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Building Common Ground for the Common Good

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

We live in divisive times, where rifts are formed between friends and family members because of differences in opinion. It might be easier to simply cut someone off who you disagree with or who has different political views from you, but what if you put in the work to build common ground instead?

Meeting someone for coffee or building a partnership with an organization can be challenging and awkward when it seems like your views are at odds, but emphasizing common ground can lead to unconventional, productive collaborations in the space where agreement exists.

The communities in Lane County, Oregon, in particular—and all across the Pacific Northwest—are facing crises in homelessness, affordable housing, addiction and so many other challenges. These issues are overwhelming, but research shows that communities thrive when uncommon partnerships are formed to address a common issue.

Our society’s biggest challenges are impossible to solve alone. Where can you step into the common ground with your neighbors and community members to face these challenges together and help our communities flourish? Steve Moore, executive director of the Murdock Trust, and Max Williams, president and CEO of Oregon Community Foundation, recently shared their experience in building common ground for the common good in The Register-Guard.