• Romesh Ratnesar
    Deputy Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Paul Steiger
    Founding editor-in-chief and former CEO of ProPublica
  • Katharine Zaleski
    Co-founder and President, Power to Fly
  • Charles Best
    Founder and CEO,
  • Heather McGhee
    President, Demos

NationSwell Council members have access to


Meetings with America’s leading problem-solvers
Jeffersonian-style dinners to unpack and advance solutions
Introductions to the broader NationSwell network of innovators
Opportunities for direct service and impact

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  • “NationSwell gives the opportunity for a wider view of how America is actually becoming a better place.”
  • “Such an incomparably high-energy, engaged group! Loved the forum and the chance to put so many good people to work to solve a pressing challenge.”
  • “I left inspired with new ideas for service. I find NationSwell to be a refreshing oasis in the New York of today."
  • "Those were the best questions and suggestions I have ever gotten."

Members of the NationSwell Council know that America faces challenges.
They also believe that those problems are solvable.
Council members are committed to advancing innovations that:

  • bridge the OPPORTUNITY divide
  • make GOVERNMENT work
  • preserve our ENVIRONMENT

“A group of successful people from multiple fields… who are passionate about service to others”

Council events are intimate forums in which members engage in collaborative discussions with featured guests and one another around important national challenges, efforts to solve those challenges, and how best to advance the solutions.

  • May 5, 2017

    Rikers Island Site Visit (New York City)

    NSC member and NYC Department of Correction (DOC) Chief of Staff Jeff Thamkittikasem is hosting a site visit for members to Rikers Island, New York City’s principal jail complex where thousands are incarcerated. Participants will hear from the DOC Commissioner and seek to better understand what actions the city is planning to take and how NSC members can support much-needed reform. Prior to joining, Council members must participate in a conference call (to be scheduled) to ground ourselves in the context of the broader systems at work — including mass incarceration and structural racism, which have affected millions of individuals and families across the country — and to align on the purpose and goals behind our visit.

  • May 9, 2017

    Reimagining Criminal Justice (San Francisco)

    Adam Foss, ‎former assistant district attorney at Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and co-founder and president of Prosecutor Integrity believes we need to completely reinvent the role of prosecutors in our criminal justice system. Foss will share with the Council his vision with the Council for a US justice system built on opportunity, support, and community rather than punishment. He contends that prosecutors wield enormous power and by changing their approach, we can create a system that is both more economically efficient and more just.

  • May 9, 2017

    White Trash: A Conversation with Nancy Isenberg (New York City)

    Nancy Isenberg, author of “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America,” will join the Council for a discussion on the history of the U.S. white working class and its role in political ideology and American identity. Together, we will consider what these insights tell us about the 2016 presidential election and contextualize the state of national division we find ourselves in today. Nancy has been featured on PBS NewsHour and recently wrote in the Washington Post on Five myths about class in America.

  • May 11, 2017

    The Politics of Education (New York City)

    A group of NSC resident experts will discuss how to move politics forward — nationally and locally — in order to attain better outcomes in education. Together, we’ll explore not only what can be done on a policy level, but also the political realities that must first be addressed to foster an environment in which smart ideas can be implemented.

  • May 18, 2017

    National Service Symposium: Cross-Sector Collaboration (New York City)

    In a time of deep national division, a shared experience rooted in citizenship holds the promise to transcend differences, increase proximity, and bring Americans together in common cause. Join NationSwell and Service Year Alliance for a special symposium on national service from 2:00 – 6:00pm. Over the course of the afternoon, participants will learn from expert speakers about the pivotal role of public-private partnerships and cross-sector collaboration, roll up their sleeves, and work together to help realize the vision of the service year as a new civic rite of passage.

  • May 23, 2017

    An Economic Vision for the Future (New York City)

    America faces a range of economic challenges — stagnation, productivity, and income inequality to name a few. What does a new economic vision for the future of the country look like? Join a group of NSC resident experts for a deeply thoughtful conversation about how the many facets can come together to produce a renewed American economy and a prosperous future. Together, we will reflect, ideate, and aim to paint brushstrokes around what that better future could look like and the roadmap to get there.

