Akron Community Foundation

Welcome to the Unify Challenge!

It’s human nature to feel comfortable with “our own tribe”... but it’s not so healthy for our country. In the Unify Challenge, you'll join a one-on-one online conversation with another person who may vote or think differently than you do.

It's a simple, guided conversation that helps you share your ideas and hear a fresh perspective on some of the most important issues in our country.

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Ready to have a conversation with a fellow American about shared goals for our country?

Sign Up for the Unify Challenge
Illustration - two characters taking the Unify Challenge

What’s the Unify Challenge?

It’s a live one-on-one online conversation (like Zoom) with another person who may live across the state and have a different outlook on things. It’s not a debate. It’s an invitation to have a productive, open conversation with a fellow American to find common ground and talk about issues our country faces.

What’s the conversation about?

You may be thinking… “A video conversation with a complete stranger? What will we talk about?” Don’t worry. We make it super easy.

Together, you’ll talk through questions provided in a conversation guide about issues that matter most in America from education and immigration to justice and healthcare. And you don't have to be “into politics” — no prep needed!

Who can participate?

If you’re over 18 and live in America….you!

When is it?

We usually have a few dates every month that you can choose from. You can start your sign-up process and then see your date options here.

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Illustration - Characters chatting in a Unify Challenge

How does the matching work?

Based on the information you provide when you officially register, we’ll match you across differences. You may be matched with someone who votes differently than you, has a different background, or lives in a different part of the state.

Even though a Challenge pair may vote for candidates from different parties and may watch different cable news channels, they both may care about affordable housing or immigration reform.

Sign up and learn more about matching and what to expect.

What happens if my partner and I don’t get along?

People worry about conflict during the Unify Challenge, but it just doesn’t happen. Thousands of people have taken the Challenge and are surprised by how often they agree with their partner, find common ground, and really enjoy the interaction. Why? People who choose to take the Challenge share a love of country and want to keep it strong, not divided.

It’s also amazing what happens when you are face-to-face on a video call, rather than faceless behind a keyboard on social media. We just are a whole lot friendlier and interested in listening and learning.

However, if at any point during the discussion an issue arises, live support hosts are available to assist.

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Other questions

Is this part of a political campaign? (It's not.)

No. The Unify Challenge is a program developed by Unify America, a cross-partisan nonprofit organization, working with the Country First team.

Who will I be paired up with? What if we don’t get along?

You will be paired with another person in America who you wouldn’t ordinarily interact with in your daily life. You may not always agree (and that’s the beauty of it!) but everyone does this with the best of intentions. People worry that they'll be paired with a troll or someone combative. In our experience, this simply doesn't happen. But if it does, you can just leave the conversation and contact us.

I’m not a political expert. Do I need to do homework?

Nope. No need to prepare at all.

How are people matched?

Our system tries to match folks who are political opposites first. Sometimes, people who are more politically aligned but are different geographically or demographically get matched. We have a special experience for those Challenge matches!

Will my email address or contact info be shared with my partner?

No. We protect your privacy. Some people really like getting to know each other and may choose to share contact info — but that’s entirely up to you!

Do you screen participants?

People worry about this and wonder if they’ll encounter a troll. To date, we have never had this issue. Unify America attracts folks who are worried about toxic polarization. Most have had politics divide their families and friends. These are people who are part of the “exhausted majority.” On the off-chance you get matched with an idiot, you can always just hit the Help button or simply close your browser.

How much time will it take?

Plan for about an hour. Sometimes it takes less time… and sometimes partners go longer because they are so interested in the conversation.

What kind of computer setup do I need?

You will need a desktop or a laptop computer that you can use for a video call. The experience won’t work on a mobile phone. We will walk you through everything — it’s easy.

Need more details?

Here’s a short video on exactly how the Unify Challenge works:

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Let’s come together and find the power in sharing different views.

Sign Up for the Unify Challenge
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