February 2022


Bridge Alliance

Our first MasterMind Cohort for 2022 commenced Thursday, January 27, 2022. Unlike our previous cohorts, this year we are dedicating each cohort to a specific focus, starting with teaching leaders to operate with a racial equity lens. We hope you will stay tuned for the exciting results to come from a cohort with such an important focus area. 

In MMC Alum news, cohort 3 alum, Lida Azim and America Indivisible are welcoming applicants for their 2022Public Leaders for Inclusion Council! This sunday, February 27, 2022, is the last day to submit applications. So if you know anyone who might be from a small-town or rural community and has experience engaging with or conducting outreach to vulnerable and/or bigotry-impacted communities, please send them the application!

Cohort 4 alum, Gregory Kendrick, was recently featured in a Spectrum 1 News article highlighting his work at the historic Cory United Methodist Church in Cleveland, OH. Cory United has been a “historic and cultural landmark in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood”. The Church now has an Ohio historical marker and is now the first stop on Cleveland’s African American Civil Rights Trail, a project of the Cleveland Restoration Society.

Cohort 3 alum, Benjamin Singer, has been doing big things with Show Me Integrity! They are currently partnering with a St. Louis coalition of democracy, equity, good government, and business leaders to publish Proposition R for Reform on the April 5, 2022 ballot to ban gerrymandering and conflicts of interest. Check out the dynamic public radio story here! 

Show Me Integrity supporter Peggy Barnhart, a Republican activist, recently wrote an eloquent letter-to-the-editor on why Missouri's Better Elections ballot initiative improves accountability and representation for Missourians. Lastly, This September's Unity Awards Gala will be honoring former US Senator John Danforth and business leader LaShana Lewis.  If you'd like to be involved, please email Benjamin Singer at [email protected].  

Cohort 2 Alum, Dorian Spears recently moved to Memphis to serve as a Program Partnerships & Strategy Lead for GET Cities (Gender Equality in Tech). She works in a space that celebrates and elevates Black, brown, and Indigneous women of color who have been pushed to the margins, including trans and non-binary LGBTQIA+. She says their “work spans three geographies: Chicago, DC area, and Miami…and metrics for success include: 1) Women graduating with a 4-year degree in computer science, 2) Employment that strengthens their tech abilities in the workforce, and 3) Increasing venture capital funding for women aspiring toward entrepreneurship. It is funded by Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda French Gates to advance social progress in the United States. Be sure to check out more about GET here!

Bridge Alliance is beyond proud of the advancements being made by our Mastermind Cohort Alumni. These community and organization leaders are expanding their work in amazing ways and so is the Bridge Alliance. As we increase the span of our work, we must remain diligent about maintaining a strong support system; space for necessary and productive conversations; and the financial flexibility to take advantage of collaboration opportunities. Find out how you can play a huge role in making that happen!

Bridge Alliance thanks you and we hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy. For more information on our current diversity and opportunity efforts and how you can provide further support, please visit the Bridge Alliance Website.

Warm regards,
Shakira Mills for the MMC Alum Support team
On behalf of 
Debilyn Molineaux | Co-Founder, President and CEO
Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, Chief Program Officer


August 2021

Most people might associate the word “revival” with the season of spring. And, yes, I’m well aware that this fall doesn’t appear to be much of a revival period at first glance. But, hey, Toys R Us is back, so it really seems like anything is possible...and if the 2020’s have taught me anything, it is to be prepared for the unexpected! More importantly, what’s not surprising at all is that our MasterMind Cohort alumni continue to revive democracy and connection through their crucial work. They are a shining example of how to navigate uncertainty in a powerful and effective way. Check out the following updates on what our alumni have been up to! If fall doesn’t revive your spirit, these updates will.

First up is Paul Swearengin of cohort #2! When we met Paul, he was an Author, Content Creator, Commentator, and Personal Development Mentor for Nonpartisan Evangelical. The mission of his organization was to challenge mindsets, build community, and move to action those in or impacted by the identity politics of the evangelical church. Paul creates space for those who have lost their access to the churches because they no longer meet the political litmus tests of the evangelical movement. 

