History


A PASSION FOR THOUGHTFUL PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT DRIVES CONSENSUS

Since 1984, Consensus has worked to give people like you and me a voice in decisions that affect our lives. Consensus founders had an unshakeable trust in regular people. We have proved that people will learn, make hard choices, and seek common ground. Some of the power of our work comes from bringing diverse groups together, people who might not meet otherwise. Society is becoming more fragmented and less civil. Bridging the gaps that divide us is more important than ever.

Consensus understands public policy issues and it knows how to engage members of the public in ways that bring out their best.

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

Consensus is a regional nonprofit that often works on national projects. We direct the KC site of the award-winning Creating Community Solutions dialogue on mental health. We are a Kettering Foundation center for civic life. With KCPT Public Television, we co-convened large-scale events sponsored by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. We held the first ever community-wide “future search” process.

We use our public engagement skills on behalf of clients in metro KC and around the country. We provide reliable, affordable information for leaders who need to know what people are thinking.

THE CIVILITY PROJECT

Consensus launched the project after the disastrous health care town hall meetings of 2009. We held focus groups with hundreds of residents. We learned how they want to engage in public issues. We created and offer a one-day class, now part of a six-day certificate program offered through the KU Public Management Center, on how to involve the public productively. We donate services to encourage leaders to move beyond the public hearing. And we acknowledge people who work across boundaries through our annual Civility Awards

PUBLIC POLICY STUDIES

We have convened citizens to study 16 public policy issues. Our work has resulted in new laws and policies, new and improved programs and has received national attention. For example, a task force recommended a bi-state tax to fund arts and culture. Then our volunteers worked for a decade to pass identical legislation in Kansas and Missouri. The cultural tax was used to renovate Union Station.