To The Village Square, Inc.
PO Box 10352
Tallahassee FL 32302
Contact Information
Address PO Box 10352
Tallahassee, FL 32302
Telephone (850) 264-8785
Alternate Address 2561 Royal Oaks Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32309
Web and Social Media
Donate Directly to this Organization
At A Glance
Organization DBA
The Village Square
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
EIN Number 32-0182830
Year of Incorporation 2007
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $90,000.00
Projected Expenses $82,000.00
Mission Statement
The Village Square is dedicated to growing civil and factual civic dialogue between local residents on matters of local, state and national importance - reinventing the quintessentially American town hall for the 21st century.
Needs Statement
1.  Sustaining support of 100 more local citizens as Village Square members at $68 annually.
2.  Three organizations a year to provide $1,000 sponsorship each to one Dinner at the Square program. 
3.  25 businesses and local individuals to offer $250/year "Community Sponsorship"
4.  Donation of larger venue for Dinner at the Square series held three times annually; this resource will go a long way toward reaching our financial sustainability goals as currently dinners are consistently selling out in our 170 person max facility.
5.  $2,500 annual speaker sponsorship to allow us to pay for travel for high quality speakers for our Dinner at the Square series. 
Impact Statement
1. Awarded personal grant from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman to use Village Square model to expand to California; Village Square is becoming a national model for cutting edge civic engagement.
2. Sponsored 20 events in 2013 bringing diverse local residents together on a variety of civic topics on local, state and national issues
3.  Named by U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe as one of eight organizations nationally to support in order to build civic common ground.  
4. Operationalized Asteroids Club concept to cutting edge community issues forum; created national model in cooperation with national project partner, integrating with 
5.  Received matching grant to expand Village Square nationally. 
Goals for coming year:
1. Continue successful "Our Town" forum series (Fast Forward Tallahassee, Tallahassee Town Hall, Speed Date Your Local Leaders) with self-sustaining revenue model to insure continuation past grant funding.
2. Formalize relationship with engaged citizens to support creative local programming and projects; evolve engagement projects in cooperation with local governments.
3. Host a successful fundraising event in the fall. 
4. Maintain strength of local Village Square model as expansion nationally (and specifically to California with grant project) continues. 
Background Statement
The Village Square first formed after a divisive local referendum on whether to buy into a proposed coal plant nearby. The debate quickly turned into an expensive PR campaign that obscured the facts more than it educated the citizens. It also became all about liberals vs. conservatives and all the national issue baggage that comes along with it.
Local leaders with enduring across-the-aisle friendships from both sides of the coal plant debate were concerned that the poor quality of the discussion wasn't serving the community well.  Sure there was a better way and committed to the notion that neighbors ought to be able to have real discussions about our hometown and state without futilely re-fighting intractable national issues, they formed the initial board of directors and invited 50 "founding members" looking for more bipartisan friendships like their own.  This unique approach on supporting and creating friendships across-the-aisle turns out to have been the critical factor to the success of the organization.  This is in distinct contrast to the decreasing social interaction between legislators with different party affiliations which creates real difficulty governing in both state houses and in Congress.
The Village Square is recreating the quintessentially American town hall in a format that works for the way we live our lives in the 21st century. It is a completely unique in the country.
Service Categories
Citizen Participation
Areas of Service
Areas Served
State of Florida
The Village Square is structured to be a forum serving local residents of Tallahassee and Leon County.  The model can be easily reproduced in other locations, keeping a neighborly hometown flavor where it grows.
Board Chair Statement

In 2007, we were part of a bipartisan group of friends that created this concept out of concern that  public discourse had grown too contentious to be constructive.  Eight years later, we’ve hosted more than 100 events on a wide range of local, state and national issues.

We are particularly proud of our accomplishments drawing together neighbors for the new “Our Town” series, aimed at creating an informed, engaged Tallahassee by reinventing the town hall for  the 21st Century. The series offers unique local issue forums like Fast Forward Tallahassee, Speed Date Your Local Elected Leaders, Local Leadership Forum and CampWiki. The project also creates a town hall online by building one of only two dozen community wikis in the world, fully editable by anyone. 

