A very partial catalog of newish organizations focused on fixing our toxic national discourse would include the Constructive Dialogue Institute (founded 2017), the Better Arguments Project (2018) and the Civility Leadership Institute (2019). There are brand-new civility research centers on campuses ranging from South Carolina’s tiny Allen University (2020) to California’s vast U.C. San Diego (2021). The list goes on.
In Congress, there’s a Civility Caucus. On calendars, there’s a National Civility Month (it’s August). There are civility campaigns convening hometown worthies in places like Duluth, Minn and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and a National Institute for Civil Discourse loaded with political VIPs in Washington, including two former presidents who served as founding chairs. Bezos’ gift isn’t even the first check he’s written to the cause: In 2021, the Amazon founder endowed the $100 million Bezos Courage and Civility Award.