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Common Ground Committee .

We are a citizen originated and led initiative and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. We are about “Bringing Light Not Heat To Public Discourse”. We are free of political agenda and financial influences, with a singular focus on demonstrating productive public discourse.

Our Mission .

To pursue initiatives which will reveal common ground for finding truth, clarity, understanding, and progress on issues of importance in a civil manner that does not require compromise of fundamental principles.

Our Vision .

Today’s Crippling Polarization In Public Discourse Can Be Fixed


Polarized thinking and governance is a growing plague among elected officials and citizens that has led to government gridlock and inaction and, increasingly, citizen outrage and violence – right when progress is most needed. No news here. But consider the impact. Real people, citizens and non-citizens are affected. They wait endlessly for needed changes to the status quo that could dramatically alter their health, wealth and happiness. You probably know people in those situations – or, perhaps, are one yourself.

Can we reverse the situation? Increasingly, the public thinks not. Studies show people feel the situation is hopeless. They hunger for bipartisan behavior and real-world results from public servants.

At Common Ground Committee, we believe that hunger can be satisfied and that polarization and anger can be healed. It is possible to bring about a private discourse that builds understanding and public discourse that uncovers common ground through passionate but civil debate where facts are valued and participants listen to each other. But it will take hard work and the help of many to be successful.

So how bad is the situation? According to a 2014 Pew Research study:

  • The share of Americans who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions hasdoubled over the past two decades from 10% to 21%
  • Partisan antipathy has risen. The share of Republicans who have very unfavorable opinions of theDemocratic Party has jumped from 17% to 43% in the last 20 years. Similarly, the share of Democrats with very negative opinions of the Republican Party also has more than doubled from 16% to 38%.
  • 27 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans see the political opposition as a “threat to the nation’s well-being.

Plus, we have seen the disturbing events of Charlottesville, Berkeley and other examples of public violence.

This is not good. But it is not hopeless, either. Looking at those statistics and incidents another way, well over half the nation is not part of the polarization problem. But the trend is in the wrong direction. The stakes are indeed profound today.

So what can be done to disrupt this national scourge and reverse the trend? Simply stated we all need to bring light, not heat to public discourse. The erosion of civility in solving problems originated and grew from the bottom-up, not the top-down. Therefore, to restore a more effective democracy, change must

again swell from citizens who declare their expectations for the common sense they seek from leaders and the civility with which they and their leaders interact with those with whom they disagree.

This is doable, and it is why leadership from Common Ground Committee offers engaged citizens an exciting opportunity to join and support a vital cause.

Common Ground as a Value-Added Virtue

Common Ground Committee is a citizen-led, nonprofit organization, free of political agenda and financial influences, with a singular focus on demonstrating productive engagement. Our motto is “Bringing Light Not Heat To Public Discourse”. We boldly lead to find areas of mutual interest or agreement that can lead to progress. While achievement may seem difficult to some, it’s never been more important to tenaciously promote whenever common ground results in progress. Scoffing at civil discourse or being pessimistic are no longer responsible choices.

Common Ground Committee’s Guiding Values are:

Mutual interest means Common Ground provides a constructive means for building on ideas.

It allows people to work together because they recognize an achievable shared goal.

Common Ground is not compromise of values

It allows people to work together because they recognize an achievable shared goal.

Common Ground is not a replacement for vigorous debate.

The exercise of free thought is an integral part of achieving Common Ground. However, effective debate relies on careful research of facts, not emotionally charged arguments.

Common Ground requires patience.

It demands listening, not shouting. It needs integrity to evaluate one’s own position in the light of questioning and critique. It calls for humility to support the best idea to achieve desired goals.

CGC has been producing successful forums since 2010. These forums demonstrate to target audiences what civil discourse looks like by presenting shining examples and model behavior. These are political debates, but with a twist. Panelists are judged not on clever talking points that support one’s own views, but on how one can work with other panelists to find Common Ground on difficult topics of the day:

  • What is The Role of Government in The Nation’s Economy?
  • China: Threat or Opportunity?
  • Re-Thinking Taxes
  • Finding Common Ground on Entitlement Reform
  • “Finding Common Ground, Then and Now.” How President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of The House Tip O’Neil achieved things together
  • Finding Common Ground on Income Inequality
  • Finding Common Ground on Taxes

CGC forums feature prominent experts in public policy, national media, and the private sector who may have opposing views but during the course of the forum reveal how common ground is attainable. Past panelists include Hon. Barney Frank, Hon. Christopher Shays, Chris Matthews, Larry Kudlow, David Gergen, Governor Ed Rendell, Senator Judd Gregg, Dr. Arthur Laffer and more. The forum structure facilitates a focus on points of agreement without compromising fundamental values. This proven methodology has worked at each CGC forum, collectively attended by thousands of influencers, civic and business leaders, voters, thought leaders, and others. CGC panelists have always found substantive common ground, leaving audiences inspired and determined to change the way they personally discuss issues with their friends, colleagues and associates.

In every forum we have partnered with The Christian Science Monitor, the Pulitzer Prize winning daily multi-channel news source whose motto is “To injure no one, but to bless all mankind”. CGC believes it essential to have a strategic partner reflecting the highest standard of global journalism, one that commands the respect of readers from Capitol Hill to Main Street.

Given this early success, Common Ground Committee has cast a vision of results and change for the future: “Positive discourse and the discovery of common ground becomes a pattern and enduring norm. Civility is held in high esteem. Current policy/law makers produce abundant evidence that they embrace and model the Common Ground ethos as a means to satisfy their constituents, and future public leaders adopt Common Ground principles as value that will give them an edge for success in public life.”

Expand & Extend Successful Forums. CGC aspires to expand public forums into new geographic locations and to extend CGC’s reach and specific event outcomes beyond the venue walls through new channels to key audiences of national media, policy/law makers, thought leaders, and communities.

Spot, Promote & Reward It. CGC believes there is a void in publically recognizing and rewarding “common grounding”. Plenty of reporting and opinion is dedicated to partisan bickering behavior and inefficient government. But, with adequate resources, CGC will be able to highlight improvements, establishing a larger platform to spot, track, recognize, share and reward exemplary, effective acts of common grounding.

Future Leadership. CGC believes there is a place for the common ground ethos in the education of future public leaders while they are receptive and impressionable. CGC therefore seeks to partner with prominent universities to integrate the common ground ideals into public policy programs.

New funds attracted to CGC will be invested in capacity building and the execution of programs to advance the aspirations cited above.

We invite you to be a part of our work and journey by making a contribution, attending our events, demanding civility and progress from your political leaders and pledging to be a model for civil discourse.