Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century

The bipartisan Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was launched in 2018 to explore how best to respond to the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in our political and civic life and to enable more Americans to participate as effective citizens in a diverse 21st-century democracy. 

In June 2020, the Commission issued 31 recommendations for strengthening democracy in the report Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, including reform to political institutions, investment in civil society, and transforming our political culture. Learn more about the people and process that produced Our Common Purpose here

With the publication and broad distribution Our Common Purpose, the focus is now on advancing its recommendations to achieve empowerment for all, responsive and effective governance, and a resilient and healthy civic culture, characterized by a shared commitment of Americans to one another and constitutional democracy. Work is underway to pursue significant progress on all of its recommendations by 2026, the nation’s 250th anniversary. 

Implementation Working Group

  • Danielle Allen (cochair)

  • Stephen Heintz (cochair) 

  • Eric Liu (cochair) 

  • Sam Gill 

  • Marie Griffith 

  • Antonia Hernandez 

  • Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg 

  • Norm Ornstein 

  • Pete Peterson 

  • Miles Rapoport 

  • Ben Vinson 


The Academy is collaborating with a diverse set of over 60 organizations to champion the report’s recommendations around the country.


Support for advancing the recommendations in Our Common Purpose is provided by the  S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, The Suzanne Nora Johnson and David G. Johnson Foundation, the Clary Family Charitable Fund, Alan and Lauren Dachs, Sara Lee Schupf and the Lubin Family Foundation, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, and David M. Rubenstein.

Join the organizations supporting the recommendations.