About Us

What if...

What if… we could make the future brighter than today?

What if… everyone had the discussion skills to work together?

What if… we could help America talk?

We are the Interactivity Foundation, a non-advocacy and non-partisan operating foundation. We are commonly abbreviated as “IF” in part to convey the core motif of exploring possibilities, to ask, “what if…?”

IF has been strengthening democracy through discussion for decades by bringing people together around emerging issues of shared public concern.


We bring people together in meaningful discussions that expand imagination, build social trust, and improve discussion skills necessary for everyday democracy. Our discussion design and resources empower people to practice democratic discussions in communities, classrooms, and workplaces.


We envision a future where all people have the opportunity and discussion skills to come together to explore emerging concerns for the purpose of co-imagining pathways forward. We imagine a future with the civic infrastructure necessary for people to engage in meaningful discussions that expand public imagination, build social trust, and strengthen democratic participation.

Imagine. Discuss. Collaborate.

Our Priorities


Explore emerging topics of public concern, to anticipate and develop multiple pathways forward.


Build the civic infrastructure necessary to come together to have meaningful discussions that can change your community. 


Nurture the skills and mindsets necessary to productively learn with others. 

With the space to discuss our differences and the skills to work together to envision a different future, anything is possible.

Our Values

  • Community
  • Imagination
  • Collaboration 

Creating a Greater We

We believe in bringing people together in conversation to expand public imagination, deepen social trust, and collaboratively build a better society for everyone.

Supporting Visionary Possibilities

We believe everyone deserves the chance to envision new possibilities for the future that can defy the status quo and discover new ways of addressing shared challenges.

Nurturing Collaborative Intelligence

We believe people can develop the skills and habits of mind necessary to be able to work with others to improve their lives and their communities.

Modeling Confident Humility

We believe in asking questions and emphasizing listening. Discussions should encourage exploration, collaboration, and guided discovery. We advance processes, not answers.

Learn more about how you can support our work

Meet Our Team

Headquartered in West Virginia, Interactivity Foundation programs are designed and implemented by a national team that pioneers new models of collaborative and exploratory discussion.

Our Founders

“Wouldn’t it be better if there were mechanisms that allowed leaders to examine alternative approaches before decisions absolutely had to be made? Wouldn’t it be better if leaders had the advantage of deliberation on possibilities from both experts and those of practical bent? Wouldn’t there be some benefit in combining the reflections of wise advisers with ideas that tapped citizen understandings of what choices should be made?” 

These questions prompted Jay and Margaret Stern to launch the Interactivity Foundation in 2002 as an operating foundation focused on conducting its own projects designed to engage citizens in meaningful exploratory discussion. They brought on a small, full-time staff of Fellows who helped to co-develop IF’s original discussion process and who would go on to conduct citizen discussion projects to generate contrasting policy possibilities for complex areas of public concern. The purpose was to engage more citizens in thinking imaginatively and expansively of policy possibilities for a healthy democratic society. After years of experimentation, the IF Process has evolved and expanded beyond Jay and Margaret’s original intent. 

Although Jay and Margaret are no longer with us, IF remains a living tribute to the highest ideals of its founders.

Explore IF’s
Biannual Reports