Think of the Arena Summit as equal parts spring training, group therapy, summer camp, and speed dating for progressives.
WIRED | APRIL 2017
Our first Summit brought together more than 450 energized people from 32 states; more than 150 attendees pledged to run for office, and many more spawned new efforts in the civic space. As one attendee put it: “I have never seen more people more excited to take control of our democracy. No one was waiting around for someone else to save the day.”
These face-to-face, collaborative gatherings have never been more important. Citizens want to link arms with each other in service of improving our democracy — and these newly-energized leaders need help finding the most effective ways to get involved and to unite with others.
Our Summits will continue to be that space where engaged citizens come to clarify their purpose and collaborate. Indeed, we will expand the role and impact of our Summits in a few key ways:
We will hold Summits in geographically diverse places, to ensure we are meeting the needs of future leaders all across our country. Our first Summit in December was in Nashville, TN, our second was in Raleigh, NC at the end of March. We will hold future Summits this year in Michigan and Nevada. Through these Summits, we will elevate promising work happening at the state-level across the country and connect our national network and resources with those local leaders and organizations. Crucially, these Summits will help us identify promising new leaders and organizations from across the country to serve in our accelerator program.
Given the pace of civic and political change in our country, we will hold Summits every quarter. Each day brings promising new ideas, organizations, and people. We must provide a face-to-face forum for these forces to converge.
Our Summit includes programming to motivate new entrants into the civic and political arena and training and guidance to help these new entrants take the critical few steps on their journey. Our programming will always include three key planks.
- First, we motivate attendees with speeches and interviews with values-aligned politicians and civic leaders.
- Second, we include breakout trainings along two tracks: (i) those who want to run for office; and (ii) those who wish to become civic activists or entrepreneurs. These trainings are not meant to be comprehensive, but are meant to help our attendees take the first few steps in their civic and political journeys.
- Finally, we break into regional cohorts for individual and group action planning. These regional cohorts continue to meet on an ongoing basis after the event.
Through these Summits, we plan to provide a community for 3,000 promising activists, politicians, and entrepreneurs by the end of 2017 and more than 15,000 by 2022.