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Citizen-Centered Solutions: Lessons in Leveraging Public Participation from the Make It Your Own Awards

Citizen-Centered Solutions: Lessons in Leveraging Public Participation from the Make It Your Own Awards

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Published by The Case Foundation
In 2007, the Case Foundation launched its first public grants program, the Make It Your Own Awards (MIYO), which challenged people from all walks of life to discuss what matters most to them, decide what kind of community they want, and take action together. With nearly 5,000 applicants and more than 15,000 voters, the program involved the public in nearly every aspect of decision-making, and used the latest web 2.0 tools to empower applicants to raise funds and supporters.

Since the program officially ended in 2009, grantees have been working in their communities to implement their projects. But did they finish? And what did they learn? Equally important, what did we learn from this entire process? To find out, we commissioned Peter Levine, Ph.D., Peter Deitz, and Cynthia Gibson, Ph.D. to design and conduct this research.

Of specific interest to us was whether the MIYO process, grants, and other benefits to the applicants had positive effects and, especially, had helped to support high-quality citizen-centered work that would not have occurred without the MIYO initiative. The data collected in this evaluation has also had the additional benefit of providing an unprecedented picture of citizen-centered efforts occurring in America—information that had previously been difficult to obtain and that will be of considerable use to the field.

By Cynthia M. Gibson, Ph.D. (Cynthesis Consulting), Peter Levine, Ph.D. (CIRCLE at Tufts University), and Peter Deitz (Social Actions)
In 2007, the Case Foundation launched its first public grants program, the Make It Your Own Awards (MIYO), which challenged people from all walks of life to discuss what matters most to them, decide what kind of community they want, and take action together. With nearly 5,000 applicants and more than 15,000 voters, the program involved the public in nearly every aspect of decision-making, and used the latest web 2.0 tools to empower applicants to raise funds and supporters.

Since the program officially ended in 2009, grantees have been working in their communities to implement their projects. But did they finish? And what did they learn? Equally important, what did we learn from this entire process? To find out, we commissioned Peter Levine, Ph.D., Peter Deitz, and Cynthia Gibson, Ph.D. to design and conduct this research.

Of specific interest to us was whether the MIYO process, grants, and other benefits to the applicants had positive effects and, especially, had helped to support high-quality citizen-centered work that would not have occurred without the MIYO initiative. The data collected in this evaluation has also had the additional benefit of providing an unprecedented picture of citizen-centered efforts occurring in America—information that had previously been difficult to obtain and that will be of considerable use to the field.

By Cynthia M. Gibson, Ph.D. (Cynthesis Consulting), Peter Levine, Ph.D. (CIRCLE at Tufts University), and Peter Deitz (Social Actions)

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Published by: The Case Foundation on Sep 15, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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LESSONS IN LEVERAGING PUBLIC PARTICIPATIONFROM THE MAKE IT YOUR OWN AWARDS™
CENTEREDSOLUTIONSCITIZEN-
Cynthia M. Gibson, Ph.D., Cynthesis Consulting|Peter Levine, Ph.D., CIRCLE at Tufts University|Peter Deitz, Social Actions
SEPTEMBER 16, 2010
 
3
CITIZEN-CENTERED SOLUTIONS:
Lessons in Leveraging Public Participation from the Make It Your Own Awards
 ABOUT
THE EVALUATION TEAM
CYNTHIA M. GIBSON, PH.D.
Cynthia Gibson has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector as aconsultant, senior staff person, and advisor for hundreds of national nonprofits andphilanthropic institutions. As principal of Cynthesis Consulting™, she provides a widerange of services—including strategic planning and positioning, program development,evaluation, marketing/communications, and public policy research and analysis—fornonprofits and foundations across the country. In 2007 for the Case Foundation,Gibson authored
Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement
andhelped to develop a new direction for grantmaking reflecting the concepts in thispaper—including the importance of public participation in philanthropy—that washighlighted in The New York Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
PETER LEVINE, PH.D.
Peter Levine is the Director of CIRCLE, The Center for Information and Research onCivic Learning and Engagement and Research Director of Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. In addition to having worked withCommon Cause and the National Commission on Civic Renewal, Levine has alsoauthored several books, including
The Future of Democracy: Developing the NextGeneration of American Citizens
(2007). He has served on the boards or steeringcommittees of AmericaSpeaks, Streetlaw, the Newspaper Association of AmericaFoundation, the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, the Kettering Foundation,the American Bar Association Committee’s for Public Education, the Paul J. AicherFoundation, and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium.

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