Are Americans still capable of working with each other? Learn more about the Common Ground Initiative to find out.

A 2017 study found both liberals and conservatives are similarly inclined to avoid hearing the other side. Just this summer, Pew Research Center discovered that three in five Americans believe people’s trust in each other is declining—with 70 percent saying distrust is standing in the way of solving problems. It’s enough to wonder if we’re still capable of coming together, and new research and reporting initiative seeks to answer that question.

Public Agenda and USA Today launched the Hidden Common Ground 2020 Initiative (HCG) with support from partners such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Charles Koch Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:

“Through this first phase of Hidden Common Ground 2020 research, we will explore the ways in which divisiveness, especially political divisiveness, undermines the ability of Americans to talk and work together to address pressing problems,” said Will Friedman, president of Public Agenda. “We want to learn how people experience and think about this issue, how it manifests in their lives and communities, and what they think we ought to do to bridge our ‘collaborative divides.’”

HCG will focus on high-priority issues such as health care, immigration, and economic opportunity, with in-depth research into the public’s views conducted by Public Agenda accompanied by original reporting by USA Today. The first research report, focusing on divisiveness and collaboration in America, will be released in early December.

“To build bridges across divides you first need to discover where the divides are,” said Sarah Ruger, the Charles Koch Institute’s director of free expression. “This research will surface the divides as well as the areas of mutual interest for dialogue and cooperation, and the coverage will shine a light on where it’s already happening in way that inspires hope.”

04-06-2020 03:31pm

Letter from Ryan Stowers: In the face of crisis, CKF partners and grantees provide innovative solutions

Emergent Ventures, OpenStax, ACUE and numerous other CKF partners are demonstrating that people can do extraordinary things, especially when they come together in response to crisis and think innovatively to create solutions.

Read more

03-30-2020 04:44pm

Wanted: New ideas to address the new pandemic

The Mercatus Center’s Emergent Ventures, which supports entrepreneurs and thinkers trying to meaningfully improve society, is awarding more than $1 million in prize money for cutting-edge work on COVID-19.

Read more

03-24-2020 12:38pm

Charles Koch Foundation raises concern over call to intimidate scholars as courses move online amid COVID-19 pandemic

"Targeting, intimidating, and otherwise attempting to silence academics chills the open exchange of ideas and, in turn, chokes off progress."

Read more

Sign up for our newsletter