Our Challenge

The 2016 election made one thing clear: the Democratic Party must develop stronger relationships with progressive groups that are working toward shared goals. These organizations, responding to threats to basic rights and values, represent an activist energy that’s challenging the conservative ascendancy in Washington DC and many state capitals. But many groups are skeptical of traditional political parties and organizing. To be successful in realizing the progressive agenda -- in the ‘18 midterms and beyond -- building trust and learning from and supporting the work of these activist organizations is critical. To that end, the Monroe County Democratic Party has launched the DEMOCRACY LAB.

Most simply, DEMOCRACY LAB is incubator space and relevant services made available for progressive organizations. Participating organizations have access to a large conference room, several co-working desks, a multimedia support room, office amenities, and advice and guidance from staff experienced in organizing advocacy, change, and impact. The incubator is modeled after business incubators that help new start-ups grow by co-locating them together, offering shared resources, and facilitating the adhoc collisions that can accelerate impact. Participating in DEMOCRACY LAB does not involve any affiliation with the Democratic Party, but only renting space and services to help accomplish a group’s goals. It is conveniently located downtown at 116 South Madison Street, and includes access to parking.

Resources at the Democracy Lab

  • Meeting Space: 24/7 access to a 500-square-foot conference room, also convertible into a classroom set up. Additional access to smaller private meeting rooms.
  • Secure storage space: for materials, files, equipment, etc.
  • Multimedia Equipment and Support: access to a Media Lab offering advanced tools needed to create videos, podcasts, graphic design, mailings and more. The lab and its equipment are available upon request, at no charge, with support in their use.
  • Collaboration and Consultation: A key part of DEMOCRACY LAB’S impact will be collaboration among groups. Members are strongly encouraged to find ways to work together and better leverage their respective strengths, and to access expertise from individuals with deep experience in leading change.

Cost to Participants

Basic DEMOCRACY LAB membership is $75 a month. Mayor John Hamilton of Bloomington strongly supports this effort and will subsidize $50 of that cost per month for the first ten accepted groups through at least 2018. Thus, the first group participants will only pay $25 a month. Sign up today! For more details, contact us at [email protected]

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