About Us   

Bill Doherty, Braver Angels

How Braver Angels started

Concerned about the high level of polarization of America after the 2016 election, David Blankenhorn, an author in New York City, asked Bill Doherty, a University of Minnesota professor of marriage and family therapy, to design a workshop to help reduce the incivility and political discord. In April 2017, the first workshop was held in South Lebanon, Ohio as an experiment. Equal numbers of conservatives and liberals participated. Results surprised everyone. Understanding increased. Cordial relationships and, in some cases, lasting friendships formed. Ongoing efforts began to help each side understand their lives and views, particularly as they related to religious differences. Watch the 50-minute Braver Angels film on YouTube about that workshop, Braver Angels: Reuniting America.

What we do in Minnesota

Our mission is to create the conditions for citizens who disagree with each other to have respectful and powerful conversations across the political divide. We provide speakers to organizations that want to learn about Braver Angels; offer workshops and other kinds of in-person events; hold occasional statewide online events and support local alliances or chapters so people can meet in person. 

These events allow conservatives and liberals to develop, enhance and practice skills that get past destructive stereotypes. We hold that respectful conversations lead to productive problem-solving, renewed goodwill and stronger bonds within local communities. As these skills develop, people are empowered to listen respectfully to other viewpoints and to express themselves fully such that the other side hears and understands them. In some cases, these conversations lead to common ground.

Currently, we have six local alliances (or chapters) in various parts of the state with more under development. Every two weeks or so, we email a brief newsletter to about 2,800 Minnesota subscribers and members. National Braver Angels also sends a periodic newsletter and notifications of online events. Subscribe to the national newsletter and state newsletter.


Alliances are chapters or units of Braver Angels members at the local, regional and state level. They offer a way for members to engage routinely with each other in their own communities using the Braver Angels Way.  Alliances have a Red-Blue balance in their leadership and strive toward a Red-Blue balance in their membership. Independents and others are welcome as well. 

Greater Minneapolis Area - Donate directly to Alliance #1082

Western Suburban - Donate directly to Alliance #1111.

Twin Cities East Metro - Donate directly to Alliance #1129.

Owatonna (Cong. Districts 1, 2, and 7) - Donate directly to Alliance #1110. 

Ely - Donate directly to Alliance #1139.

Northern MN Alliance (Cong. District 8 includes Duluth) - Donate directly to Alliance #1112.

What does the state steering team do?

The state steering team works to carry out initiatives to increase membership in all areas of the state, particularly the rural areas; build and support local chapters, known as alliances and recruit and support volunteers. The steering team follows a Braver Angels principle of leadership being balanced among those who lean conservative, liberal or independent. Also, the team strives for the membership to be balanced.

To contact the state coordinators, please email mn-coordinators@braverangels.org. You can donate directly to the Minnesota State Alliance #123.

Tim Gustafson, Welch
Leans Red

Morgan Holle
Brooklyn Center
State Coordinator
Leans Blue

Scott Schluter, St. Paul
State Coordinator
Leans Red

Bruce MacKenzie, Minneapolis
Leans Blue


 J. Carlos Téllez, St. Paul

Jeff Thiemann, Plymouth
Leans Red

Melinda Voss, St. Paul
State Coordinator
Leans Blue

JoAnn Ward, Lake Elmo
Leans Blue

Ruth Lunde, Chanhassen
Leans Red