10 Structural Areas For Action Anywhere


The Shift the Country framework is designed to address the basic structural aspects of American society that are likely to be the greatest challenges during the pandemic, as tyranny emerges in the US, as the Republican party enables nationalistic oligarchy, through the 2020 election, and through possible chaos during the transition of the presidential administration.

The 10 structural areas below are the basic / general structural change areas for reference and use with the 15 tools to help people engage with everything.  Shift the Country will put out more information and ideas for how these can be used, and examples of work that’s already underway as funding comes in to help us do that.

A huge key to the structural areas is that in almost every larger community or regional area of the US, there is likely already work already underway either in government or in the nonprofit sector or private sector or in all three in each of these areas.  Identifying what’s already in place and where there are gaps is critical to engagement.

Civil society obviously doesn’t boil down to ten areas.  There’s more stuff going on in the country.  These ten are meant as a start; as anchor points to get going.  Every one of these structural areas is enormous all on its own – and likely every one of these areas will be critical in the US as we go through 2020 and 2021.


  • Coronavirus Response & Public Health - Short- and long-term information, action, and ideas related to the COVID-19 crisis and related public health and other response or non-response at any level.  This is not about replacing public health systems and institutions, but rather tools/options to help them work better, to increase funding/staffing, to extend reach and effectiveness, and to advocate for strategy and planning.
  • Election Access, Safety, & Security - Information to help people/teams take urgent election at any level as needed for a range of issues – voter enfranchisement, voter suppression, on-site paper ballots, poll site safety & access, cybersecurity, vastly increasing mail-in voting or absentee voter ballot access, election process change education, voter registration, etc.  Info includes ways to tie in with existing work.
  • Food Systems, Security, & Resilience - Short term access to food for survival, and resilience for food systems in crisis.  Longer term transformation to more regional, diversified, healthy food/agricultural systems and distribution with shorter supply chains, increased resilience, and increased efficiency and sustainability.
  • Housing Security & Access - Short-term access and safety of housing and temporary housing for emergency public health measures to mitigate virus spread.  Longer term work to transform housing approaches and paradigms to better facilitate community and connection, stability, equity, access, affordability.
  • Education Structure, Safety, & Access - Short-term access and safety for educational systems & related interdependencies.  Longer term transformation of educational systems to increase access and equity, and to update educational systems to better fit the world, the economy, and the populations they serve.
  • Medical, Health, & Mental Health - Short- and long-term action and advocacy for medical, health, mental health, healthcare, institutions, systems, facilities, policies, ethics, laws, and insurance.  Short-term action may include helping institutions such as hospitals remain functional and financially stable during outbreaks, to have PPE or other equipment for COVID-19, and provisions/housing/food/etc. for staff.  Long-term action across the sector would be more transformative.
  • Law Enforcement, Immigration, & Justice - Short- and long-term engagement to transform policing, justice systems, and immigration paradigms and to shift funding/resources to better facilitate community health, prosperity, and well-being.  Action can anchor to existing recommendations, work, frameworks, resources, groups, and coalitions where they exist at any level.
  • Economic Equity & Resilience - Short-term pressure for business/corporate responsibility at every level on issues tied to the multiple crises.  Short-term advocacy for emergency economic stabilization at all levels in egalitarian ways that better serve all.  Transform the economy and supply chains over the longer term to more sustainable, resilient, and regional production/distribution approaches that better serve communities in a world with increasing disruption.  Catalyze prosperity; facilitate investment that fosters economic resilience, economic justice, the transformation of community landscapes, place-making, entrepreneurialism, innovation, creativity, and problem-solving.
  • Climate, Energy, & Environment - Electrify the country and shift the economy with more sustainable, climate-friendly energy infrastructure.  Advocate for policies, codes, and financial investment that can catalyze massive infrastructure /energy transformation to mitigate climate change, increase infrastructure resilience, energy resilience, disaster resilience, and economic resilience.  Shorten supply chains, shift food and other production to more regionalized/localized systems, increase sustainability.
  • Infrastructure Functionality & Resilience - Short-term vulnerability analysis and action to mitigate pandemic infrastructure and energy disruption due to outbreaks.  Advocate for investment and action at every level to catalyze infrastructure and energy transformation to address changing risk landscape, to mitigate climate change, and to increase resilience and sustainability.

You can help support this shift, talk to people about what we're doing, share it, & sign up to join in on this shiftContributions help us get tools, stories, actions, engagement, messages, and ruckus out and amplified.  To get things to go viral.  To create a phenomenon.  To help more people everyone engage with everything.  To help more people raise an absolute ruckus.  To make shift happen.

This page is an excerpt from the printable Shift the Country framework.

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15 Tools to Help People Engage With Everything
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shift the country - structural change areas
VIDEO: Community Conversations (A Tool)

Having "Community Conversations" is one of the core of the 15 civic engagement tools that can help Shift the Country. These conversations can be online or in-person or both, & single events or a series. They can help us with solving problems & building resilience where we are - like for the pandemic - and also things like re-imagining public safety and racial justice. 9/3/2020. This video is tied to several Shift the Country tools because it relates to several of them - and it is a key tool for doing civic engagement, if not made more challenging by the pandemic.  Still, there are ways to make it work, to solve community problems, to drive community agendas, and to help people help each other through.

VIDEO: Inaugural Video, Shift the Country (Ep 001)

Episode 001 of FB Live and other broadcasts to come.  8/1/2020.  Executive Director Vanessa Burnett and Gary Monti from the Board of Directors kick off the series with a 60-minute overview of the work planned by the new Shift the Country nonprofit.  In the spirit of adaptability, the first 3 minutes is dead air as we were working out the broadcast bumps.  It's a work in progress. Broadcast covers the mission, 5 principles, 5-part strategy, 15 civic engagement tools, 10 structural change areas, and context and structure behind the work - such as countering tyranny, nationalist oligarchy, and addressing a massive pandemic catastrophe.

VIDEO: ODNI Stops Some Intel Briefings To Congress

Reaction to reporting that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has stopped in-person election interference intelligence briefings to Congress (see MSNBC story on this subject also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQjMkrolv8o). August 30, 2020. Also discusses certain areas for civic engagement related to this news and what it means for the US.

VIDEO: These 6 Months Are The Fight Of Our Lives

We're in some stuff. This one is on the 5 main parts of the risk landscape in front of us between now and February - through the election and transition of administrations. Plus - how do we survive? August 30, 2020.  The 5 main parts of the risk landscape include 1) the out of control coronavirus pandemic (and complex system interruptions and related cascading effects); 2) emerging authoritarianism in the US; 3) the influence of a growing nationalist oligarchy on destabilization in the US; 4) an information war with many fronts; 5) the election and transition of power. This also gets into the 5-part Shift the Country strategy to help us get through these next months.

VIDEO: What Is Civic Engagement Anyway?

We're pushing massive civic engagement in the US to help us through all the crisis and chaos in front of us. What the heck is that, anyway? This video gets into that. Here's our list of 15 civic engagement tools. It's a list for now as we're writing the tools - but if something jumps out, you can start doing it now. These are for us to make shift happen where we live. This video is also on the Shift the Country FB page. September 3, 2020.