Read more here.

July 2021

Do you consider yourself a “glass half full” or a “glass half empty” person? Either way, we’d like to challenge you to get away from those terms. Thinking in extremes or seeing things with a “black and white” lens can be dangerous because it limits our ability to navigate the “grey spaces” within our lives. We find that our MasterMind Alumni thrive off these spaces. They are consistently breaking the boxes they are put in by society, whether that be redefining what it means to be “extremely conservative.” “extremely feminine,” or “extremely” anything, really. Bridge Alliance is repeatedly surprised and motivated by what our alumni have accomplished, which is why we’d like to share some exciting updates with you.

Lisa D.T. Rice, Independent political strategist, policy adviser, and member of Cohort #5, is using her creativity to gracefully fight against ignorance. e realize “graceful” and “fight” don’t traditionally go together; but, if you’ve met Lisa, you know exactly what we mean. For those of you who don’t know her, Lisa also serves on the Board of Unite America and is the Chair of Unite America's PAC board. What you might not know about Lisa is that she loves to quilt. Recently, she created a mini-quilt for submission to the D.C. Modern Quilt Guild’s Modern Patriotic Show.

Read more here.

June 2021

2021, in a lot of ways, is just as difficult as 2020. Extroverts are clamoring to get out of the house, while introverts are hoping for a few moments of solitude. How have you found purpose through difficult times? For us, it was the ability to gather virtually with changemakers through convenings like MasterMind Cohort! Here are updates to inspire you if you’ve felt “out of steam” lately.

Jeanelle Austinis from our very first cohort and continues to impress us with her initiative and passion for social justice work. She is the lead caretaker at The George Floyd Global Memorial and was recently featured in a video produced by two-time Emmy award nominated journalist Georgia Fort. In the video, Jeanelle discusses the current state of George Floyd Square and how the space will be preserved as a global memorial site.

Read more here.

February 2021

We are only two months into the new year and so much is already happening in the Diversity and Opportunity realm of the Healthy Self Governance movement.

Justine Lee, Mastermind Alum and new Executive Director for Living Room Conversations, is hosting a live event next Saturday, March 6, 2021 titled “The Future Through the Eyes of Youth Leaders.” Lee invites you to watch six young advocates explore their aspirations for the world they're inheriting in this special Living Room Conversation. They'll share their experiences in civic engagement, bridge building, and what drives them to make an impact in their communities. More information on the event can be found here.

Read more here.


January 2021

2021 is here and Bridge Alliance can confidently say that we and our associates ended the last year on a good note (considering the national circumstances) and have walked into the new year with optimism and a new set of initiatives. This year, we will be putting our efforts into:

  1. Diversifying and deepening our relationships
  2. Scaling the Healthy Self-Governance Movement
  3. Heightening the visibility of the Healthy Self-Governance Movement
  4. Facilitating convenings and community building within the democracy field 
  5. Creating a public facing portal that can be used by the public as well

Read more here.


October 2020

With a major election and a new year around the corner, Bridge Alliance’s focus is on the future. How can we fix a system that has divided us so drastically? How do we ensure our nation prioritizes equity and equality as it moves forward? Bridge Alliance and our 100 member organizations are crafting and testing answers to these questions every day as part of the Healthy Self-Governance Movement. Here is the latest on those efforts.

Read more here.

September 2020

This month in Mastermind news, our alumni have been busy! Shannon Zerfas, founder of The Thread Weekly says she has had “steady organic audience growth” since the ending of cohort #2. During the cohort, Shannon worked on expanding her e-news platform. She has now “formed connections with universities across the country and ha[s] [had] the pleasure of working with four policy research interns” to get her platform in front of a larger audience. With these new resources, Shannon is reconstructing The Thread and plans to re-launch soon with a much improved structure. 

Read more here.