Neighbor to neighbor. Stranger to stranger. We don't have to share the same ideas and affiliations. When we talk deeply. And honestly. And fearlessly. And with compassion, new ideas come from new understandings. And when we share the same table, open our mouths and minds to one another, great things can come alive.
Table Talk is a community-wide conversation where for one day, residents of Central Florida will gather to discuss the things that matter most to them. Our favorite things. Our issues and opportunities. Our boldest ambitions and our biggest challenges to making our community better and more dynamic. Table Talk provides a way for all of us to be more civically engaged and committed to the community.
Central Florida Foundation launched Table Talk in Central Florida to give everyone in the region a voice in how our community operates today, and how it could evolve tomorrow. This idea for a community-wide conversation began with the Chicago Community Trust in 2014 as On the Table. Since then, the concept has been replicated in more than 30 communities nationally and internationally.
In 1994, ten visionary thinkers gathered around a table to discuss a simple question: how can we really change Central Florida for the better? The answer was to join forces not just with their dollars, but with the full power of their vision, passion and community connection. Only then, could they drive deep and lasting social change. This partnership evolved into the Central Florida Foundation.
As the region’s community foundation, Central Florida Foundation maintains and administers charitable funds on behalf of multiple individuals, nonprofits and public entities. These fundholders care about making a real difference in our community. And they know real change demands more than dollars and cents.
Anyone living and working in Central Florida can take part in Table Talk, either by hosting a table or joining a table. Business owners. Parents. Students. Educators. Voters. Taxpayers. Employers. Employees. Neighbors. Young, old and everyone in between. We mean EVERYONE. Everyone has a seat. Everyone has a voice. Everyone has a chance to make a difference. Everyone is welcome and everyone is an expert.
This community-wide conversation takes place in a single day, Thursday, October 24. It will happen across our community, in at least 500 separate conversations of up to 10 people each, hosted by different individuals and organizations. Each Table Talk host chooses their own location — from restaurants to workplaces, dining rooms or community centers, parks, bars, libraries or coffee shops — and decides what time the conversation takes place.
It’s pretty simple. Hosts choose a location and invite 8-10 guests for a conversation and refreshment. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you decide. There are no rules – be creative! Hosts will also guide the talks and encourage their guests to complete the online survey with their thoughts and insights from the conversation. Each host receives a Host Toolkit which includes a step-by-step guide, tips for organizing a successful conversation, and resources to use the day of Table Talk. Sign up to Host a Table.
Table Hosts will not be compensated for Table Talk. And, there is no minimum cost required to be a host or a participant. We encourage hosts to plan events that match their time, space and resources. We believe conversations can be productive and engaging in low- to no-cost spaces like living rooms, libraries, break-rooms, parks, etc. Hospitality for the gathering can be as simple as coffee, beverages and snacks or as elaborate as a full course meal. Or even consider a potluck or “bring your own...”. There really are no limits and we encourage you to be creative.
Joining a table allows you to take part in one of the 500+ conversations taking place on Thursday, October 24. Some guests will receive a personal invitation from a Table Host. If you do not know a Table Host and would like to be part of Table Talk, sign up to join a table and we will assign you to a table in your area.
Table Talk participants will complete a survey to share what was discussed during their conversation. Once the surveys are completed and processed to identify the ideas, information and priorities that emerged from the conversations, we will share a report with all Table Talk participants, as well as our entire community. Central Florida Foundation will also make mini-grants available to neighborhoods, or communities that are ready to take action on their ideas and propose a plan.