The Our Towns Civic Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit devoted to discovering, sharing, and learning from stories of civic renewal. By showing what’s possible, we encourage success at the local level.
The foundation grows out of the work of Deborah and James Fallows, in their years of local-level reporting that led to the best-selling book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America, and the subsequent HBO movie .
The mission of the foundation is to make progress more likely, by showing that it is possible. The discovery, in times of economic and national-level political stress for the nation, was that prospects looked brighter and cooperative progress was more possible, at the local level. We remain committed to sharing stories about, and drawing inspiration and lessons from, the innovators, entrepreneurs, visionaries, and citizen-leaders of successful communities around the country.
Deborah and James Fallows are a husband-and-wife reporting team. Deb was trained in linguistics at Harvard and at the University of Texas, where she got her PhD. Before beginning the ‘Our Towns’ project, she worked in academia at Georgetown University and in internet search-engine design. Her first book, A Mother’s Work, was published in 1985. Her second, Dreaming in Chinese, about what learning the Chinese language teaches you about China, was published in 2010.
James Fallows was for many decades a staff writer and editor for The Atlantic, and is the author of 11 other books. His book National Defense won the American Book Award for non-fiction, and his Atlantic articles warning of the consequences of invading Iraq won the National Magazine Award. In his 20s he was chief White House speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter. He is a long-time instrument-rated pilot, and he and Deborah traveled for years by propeller plane across the country in the reporting for their bestselling 2018 book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. The book was also the basis for the HBO documentary Our Towns, released in 2021, and for the Our Towns Civic Foundation.
Supporters & Partners
Our Towns Foundation is supported by the generosity of the following people:
Eric and Wendy Schmidt
Quint and Rishy Studer
And readers like you.
Unless otherwise noted, Our Towns stories are free to republish through a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please review our complete Republishing Policy.