What is my Role?

Thank you for your interest in hosting a Common Ground conversation. By hosting a Common Ground event, you create meaningful connections between your guests, which helps build a stronger, safer, and more resilient region. 

As a host, you create your own gathering. Hosts can be any Cuyahoga, Lake or Geauga County resident or organization who wants to bring people together for a forward-looking conversation. Hosts choose the day, location and time of day that works best for them. Some hosts choose to open their conversations to the public, and some choose to only invite people they know. To support the conversation, Common Ground will provide resources to help hosts create valuable, civil conversations around the theme for 2022.

There are several different ways to participate in a Common Ground event. Whether you would like to host, volunteer to help lead the conversation, or just attend, there is a place for everyone at a Common Ground conversation. Which role will you play?

Commonground2019 neighbortoneighbor northclifferoad
Host Role

Host Role

Hosts are passionate community members who take action to bring people together. They make time to plan, organize and engage members of our community. They build, connect, and share.

Facilitator Role

Facilitator Role

Facilitators help create a space where all voices are welcomed, heard, and respected. They work with the host to craft the best possible experience for guests. They ensure that all voices are heard.

Participant Role

Participant Role

Participants are curious and looking to uncover something new. They may observe, participate, or ask probing questions. They come to Common Ground to meet, connect, and discover.

Commonground2018 freshwater

Growing Common Ground: A Look into the Five Year History

Each year, Common Ground chooses a theme to help hosts as they consider how to build their conversations. Common Ground events can focus on any topic, but it may be helpful to consider the community issue you are passionate about through a different lens.

Last summer, as the world continued to shift around us, we invited you to join us to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Common Ground. As we continued to reckon with a global pandemic, we were also inspired to inquire deeply about systems of power and their impact on people and a sense of place. Common Ground 2021 conversations picked up threads of past conversations and wove them together with new experiences to create a strong, resilient social fabric.

Past Common Ground themes have encouraged residents to think intentionally about the enviroments we inhabit and how they impact who we are. We have aslo discussed the question of "Why Place Matters". Common Ground themes have helped to spark robust and powerful conversations among thousands of Greater Clevelanders over the years. Join your neighbours for another engaging and exciting Common Ground in 2022

Add your voice to the conversation. Subscrite to our email newsletter to receive updates about Common Ground 2022.

Past Conversation Questions:

  • How can we strengthen the connections between us to build community?
  • Why does place matter?
  • My Enviroment was.. My enviroment is.. My enviroment will be ?

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there costs associated with hosting?

There is no entry cost to become a host. Hosts do cover the cost of their events including food, refreshments, rentals, or other event needs. To support these events, the Cleveland Foundation will provide promotional support, registration infrastructure, trainings, hosting guides, and day-of-event kits including materials for the conversation and guests.

If I fill out the Common Ground Host Registration form, is our organization committed to hosting, or is there a selection process?

There is no selection process to become a host. If you fill out a host form, we will sign you up to host. However, we do ask that you not use Common Ground conversations to promote a business, products, consulting services, or political campaigns. All Common Ground hosts are required to provide a safe space for open, honest dialogue.

What is the difference between hosting a public or private event?

This depends mostly on who you want to have at your event. For public events we open up registrations to all via our website and social media properties. For private events, you would manage your invitations yourself and the foundation would make sure your registration page is only accessible to the people you invite. As you consider whether you want to open your event to the public or keep your event private, ask the following questions:

Would you like to attract a diverse audience of people to your conversation? Are you hosting as an organization and want to welcome more people to learn about your organization? Do you want to connect with people you might not have come into contact with previously? If you answered yes to these questions, you will want to consider opening up your conversation to the public.

Or, do you want to have complete control over who you invite and who attends your conversation? Are you hosting at your home or place of business and don’t really feel comfortable opening to the public? Do you have a very specific topic you want to discuss with a specific group of people (neighbors, parishioners, group members)? If you answered yes to these questions, you will probably want to keep your conversation private.

Do we need to get our conversation topic approved?

Each year, Common Ground is based on a theme. Past themes include "Why Place Matters," and "My Environment Was... My Environment Is... My Environment Will Be..." The Common Ground 2021 theme was "Growing Common Ground: People, Place, Shared Power."

We ask that while planning your topic you consider the year's theme in your discussion, but you don't need to have your topic approved by the foundation. However, we do ask that you not use Common Ground conversations to promote a business, products, consulting services, or political campaigns. If you are still unsure, attending the Common Ground host and conversation training will help. Sign up on our Events page here.

How many people should we plan to have at our event?

We recommend you plan your event around individual groups of 6-10 people to help create convenient small groups for conversation. For an in-person event, we recommend you think about the number of tables you will have with 6-8 people. For a virtual event, consider using a breakout room tool or another method to break a larger group into smaller ones. You can have as large or as small an event as you would like, whether it is one table or twenty.


Common Ground offers assistance with registration, promotion, and agenda building to all hosts. Use the resources below to help build your event.

Common ground 2019   data information   you web

Stay Tuned To Start Building Your Event For 2022

Each Common Ground event starts with a passionate community member like you. Subscribe to our email newsletter so you do not miss announcements regarding Common Ground 2022.  

Submit Your Event

share this page