How to Work with Essential Partners

Changing any stuck conversation is only possible through careful planning and a foundation of trust. That’s why we pride ourselves on close collaboration with our partners—whether for one event or multiple years.

Talk us through the challenge that your organization, team, or group is experiencing. We'll collaborate with you to identify the specific needs of your community or organization, then design a customized program to have the greatest long-term impact. After the program, we offer continuing support for participants through online resources, a peer-to-peer community of practice, and learning opportunities.

Reach out to our Program team to begin a discussion about your goals. From there, we’ll connect you with the practitioner best suited to meet your needs, approach, and timeline.

Frequently asked questions

But what if I’m part of just a small organization?

We work with organizations of all sizes—from hundreds of faith leaders to university departments to small nonprofits. With 25 years of experience, our organization has refined our approach and built extensive experience in the nonprofit, academic, public, and corporate sectors. With a solid anchor in our core values and the foundations of our method, we are able to cater to the distinct needs, concerns, and cultures of our partners to maximize the impact of our work together.

But what if I’m just a person?

That’s OK! We’re people, too. We still want to talk to you. Maybe you are preparing to facilitate a conversation that’s perhaps larger, more contentious, or saturated with stronger personalities than you’re used to. Perhaps you find yourself starting a new role with unexpected challenges in your team. Would you like to start new conversations in your community or organization? We offer coaching and consultation for individuals, but we can also use an initial conversation to help you think about how to move forward with a larger group conversation.

But what if I'm not in Boston?

Not a problem! We work with organizations across the U.S. and all over the world. Contact us to begin a conversation about how we can support your project or goals.

But what if my community needs a unique, long-term solution?

Every community potentially has different and unique divisive challenges. We’re building a nation-wide web of relationship-based approach to civic dialogue called Civic Engagement Incubators (CEI) for communities to respond to challenges as they arise. We are developing the capacity for communities to organize and facilitate structured dialogues across difference. Through training local leaders to facilitate dialogues, and supporting communities as they continue the process for themselves, we are helping to build sustainable, thriving cultures of courageous conversations. For more information on our dynamic CEI program, click HERE.

But what if I’m conservative...isn’t this all for hippies?

Essential Partners isn't in the business of changing anyone’s mind. We don’t force compromise where compromise may not be possible, or push you toward an agreement you aren’t prepared to make. Instead, we see our role as supporting conversations where each person feels heard, and where each person can hear others. Rather than impartial, we see ourselves as omni-partial —on every side. It isn’t our job to advocate. Our work is helping people feel understood and better understand others, no matter what side of the aisle they’re on.

But what if I need funding for this work?

Essential Partners is committed to supporting individuals, organizations, and institutions eager to break free from the alienation and dysfunction among groups unable to communicate with one another. We have collaborated with organizations, universities, and communities of faith to secure funding on behalf of a specific project. If you’re a funder, we encourage you to connect with us directly to learn more about the partnerships in need of financial support, or check out our sponsored projects.

Start a conversation with us today about your project idea or your community’s needs. Email our Program Manager Katie Hyten or call 617.923.1216 ext.27.

186 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge MA 02138
186 Alewife Brook Parkway, Suite 212, Cambridge, MA 02138
186 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Suite 212, Cambridge MA 02138