Voice and Equity
Nothing about us without us1
We help communities bring people together to deepen authentic participation in issues that matter to public life. Old patterns exist in communities that elevate the voices of some and marginalize others. We believe when people can bring voice and agency to community decision making, fair and equitable outcomes are possible and more likely. We help actively remove barriers to inclusive public participation, honor a full range of community interests, and ground solutions in local knowledge.
Authenticity and Integrity
We work in service of the public to generate solutions for our most pressing challenges – even when the work is messy, uncertain, and overwhelming. We believe in doing what we say we will do and being transparent in our methods and our motives. Building public trust takes time and ongoing attention. We offer skilled, observant, and honest people to support your initiative.
Collaboration and Partnership
The only cure for bias is other people2
We know collaboration can be hard, and we believe solving complex problems will require it. A mix of perspectives helps us recognize and temper our own biases (we all have them). We help groups face biases (of all kinds) and bring skills and attitudes that build trust for ongoing partnership and community good will.
Complexity and Humility
There are things we don’t know
Our communities struggle with difficult questions to which no one person knows the answer. We bring humility and a can-do attitude to our work. We believe it takes data and stories from neighbors to create change. We don’t assert our own answers. Instead, we create space to grapple with hard options and find pathways to move forward together.
Persistence and Flexibility
We are in it for the long haul
We respond to current circumstances in local communities and bridge projects by committing to New Hampshire over the long haul. Most communities experience multiple initiatives that lack connection and integration. Our goal is to leave behind approaches that build muscle memory for deep fairness and effective collaboration so that one project brings strengths and capacity to the next one.
NH Listens has worked over a decade to strengthen local, regional, and state efforts to improve public life and the lives of all New Hampshire residents. We are built on earlier work by cofounders Bruce Mallory and Michele Holt-Shannon, including community-based dialogue and engagement in Portsmouth leading to the creation of Portsmouth Listens in 1999. We use small group facilitated conversations and learning exchangeds to engage people in intensive, informed discussions of challenges identified by community members. We strive to function as trusted and fair-minded conveners. NH Listens does not advocate for specific outcomes or actions in any of its public engagement work. We believe when people can bring voice and agency to community decision making, fair and equitable outcomes are possible and more likely. We help actively remove barriers to inclusinve public participation, honor a full range of community interests, and ground solutions in local knowledge.
The core elements of our work include:
Bringing people together from all walks of life
Providing time for in-depth, informed conversations
Respecting differences as well as seeking common ground
Achieving outcomes that lead to informed community solutions
We are grateful to our funding partners who have believed in the mission of NH Listens and provided both material and strategic support for our efforts. Annually, we receive 20-40 substantial and modest grants, contracts, and gifts from nonprofit organizations, community coalitions, municipal governments, and state agencies. Since our beginning, we have received suppoprt from: