Our mission is to create a world where everyone participates in their democracy, every day.
We will accomplish this by building an engaged and informed community, enabling them to collaborate with and drive deliberative decisions using Every Voice Engaged.
The Every Voice Engaged Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that helps citizens, governments and other nonprofit organizations solve problems that benefit from effective civic engagement. We harness the power of innovative civic-deliberative technology to connect ordinary citizens together and with governments, nonprofits and industry to address wicked, challenging issues.
We design-build civic engagement apps and platforms that help avoid the kind of politically polarized talk that prevents communities acting on serious issues. By innovating with citizen deliberation and the power of serious games, our software helps citizens become more informed about joint problems while working through tough policy choices to find common ground to act on. Our most successful product, the online deliberation platform Common Ground for Action (CGA), has been used by local libraries and nonprofits, businesses and organizations, colleges and universities, K-12 schools, and even in the halls of state legislatures and the US Congress to connect elected officials to their constituents.
Our deliberative forum based game works particularly well for diverse stakeholder groups needing to make decisions together, including on issues such as resource-prioritization and participatory budgeting. We make it fun, drawing on the same elements of game mechanics and gamification that attract and keep people coming back to games of all types. Each game results in defined deliverables for citizens and policymakers that include jointly discovered common ground that can pave the way for future collaboration.
We focus on creating informed and engaged communities capable of driving audacious solutions to joint problems.
EVERY VOICE ENGAGED FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chief Executive Officer
Abizar Vakharia is the Chief Executive Officer of Every Voice Engaged Foundation. Abizar is a highly accomplished global technology leader with more than 20 years’ experience with Fortune 500 companies including Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft Corporation, Dell, and Sony Ericsson. Most recently, he led product management and design initiatives at Amazon. Abizar holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Irvine and an MBA from Northwestern University.
Luke Hohmann is the Founder and CEO of Conteneo Inc., the leading provider of Unified Collaboration Solutions. The author of three books with long titles, Luke’s playfully diverse background of life experiences has uniquely prepared him to design and produce serious games. Luke graduated magna cum laude with a B.S.E. in computer engineering and an M.S.E. in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan. He is also a former United States National Junior Pairs Figure Skating Champion.
Martha Amram is the CEO and led the launch of GLYNT.AI, a machine learning solution for the extraction of data from documents. Previously, Martha led WattzOn, which is the leading software platform for utility bill data, was a Managing Director at Navigant Consulting, Vice President at Analysis Economics and was on the faculty at Boston University. Martha has written extensively on the topics of financial valuation, corporate strategy and uncertainty. She is the author of four books (McGraw-Hill, Harvard Business School Press, translated into five languages), numerous papers and three patents. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from MIT and is a member of the Executive Board of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, the MIT Sloan School Visiting Committee and the board of Growth Sector.
Network Engagement and Grants
Kara Dillard is the grant writer and manager and the network engagement lead at Every Voice Engaged Foundation. Kara is responsible for connecting librarians, teachers, pastors, elected officials, issue experts and scientists and scholars who want to use civic-deliberative technology to the Every Voice Engaged Foundation. Drawing from her extensive background as a publishing academic, deliberative practitioner, and online engagement designer, Kara works to introduce users to CGA, to train them as moderators and to ensure their deliberative forums succeed. Kara is currently an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies at James Madison University and research director at JMU’s Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue. She is an expert in online deliberation, having developed innovative programs and curriculum to convene civil discussions using the CGA online deliberation platform. She has published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Political Science Education, and the International Journal of Communication. She holds degrees in communication studies and a PhD in political and rural sociology from Kansas State University.
Gary Green is responsible for technical maintenance, operations, and enhancements for the Every Voice Engaged Foundation and the Common Ground for Action (CGA) platform. He is currently focused on infrastructure upgrades that will enable a mobile first user experience. After leading software development teams at Cisco for 15 years, Gary is reconnecting with his engineering roots. He developed low-level networking software at Cisco prior to transitioning to a team leadership role. He developed laser printer software for Apple products while at Adobe. Like many engineers in Silicon Valley, he’s had years of startup experience. Gary has a BS EE from Virgina Tech and a MS CS from Loyola University, Baltimore. Gary has led his son’s Cub Scout pack for the past 4 years and hopes his son will see the benefit of community engagement that scouting provides and will advance to the rank of Eagle Scout, the same as he did.
Amy Lee is the lead product experience manager at Every Voice Engaged. Amy is responsible for designing development stories, organizing development sprints, and ensuring quality product development that meets the civic-deliberative needs of Every Voice Engaged Foundation and Common Ground for Action (CGA) users. Amy is also the Associate Director of the Institute for Democratic Engagement & Accountability at The Ohio State University. Her focus is developing and testing practical innovations to make democracy both more participatory and also more deliberative. Prior to coming to OSU, Amy was a program officer for eight years with the Kettering Foundation, a research foundation that studies deliberative democracy, particularly democratic decision making. At Kettering, she led the development of the foundation’s platform for online deliberative forums, Common Ground for Action. Amy was also a 2018 Marshall Memorial Fellow, participating in the German Marshall Fund’s immersive program for emerging leaders focusing on the transatlantic engagement and collaboration.
Anshul is a student passionate about computer science for social good. He has completed a range of Advanced Placement Courses – including AP Computer Science and Data Structures & Algorithms – and is proficient in various coding languages, including Java, Python, Javascrip, HTML, CSS, PHP, and JSON. Anshul is adept with professional tools and frameworks for modern web development – including Node.js (e.g., NPM, Yarn, Spring, Express), Apache Maven, Stripe, FastAPI, React, and React Native – and has experience deploying on AWS, Azure, and Firebase. Anshul has leveraged his computer science skillset to design technical solutions for community service organizations and create positive change.
Dr. Andrea Christelle
Proposal Developer at Dine College and founder of Sedona Philosophy.
Ms. Chelsea Collier
Founder of Digi.City and Editor-at-Large for Smart Cities Connect.
Dr. John Gastil
Distinguished Professor in Communication Arts & Sciences and Political Science and Senior Scholar at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University.
Dr. Eric Gordon
Visiting Professor of civic media in the Department of Comparative Media Studies and Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor of civic media and the director of the Engagement Lab at Emerson College.
Dr. Sylvester Johnson
Dr. Jonathan Kingzette
Visiting Scholar in the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability at Ohio State University and Data Analyst at Campbell & Company.
Ms. Robin Teater
Past Executive Director of Healthy Democracy Oregon.