In 2018, New York Times columnist David Brooks founded Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute to address the crisis of broken social trust that has left Americans divided along many lines, isolated and unable to address our common needs. The project aims to turn Americans into a nation of weavers, spreading connection and belonging.
The project began with a listening tour, where Brooks and the Weave team traveled to towns and cities across the country to understand how people in different communities were working to move from a culture of isolation and individualism to one of relationalism. Those conversations sparked Weave’s first product, The Relationalist Manifesto.
In 2019, Weave organized the first national #WeaveThePeople gathering in Washington, DC. Weavers from all over the country came together to meet each other and discuss how and what the Weave project needed to move to create a nation of weavers.
Based on the #WeaveThePeople event and subsequent conversations with weavers, the Weave project now combines in-person gatherings with online tools and spaces with the goal of reaching 10 million weavers over the next decade.
Today, the Weave project supports weavers in three ways:
1) Connect weavers through events, training, and an online community.
2) Lift up the critical role of weavers as trusted social leaders, even when they don’t have titles or many resources, by providing them with funding, speaking opportunities, and sharing their stories.
3) Inspire more people to live a weaving way of life that values relationships as highly as their own achievements.
As the project scope evolved, David Brooks’s role at Weave has shifted. He currently serves as Chair. The Executive Director is Frederick J. Riley. You can see a conversation between them at Aspen Ideas Festival 2023 in the video below.
Weave in Action
Today, Weave connects, lifts, and inspires weavers through several programs and products. Whether you are new to weaving or already have an organization bringing people together in your neighborhood, you will find something valuable to you.
- The Weave Newsletter is a weekly dose of weaver stories, resources to fuel weaving, and reflections from many perspectives on what it means to invest in relationships and weave a strong, inclusive social fabric from the ground up.
- The Weave Community is an online home where weavers gather for peer support, learning, and collaboration. They share resources, discuss challenges, offer mentorship, and celebrate successes.
- The Weave Learning Center is a place to gain or strengthen your community-building skills at your own pace or with other weavers. The offerings range from community organizing to public speaking to facilitating groups.
- The Weaver Network of volunteer opportunities is a search engine to find and join organizations that are weaving near where you live.
- Weaver Awards unleash the power of philanthropy for neighborhoods. The Awards are a community-led model that enable foundations and corporations to find and invest through microgrants directly in the people weaving trust locally.
- The Weave Speakers Bureau trains and places weavers on stages large and small across the US to inspire others and create a nation of weavers. You can request a Weave Speaker to come to your community.
The Weave Team
The true faces of Weave are the weavers. They are in every community, quietly creating connection, inspiring hope and leading with love. You can find their stories here. Our team supports weavers and illuminates their way of life to inspire others to join them.
Weave’s community advisors serve a two-year term providing guidance on Weave’s strategy, programs and communications. They come from diverse backgrounds and communities, and bring both professional skills and rich experience. They share a way of living that inspires trust in their neighbors, welcomes people across differences, and weaves their communities together through discussion and action.
Weave’s Home is the Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. Weave: The Social Fabric Project reports to the president of Aspen.
Funders and Partners
Culture change requires many to show courage and declare that there is a better way for us to live. Weave’s work is supported by individuals and organizations who believe that changing our culture of hyper-individualism is key to healing the disconnection, isolation and despair in American society and building social trust. Countless people and organizations already work locally to support neighbors who are struggling and to build healthy, connected and inclusive communities. All are partners in this work. Weave is currently receiving funding from the following people and organizations.
Jacklyn G. and Miguel A. Bezos
Walton Family Foundation