Civic Engagement Assistant, Center for the Future of Arizona
Madison Neanover is a native Phoenician and self-described cheerleader for democracy. She is passionate about guiding young people through the process of self-empowerment, innovative problem solving, and developing strong, resilient communities. As the Civic Engagement Assistant at the Center for the Future of Arizona, she supports the participatory budgeting program within Phoenix Union High School District where students are afforded the decision-making power over a portion of the district’s budget. Madison also mentors the Buckeye Youth Council in a program called DemocraSeed, where members apply design-thinking to create solutions for community-based problems. In December 2017, Madison graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Service and Public Policy. Her area of study focuses on sustainability, creative city development, and participatory budgeting.
Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?
Our democratic landscape is evolving, and it is doing so ever more rapidly. People are seeking greater meaning in their lives – work, play, interests, and governments. Participatory democracy provides a platform for people to meaningfully engage in their communities – at the local, state, and federal level. I think it is important to explore innovations in participatory democracy because it broadens our platform for engagement, community building, and problem-solving.
What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?
One of the key distinctions between resilient and non-resilient communities is the presence of strong social networks. I am excited by the opportunity to bridge and bond social capital through the 2018 IPD Conference that will, hopefully, result in greater resiliency throughout our global community.