  • June 27, 2017

    National Security in a New Era: A Conversation with Ambassador William J. Burns

    Ambassador William J. Burns, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Deputy Secretary of State, will join the NSC for a wide-ranging conversation on U.S. foreign policy in a changing international landscape. Ambassador Burns will discuss his role on the Iran nuclear deal, the changing U.S. relationship with Russia, and the biggest international challenges he sees over the next decade.

  • April 26, 2017

    Voting Rights in America (New York City)

    Ari Berman, contributing writer for The Nation magazine and author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America,” will join the Council for a discussion on the history, current state, and future of voting rights in America. From the signing of the monumental Voting Rights Act in 1965 to voter suppression efforts that have gained momentum in recent years, we will explore some of the biggest challenges and solutions to ensure that all American citizens have full access to their constitutional right to vote.

  • April 26, 2017

    National Service Symposium: A Shared Experience (Washington, D.C.)

    In a time of deep national division, a shared experience rooted in citizenship holds the promise to transcend differences, increase proximity, and bring Americans together in common cause. Join NationSwell and Service Year Alliance for a special symposium on national service from 2:00 – 6:00pm. Over the course of the afternoon, participants will learn from expert speakers including Congressman Seth Moulton, former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, and other leaders. Participants will roll up their sleeves and work together to help realize the vision of the service year as a new civic rite of passage.

  • April 20, 2017

    The Great Experiment: America at its Best (New York City)

    The story of America is often viewed as one big experiment in democracy, gradually improved upon over time. Join the NSC for a discussion on where we stand in the course of that great experiment and what America looks like at its best. Matthew Dowd, ABC News political analyst, founder of ListenTo.Us, and author of A New Way: Embracing the Paradox as we Lead and Serve, makes the case that America needs innovative servant leaders to thrive. Jose Antonio Vargas, founder and CEO of Define American and founder of EmergingUS, contends that immigrants and multiculturalism make America great. Together with Matthew and Jose, we will explore these ideas and more.

  • April 12, 2017

    Running for Office (New York City)

    There are 500,000 elected positions in the United States. In a time of national division and concern over the future of our country, many more citizens are considering running for office on the local, state, or national level for the first time. This Council breakfast is geared towards members who are considering running for office and interested in learning how to navigate the experience. We will be joined by resident experts who have firsthand experience running for office as well as Emily Cherniack, founder of New Politics, which recruits and supports military veterans and national service alumni to run for office.

  • April 4, 2017

    A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt (New York City)

    Jonathan Haidt, author of “The Righteous Mind,” will join the Council for a discussion on evidence-based methods for overcoming our national political divide. Jonathan started to promote intergroup civility and mutual understanding. Together, we will discuss ideas for tackling social issues in a way that dampens polarization, rather than ratcheting up discord.

  • March 28, 2017

    Systems Entrepreneurship (New York City)

    Social entrepreneurs face more complex challenges today than ever before. Join Council member Jeff Walker and resident experts for a discussion on the levers that leaders of social enterprises can pull to effectively change systems and maximize direct impact.

  • March 27, 2017

    Redesigning Government for the 21st Century (New York City)

    Parag Khanna, globalization scholar and author of Technocracy in America, will join the Council to discuss what a redesigned U.S. government better suited for the needs of the 21st century might look like. Drawing on the examples of cutting edge countries around the globe, we will learn about pragmatic ideas that have been proven to work in other societies and consider their potential application in America.

  • March 23, 2017

    A Conversation with General John Allen (Washington, D.C.)

    General (Ret.) John Allen, former Commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, will join the Council for a wide-ranging conversation on leadership, national security, and America’s future.

  • March 22, 2017

    NationSwell Forum: We The People (San Francisco)

    Join the Council for a forum on the role of cross-sector and community-driven solutions to move past our national divisions. Together with Council member Lenny Mendonca, who contends that “Progressive Federalism” represents the most constructive path forward, we’ll discuss the greatest opportunities to strengthen and expand social capital and rebuild trust across the country.

  • March 22, 2017

    NationSwell Forum: The Evolving Role of Media (New York City)

    Join the Council for a forum on the evolving role of media and journalism in a new information environment. Together with John Avlon, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, we’ll discuss what it means to be a journalist in 2017, the causes of stratified media, and its effect on our democracy.

“The NationSwell Council - a membership network of innovators”