Mission and History

NH Listens is built on earlier work by its founding directors and community partners, including community based dialogue and engagement in Portsmouth leading to the creation of Portsmouth Listens in 1999. We have used small-group facilitated conversations to engage participants in intensive, informed discussions of problems or challenges identified by community members. We work at the community, regional, and state level when we are invited by multi-partisan coalitions. We strive to function as trusted and impartial conveners. NH Listens does not advocate for specific outcomes or actions in any of its public engagement work. The core elements of our work are:

  • To create engaged community conversations on local and statewide issues
  • To serve as a resource and support network for new Local Listens groups
  • To cultivate a network of facilitators for public engagement
  • To build coalitions for sustained civic engagement and action

NH Listens is a national partner of Everyday Democracy. We are part of a learning network that shares lessons across geographic regions and issue areas. We have the opportunity to contribute to a larger movement of regional and national organizations dedicated to strengthening democratic capacity for community voice and change. 

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. Since our beginning, we have received funds from organizations such as the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the New Hampshire Endowment for Health, the National Estuary Reserve Research System (of NOAA), and the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund for our work in the North Country. We have also received dozens of small and modest grants, contracts, and gifts from many other nonprofit organizations, community coalitions, municipal governments, and state agencies since 2010.