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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

New Plan, New Mission

New Plan, New Mission

This summer, the board and staff of the City Club completed the design and adoption of a new Strategic Plan to guide our service to the community. We're pretty excited about it, partly because it will allow us to routinely measure what we can about the impact of what we're doing. Another big reason is that from the mission to the vision to the strategies and tactics, it better reflects what we do and why it's important.

You can read it here. Our new mission and vision are crucial pieces of this.

Who We Are: The City Club serves Greater Cleveland, the State of Ohio and the nation with programs that convene leaders, engage citizens and provide all of our communities with opportunities to learn and participate in spirited dialogue on the issues that shape our future.
Our Mission: We create conversations of consequence that help democracy thrive.
Our Vision is of strong, informed individuals and communities that prize freedom of speech and civil, civic dialogue.

This is a bit of a departure from past language. Our mission had been about informing and engaging and connecting people with opportunities to take action, and our vision was focused on the City Club itself becoming a national model of civic engagement. Those things were important and they continue to be, but the vision felt too focused on the organization, rather than on the community it serves and where we're trying to have an impact.

This new mission also brings us back to our founding in some way. Back in the progressive era, City Club founders felt that in order for the community and the governmental institutions that serve it to thrive, we needed a neutral place for conversations of all types to happen so that we could come together, examine issues, hear lots of different points of view, ask lots of questions and ultimately, land on solutions the community could share in and benefit from.

Also, I don't know if people still argue about a perceived talk vs. action tension or dichotomy the way they did a few years ago, when social media was just finding its footing, but this new mission and vision address that squarely. Some conversations are more consequential than others. We understand that. Our job is to convene the most consequential ones we can for the communities we serve. Action is a part of the continuum, but action usually happens only after some conversations that usually create consensus, at least among a significant subset of people.

So, if you're wondering how topics and speakers get programmed at the City Club, run a topic through our mission and vision, and if it's a topic we haven't covered in a while, send us an email about it.

Knowing that most of you won't actually read our Strategic Plan, I want to point out, too, the values undergirding the plan.

Dialogue & Discourse: The City Club believes that insightful, inquisitive, well-rounded, honest, and respectful dialogue and discourse is a cornerstone of democracy and a vibrant Northeast Ohio.
Excellence: The City Club is committed to creating consistently high quality experiences in which the community can engage with well-informed speakers and one another in meaningful dialogue and discourse about substantive, timely, and relevant ideas.
Inclusion: The City Club holds the space for diverse voices and perspectives, encouraging all to participate and treating all with respect, courtesy, and consideration.
Civic Leadership: The City Club demonstrates civic engagement, partnership, thought leadership, and a legacy of service to the community.

These are all important, but in today's political and civic climate Inclusion is one we give particular focus. You'll hear us talk about it a lot from the stage before forums, and it really drives our programming decisions and how we behave as a community, consistently welcoming people we don't know or people who might disagree with us. You see this in how members and others treat one another at lunch and the ways speakers and audience members interact. It's something I personally love about the City Club and it truly sets us apart from other programs and speaker series around the country.

Got any questions or ideas? We're interested. Leave a comment below. 

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