A Functional Democracy
Local government is important. It affects us all. Whether we’re talking about the air we breathe, the water we drink, the energy we use, or the parks we play in, local government matters.
And yet, most of us don't know how to get involved. Voter turnout for local elections in 10 of America's 30 largest cities is consistently less than 15 percent.
That's where A Functional Democracy comes in. With our "Beginner's Guide To Local Government" coloring book, workshops, happy hours, and lecture series, we make it as easy as possible for you to get involved.
So think of this as your formal invitation. Even if you've never voted in a local election before, we're here for you. We'll walk you through the basics so you can get inspired, get connected, and make a difference... right in your own backyard.
"We have what amounts to three branches in our city government: elected officials, city employees, and people just like you who are willing to serve on boards and commissions. If you read this book, you'll be more than qualified to serve your city, and we need your help."
— Austin Mayor Steve Adler
Beyond the book
Want to take your civics education to the next level? Want to bring A Functional Democracy and our "Beginner's Guide To Local Government" directly to your school, university, social club, office, or craft fair?
We can do that.
A Functional Democracy offers discounted prices for bulk book purchases, as well as a lecture and workshop series for a more personalized and comprehensive civic education experience. Perfect for universities or businesses!
Contact us for more information. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How It All Began
In early 2015, A Functional Democracy cofounder Amy Stansbury was frustrated. She was working as a local news reporter in Austin, Texas and was tired of showing up to empty City Council meetings. She was witnessing firsthand what happens when people don't get involved in their local democracy - extremists win and everyone suffers.
And then an idea popped into her head - why not teach people how to get involved?
That's when she started putting together online resources and hosting community happy hours - all with the goal of helping Austinites figure out who represents them at City Hall and how to advocate for the issues that really matter to them.
But something was missing. Amy wanted a way to make civics more fun and accessible. And that's when she met A Functional Democracy cofounders, Hal Wuertz and Jordan Shade, two designers and artists passionate about civic duty.
While Amy was holding civics happy hours, Hal and Jordan were using art to make civics more accessible, and were creating participatory art projects about building community and increasing representation.
And bam! Just like that, a partnership was born.