Promoting the founding belief that every citizen has a right to impact the decisions of government, America Speaks serves as a neutral convener of large-scale public participation forums. Through close consultation with leaders, citizens, the media and others, America Speaks designs and facilitates deliberative meetings for 500 to 5,000 participants. Its partners have included regional planning groups, local, state, and national government bodies, and national organizations. Issues have ranged from Social Security reform to redevelopment of ground zero in New York.
America Speaks' "21st Century Town Meetings" have enabled policymakers to bring thousands of citizens together to deliberate about key issues. A notetaker at each table types notes, themes and agreements into a laptop computer. The laptops are networked to a "Theme Team" which gathers and analyzes all of the groups' notes in order to identify widely-held views and concerns. Each participant is also given a keypad with which they can vote on questions that are posed by the meeting facilitators.
The Founder and President of America Speaks is Carolyn Lukensmeyer. Steve Brigham is the Chief Operating Officer.
For more info: http://www.americaspeaks.org