The David Mathews Center for Civic Life is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening Alabama’s civic life by engaging communities around issues of public importance. We moderate deliberative community forums in every corner of the state.
Our programs connect citizens, organizations, and local leaders together to build the civic infrastructure necessary to meet community challenges in a way that is both locally-driven and sustainable. Our ultimate goal is to foster skills, habits, and community practices that build and preserve a healthy democracy.
We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located at the American Village in Montevallo, Alabama. Our impact is statewide.
During the past decade, we have engaged thousands of Alabamians around issues that impact their lives through the Mathews Center’s Alabama Issues Forums [AIF] series. Individuals and communities have welcomed us into their churches, libraries, schools, and neighborhoods to hear what they have to say and, in the process, have made connections with their fellow citizens in a way that is both profound and rejuvenating.
AIF has addressed issues including the problem of high school dropout rates, the epidemic of bullying, and the challenge of raising healthy children. No matter the issue on the table, however, the conversation frequently came back to a similar theme: the ability of individuals to make a living in their community.
Many of the most personal and intractable issues facing Alabamians are fundamentally economic. The issues are not economic in the abstract or academic sense—they are simply the challenges that Alabamians face as they try to make a living.
That’s why this AIF series will be different. What’s Next, Alabama? will be the most ambitious programmatic effort of the DMC to date. From 2017 to 2019, the series will engage Alabamians as they work to shape their economic future as a community. In each community, the DMC will host a series of no fewer than three deliberative forums, asking:
Over the course of these forums, participants will cultivate their collective hindsight, insight, and foresight to understand how their community got to where it is today, and how they can shape their community into a place they would want to live for the rest of their lives.
What’s Next, Alabama? is not the beginning of this conversation. We recognize that communities have been asking these questions long before this series, and will continue asking these questions long after this series. Our hope is to help amplify and catalyze the conversations already going on in communities across our state.
Finally, What’s Next, Alabama? is a testament to the thousands of Alabamians that voiced their concerns in hundreds of forums over the last decade. We have been listening, and we look forward to hearing you’re your thoughtful, imaginative response to the question of "What's Next?" for Alabama.
The David Mathews Center for Civic Life | PO Box 6 | Montevallo, Alabama 35115 | 205.665.9005 | email@example.com | mathewscenter.org
Where are we now?
Where do we want to go?
How do we get there?