At a time when we’re having increasingly less constructive contact with people who disagree with us, The Village Square continues to successfully build large and diverse audiences.  It is a groundbreaking idea that is uniquely homegrown in Tallahassee, has already expanded to St. Petersburg and is increasingly seen by leaders concerned with civil discourse as a model for hometowns across America.  
The Village Square project is one of the most important things we do for this community and our state - and well worth our investment in it.  We urge our neighbors to also offer the project their support.
We think it’s important that The Village Square be a part of Tallahassee’s civic landscape for years to come.  Requiring no expensive office space, it is remarkably inexpensive to run for its value to our community.  
With much of our infrastructure building initially supported by the Village Square being awarded two grants through the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the far less expensive work of sustaining what has been built falls to local citizens.  While we are delighted with the level of community support we've enjoyed to date, it has still not reached a level where the future of the organization is fully secured.  This year we are hosting a community-wide fundraising event to achieve this goal. 
CEO Statement/Executive Director Statement The Village Square is a nationally unique model for engaging neighbors constructively in civic decision-making across a deepening partisan divide that has so profoundly damaged the quality of America's civic dialogue. We are increasingly seen by leaders concerned with civil discourse as a model for hometowns across America.  With seven years of significant success here locally, our concept is now supported by a body of social science research that suggests that our unusual local social civic programming - usually involving food - is the only strategy can succeed in moving communities beyond the current divisiveness.  Because we believe we have caught "lightening in a bottle" for a problem that is currently generating a tremendous amount of national angst in the public square, a healthy and sustained Village Square in Tallahassee can make our hometown a model for the rest of the country - while improving the civic debate and quality of decision-making in our hometown.
The “Our Town” series is aimed at creating an informed, engaged Tallahassee by reinventing the town hall for  the 21st Century. The series offers unique local issue forums like Fast Forward Tallahassee, Speed Date Your Local Elected Leaders, Local Leadership Forum and CampWiki. The project also creates a town hall online by building one of only two dozen community wikis in the world, fully editable by anyone.
With capacity initially built through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Fund through the Community Foundation of North Florida, we look to the community to support the less-expensive continuation of this community asset.  
The forums for these programs are run annually for a maximum $10,000.  They occupy approximately 25% of staff resources and administration, included in that figure.  With an additional $2,500 annual investment, the project can include up-to-date writing on local issues to further develop the online wiki resource. 
Budget $10,000.00
Category Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Citizen Participation Programs
Population Served Adults, ,
Short Term Success
1.  By the end of year, forum participation has increased 50% - as evidenced by 50% growth in participation (forums are already full so we're looking for new people to attend)
2.  By the end of year, TallahasseeWiki will host 1,500 pages.
3.  By the end of year, 25 organizations have become sustaining Community Partners for this project to ensure its sustainability past grant funding. 
Long term Success Average citizens - from diverse political backgrounds - who are currently separated from the local civic decision-making will be constructively engaged in forums and use online tools to deepen involvement.  Studies have shown that this increased level of citizen engagement is actually beneficial to a community not only in the quality of decisions made but even in the economic development of the community.  These forums help create a "sense of place" that becomes evident city-wide. 
Program Success Monitored By
1.  Attendance at forums
2.  Program evaluations completed after forums
3.  Community partnerships to extend support for forums
4.  Page growth in TallahasseeWiki; participation in We the Wiki 
Examples of Program Success
Forums held in 2012 were packed with a beyond-capacity crowd of 225 attendees; we could have registered a far larger audience with a bigger facility. 
The Fast Forward Tallahassee program - using a Pecha Kucha format for presentation (20 slides automatically advancing after 20 seconds each), hosting Food Trucks for dinner and treating for dessert - has been all the buzz locally (and even in state circles, at Leadership Florida) since we held it in May.  
Local government has now sought to partner with us numerous times in order to garner the kind of engagement we have successfully achieved. 
TallahasseeWiki was covered on the front page of the paper and has been written up on the Knight Foundation blog.  We are successfully creating buzz.
