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Unify Montrose: Final Deliberation Community Report

Sara Drury

Sara Drury

Mar 1, 2024

May 20, 2024

Unify Montrose: Final Deliberation Community Report

The mission of the Unify Montrose project was bold: a group of randomly selected residents, representative of the demographics of their community, would deliberate together over the course of 12 weeks to converge on solutions to a pressing problem in the community: the shortage of affordable childcare in Montrose.

Did it work? What was the process? Why childcare? Who is Unify Montrose? And what is deliberation, anyway? If you’re asking any of those questions, welcome. You’ve come to the right place.

The following pages explain who was involved in the 12-week deliberation and how the childcare shortage was selected as the focus for the deliberation even though (as in every community) there are many issues deserving of attention. This report describes what happened during each of the 12 weeks of deliberating and provides the results of that process. Finally, it shares insights from the Unify Montrose deliberation and describes innovations attempted.

First, though—what is deliberation, anyway?

Deliberation, defined

All over the world, and most recently in Montrose, Colorado, people are using deliberation to make decisions that are wise and well-informed and that affect their lives and their communities.

Unlike a political process, where different interests are competing with each other to get their way, the process of deliberation brings people together for well-informed and respectful conversation, takes advantage of their different experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives, and asks them to learn from each other to create a “collective wisdom” to determine how best to achieve a Shared Goal.

For Unify Montrose, the Shared Goal took shape over the course of many weeks and after many conversations with over 70 parents, childcare leaders, government officials, and other Montrose residents. In its final form, the Shared Goal for Unify Montrose was phrased like this:

Shared Goal

“Every parent and guardian in Montrose shall have access to dependable, safe, affordable, and enriching childcare options so they can work, attend school, or otherwise contribute to our community.”

Over 12 weeks, the Unify Montrose Assembly of 46 Montrose residents participated in a series of online conversations where they got to know one another, learned about the childcare problem in great detail, discussed and weighed the merits of various ways of solving the problem, and ultimately voted on whether any of those possible solutions would improve the current situation.

Ready to read the full Community Report?

Download your copy of the full 96-page report on the Unify Montrose deliberation on childcare!


About Unify Montrose and Unify America

The deliberation in Montrose was organized by Unify America in partnership with local leaders in the Montrose community. That partnership, eventually including the 46 residents who made up the deliberating Assembly, was named Unify Montrose. Unify America is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to replace political fighting with problem solving. Partnering with communities, non-profits, and other organizations, Unify America combines interactive technology and entertainment with best practices in civil discourse and deliberation to reduce political polarization, teach problem-solving skills, and empower people to make civic change. Unify America is supported by individual donations and grants from organizations like the El Pomar Foundation, the Boettcher Foundation, and more. You can read more about the Unify Montrose Childcare Deliberation in the final Montrose community report here.

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