stephen Frantzich, Professor of Political Science, USNA
  • Wanda Speede, Maryland Higher Education Commission
  • Brad Rourke, The Mannakee Circle Group, report author
  • Susan Schreiber, Common Cause Maryland

The 31-page report was prepared by the Mannakee Circle Group, the Maryland Commission on Civic Literacy, Common Cause Maryland, and the National Conference on Citizenship. It is based on analysis of state data from the National Conference on Citizenship’s America’s Civic Health Index, and conversations with Marylanders throughout the state in summer and early fall of this year.

This is a little overdue, as this was released a little over a month ago, but better late than never! I am delighted to announce a new issue guide that I wrote has been released and will be used in deliberative forums across the nation.

Here is the post I wrote for the “news” section of my firm The Mannakee Circle Group that describes the whole thing:

coverAmerica's-RoleThe Mannakee Circle Group is pleased to announce a new issue book authored by Brad Rourke for the National Issues Forums Institute and the Kettering Foundation, working closely with colleague John Doble. The guide is titled America’s Role In The World: What does national security mean in the 21st century? and is available from NIFI.

The issue guide will be the basis for deliberative forums held across the nation, the results of which will be reported to a US-Russian group of policy experts and citizens in October this year.

From the issue overview:

The world bears little resemblance to the way it was in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell and the cold war ended. Where the world used to have two “superpowers,”—the Soviet Union and the United States— the end of the cold war created what many observers called a “unipolar” world in which the United States was the clear leader, able to bend most events to its will. But that moment has passed.

The U.S. Director of National Intelligence issued a report in late 2008 that assessed where things stand and where things are likely to go over the next two decades. One conclusion of this comprehensive study is that the United States “will remain the single most powerful country but will be less dominant.”

Examples of less dominance are everywhere. China has gone from being a very large nation to being an economic powerhouse. India’s economy, as well as its influence on the world stage, has grown rapidly. Pakistan is now strategically vital.

Threats are becoming more global in nature, too. Climate change (global warming), pandemics, and resource depletion face countries without regard to superpower status or military strength. Many of these threats require response, but no one nation can act alone.

This issue framing presents three possible options to consider:

Option One: National Security Means Safeguarding the United States

Our global objective must always be to maintain the safety of the United States and its citizens. We must guard against threats to national security above all.

Option Two: National Security Depends on Putting Our Economic House in Order

With such significant economic issues facing us, we need to focus on eliminating our staggering public indebtedness and improving the balance of trade. That means spending less on the military and reducing the amount of money that flows overseas.

Option Three: National Security Means Recognizing that Global Threats are our Greatest Challenge

Today’s challenges face everyone on the planet, not just one nation. We must take a leadership role in working with other nations in a collaborative way to address long-term threats to humanity and increase foreign aid so other nations can also address such threats.

The Mannakee Circle Group would like to thank NIFI and the Kettering Foundation for the opportunity to work on this important project.

MCG Logo

Logo by Naina Redhu at Aside (http://www.aside.in/)

Today I am launching a new company called The Mannakee Circle Group. This will be an extension of some of the work I already do, but it also represents a renewed focus on helping organizations engage better with their public. The name comes from a crossroads of sorts in the town where I live — read the story about that here.

Visit our web site here: www.mannakeecircle.com.

The Mannakee Circle Group

We work with organizations to help them do their work better– advising on strategy and social media, and designing, executing, and telling the story of large civic projects. We understand how people interact with issues, how they talk to one another, how to hear what they are saying, and how to speak to them to be heard.

We will help you improve public life.

  • We can advise your organization how to use social media and how to connect that with public benefit.
  • We design civic projects and help organizations map out their strategies.
  • And we develop discussion materials about issues. This is harder than you might think to do well.

If you are a public leader and are wondering if we might be able to help you with a project, initiative, or problem – chances are we can.

Drop me a line at rourke@mannakeecircle.com and let’s talk.

P.S. The logo is a general representation of an aerial view of Mannakee Circle.