Description Dinner at the Square is the foundational program offered by the Village Square.  The high quality panels and detail-oriented planning that goes into these programs has generated sell-out audiences for six years now.  The quality of this program is critical as it is the way we have drawn people into other aspects of our civic programming that would otherwise tend to gain less public attention.  We often bring people from out of town to participate in the forum, requiring travel expenditures and occasionally minimal speaker fees.  This program costs $10,000 a year to run and generates $12,500 in income.  With the addition of staff time/administrative load at 40% of our workload/administrative costs and crediting the profit we make on the forum, this program costs us $8,500 to offer the community.  This is the only program the Village Square charges money for as it involves a catered sit-down dinner; scholarship tickets are offered for each program for those less able to pay the ticket price.
Budget $8,500.00
Category Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Citizen Participation Programs
Population Served Adults, ,
Short Term Success
1.  Attendance continues at or near 100% capacity.
2. Program topics enter the local civic discourse beyond the duration of the program, utilizing online wiki tools we have built and engaging locally plugged-in citizens to generate content.
3.  Ancillary programming continues to benefit from association with Dinner at the Square programming, with attendance maintained at 100% participation events and increasing 10% a year at events that still have capacity for more attendance. 
Long term Success Dinner at the Square is a national model for how to assemble diverse citizens to engage is constructive civic dialogue; locations exist in a number of communities nationally with Tallahassee as the "home office."   
Program Success Monitored By
1.  Attendance
2.  Membership contributions from citizens
3.  Evaluations of program by participants
Examples of Program Success
Six years of sold-out programming.
National attention that project has received from leaders concerned with civil discourse, including National Endowment for the Humanities Chair Jim Leach, nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, Daily Beast's John Avlon, NYU's Jonathan Haidt (author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics & Religion) - among others.
The Village Square was one of 24 projects nationally winning the Knight Community Information Challenge awarded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2009.
The Village Square is approached on almost a weekly basis to co-sponsor programs with a community group or governmental body.  Our success in drawing civic groups is unique and the word is spreading. 
Programs are broadcast on WFSU public radio. 
Description The Village Square holds as-needed forums on local and state governmental issues.  It has always hosted "Constitutional Amendments 101" forums since its inception, along with other forums when required.  Historically we've hosted forums on such topics as Florida's fiscal crisis, Leon County's proposed human rights ordinance, property taxes, ethics in government, legislative session wrap programming and other local issues programming.  Amendments programming includes writing the most comprehensive resource guide to amendments in the state of Florida.  It requires approximately 15% of our staff and administrative resources annually.
Budget $7,000.00
Category Public, Society Benefit, General/Other Citizen Participation Programs
Population Served Adults, ,
Short Term Success
1.  Grow attendance each year 10%, demonstrating increased engagement in local and state issues.
2.  Creation of core of engaged citizens writing local issue and community wiki content.  
Long term Success Citizens will be more broadly engaged in the civic work and decision-making in our community.  These topics are the less glamorous ones we cover, so continued solid attendance is a measure of long-term success in and of itself.
Program Success Monitored By
1.  Attendance at forums.
2.  Evaluations completed by participants after program.
3.  Support by citizens in membership donations and by businesses in generation of community sponsorships. 
Examples of Program Success
1.  We were called by a reporter with Moody's seeking a resource on a figure in our online amendments guide.  The reporter indicated that we were the best comprehensive resource he had found on the amendments.
2.  Programs are broadcast on public radio by WFSU.
3.  We are able to consistently gain the participation of the major parties debating these local and state issues, partnering with the organizations that are most central to the education of the public on each issue our forum covers.  For example, our Amendments 101 forum is co-sponsored by Collins Center for Public Policy, League of Women Voters of Tallahassee and Florida TaxWatch which each generate some of the most thorough analyses of amendments in each election cycle.
Program Comments
CEO Statement/Executive Director/Board Comments
Find the Our Town project online here:
Find the Dinner at the Square series online here:
Find other forums and programming online here:
and here: 
Board Chair
Board Chair Commissioner Bryan Desloge
Company Affiliation Leon County Commission
Term Feb 2009 to July 2014
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Brian Armstrong
Company Affiliation Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, PA
Term 2013 to July 2015
Board Members
Bill Bryant Attorney
Laurie Dozier Mad Dog Construction, Inc.
