Building trust in our communities, one conversation at a time.
NeighborUp dinners are gatherings of as few as two and as many as 20 people with one common goal – build connection between people from different blocks, backgrounds, or beliefs through face to face conversation and breaking bread. Whether it’s take-out around your kitchen table, a community potluck in a nearby park, or just two people on the front stoop having tea, we’re inviting you to have conversations that help build trust.
Last December we held a dinner with OfferUp community members, company leaders, community activists, faith leaders, police officers and teachers to talk about building trust in our communities. We chose the theme for our dinner based on research that shows trust is declining across our society even at the neighborhood-level. Just half of Americans (52%) say they trust all or most of their neighbors, according to a 2015 Pew research study. We wondered what we could do to help change things and determined that the best way to build trust is one interaction, one conversation at a time.
“We live in this huge city, I don’t even really know my neighbors. I’ve been living here for 6 years and I’m realizing its really important to go out there to try and make those connections. It’s not just being open to the connections, but actually seeking it out.”
– High School Principal, Downtown LA
We want to be a role model by hosting community events and to provide a platform for all the efforts already underway in local communities. We believe that building trust needs to start one to one, neighbor to neighbor. No organization, company, or administration can build trust alone. For this challenge, it’s less about conversations in board rooms, and more about conversations over dinner tables. And we believe that the simple act of sharing a meal is the perfect way to spark these conversations.
We’re excited to invite you to be a part of this project and to gather people from your community to share a meal. We’ve provided everything you need to know to host your own dinner party– checklists, hosting tips and talking points. We believe that when you pull up a chair to a table with your neighbors, you’ll create positive change within your neighborhood and we can’t wait to hear about all the rich experiences you’ll have when you NeighborUp.
NeighborUp dinners are also happening within existing groups of people - so if you’re a part of a church group, girl scout troop, or book club - these guidelines can help you bring a new type of conversation into the places where you’re already gathering. You don’t need to start something new, any gathering that bring people together to build trust and community can be part of the NeighborUp movement.
Special thanks to our shared mission partner, enso collaborative. Also to our friends at The People’s Supper, a collaborative project of The Dinner Party, Hollaback!, and the Faith Matters Network, out to prove that a group of thoughtful people who differ from one another – politically, culturally, racially, and generationally – can sit down over a shared meal and engage in a meaningful conversation together.