Need: Democracies and republics grow out of families and small communities. Each of these smaller gatherings has their own character. Some are conscientiously developed from visions, values, and experiences – many are not. They come together in many ways and many forms, each, in turn, having their own special characteristics and systems. Sometimes these larger systems are imagined and managed only as mechanical devices devoid of any living character. Ignoring character may help communities survive.
A community’s character, however, must be discovered, nourished, and articulated if the community is to flourish. The purpose of community ethics is to educate and facilitate citizens, organizations, government officials, and all forms of community to cherish and become actively involved in the enculturation of their community’s core character.
The character of George Washington, which he and the Founding Fathers believed would become the character of the American Experiment, is critical to the flourishing of the nation and its vision, and thereby to its communities and individual citizens. This is the key component that makes this ethics institute unique and essential to our nation and its interactions with the world. While many documents are informative, the Constitution, George Washington’s Farewell Address, and his Code of Civility will serve as constant guides to our endeavors.
Audience: The chief audience is the leadership of regional community groups, such as commissions, bureaus, boards, agencies, and elected offices, as well as for profit and not-for-profit organizations. Programs would be designed for individual officers as well as city and county organizations. Special sessions would be designed to catalyze the collaboration and integration of their missions so as to timely address core issues regarding the basic social needs delegated to their unique roles and positions. A wide range of media and conference facilitation will be used. Collaborations between private, professional, and public groups will be catalyzed through special initiatives to provide the space and time for discourse around practical and common community issues.