Lee Hinkle Retired
Warren Jones Tallahassee Memorial Hospital
Nancy Linnan Carlton Fields
Bill Mattox James Madison Institute
David Powell Hopping Green & Sams
Charles Ranson Ranson & Associates
Jack Romberg Temple Israel
Steve Seibert Attorney
Neil Skene MedAffinity, Inc.
Erin VanSickle Volunteer Florida
Wendy Walker President, Leadership Florida
Rep. Alan Williams State of Florida Representative
Jovita Woodrich Goodwill Industries - Big Bend, Inc.
Gil Ziffer Tallahassee City Commission; Ziffer Stansberry, Inc.
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 16
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 13
Female 5
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 51%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 0%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Program / Program Planning
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Elizabeth H. Joyner
Term Start Jan 2007
Experience Liz Joyner created the concept of The Village Square with original founding directors current Ambassador to Portugal Allan Katz and President of St. Petersburg College Bill Law.  She has served as Executive Director since 2007.  Liz came out of semi-retirement as a stay-at-home mom because her experience working for numerous political campaigns convinced her that the way we work out our disagreements in today's public square is fundamentally broken.  The Village Square has now expanded to a second Florida location.  She previously served as program director for the Office of the Public Guardian and editorial director for the Rapid Response Network. She was nominated as a Tallahassee Woman of Distinction, served as a Knight Foundation Fellow, and was honored by United Church Women as a Woman of Peace. Joyner holds a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina and a master's degree from Florida State University.  
Senior Staff
Title Associate Director
Experience/Biography Christine has more than 13 years of experience working in the non-profit sector in the areas of communications, public affairs, event management and fundraising.  She joined The Village Square in April 2010 and focuses on membership, events, publicity and bookkeeping.  Christine earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and master’s degree in mass communications, both from the University of Florida.
Title Director of Development

Jeanie Hinkle has 3 decades of experience working with non-profit organizations in a variety of senior-level positions in board relations, administration, development, member services, marketing, and meeting planning. She joined the Village Square in 2014 as Development Director. In addition to fundraising, she is responsible for board relations and the financial management of the organization. Jeanie has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Florida State University.

Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 2
Volunteers 15
Contractors 1
Retention Rate 100%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
NonManagement Formal Evaluation N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
We regularly collaborate with a wide variety of community organizations to provide our programming.  Here is a partial list:  Collins Center for Public Policy, League of Women Voters, Florida TaxWatch, FSU Center for Leadership & Social Change, Florida State University Student Government, Florida State University College of Social Sciences and Public Policy,  Center for the Advancement of Human Rights at Florida State University, James Madison Institute, FSU Caps program, City of Tallahassee, Leon County, Knight Creative Communities Institute, Leadership Tallahassee, Tallahassee Democrat, FSU Student Life Cinema, Tallahassee Film Society, Oasis Center for Women and Girls, Capital Tiger Bay Club, FSU's LeRoy Collins Institute and various local churches.
Knight Community Information Challenge GrantThe Knight Foundation2009
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2015
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2015
Projected Revenue $90,000.00
Projected Expenses $82,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Form 990s
Audit or In-House Financial Documents
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$37,070$45,745$32,744
Administration Expense$42,157$14,488$36,811
Fundraising Expense------
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.430.791.56
Program Expense/Total Expenses47%76%47%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$165,330$53,610$64,823
Current Assets$165,330$53,610$64,823
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$1,238$0
Total Net Assets$165,330$52,372$64,823
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities--43.30--
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Organization Comments The Village Square has been fortunate enough to have been the recipient of two Knight Foundation grants and a $150K personal grant from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.  The first Knight grant was awarded in 2010 and 2011, a highly nationally competitive John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Community Information Challenge grant.  The spending occurred in 2010 and 2011, with a small reserve amount spent in 2012. The second grant was through the John S. and James L. Knight Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida in the amount of $38,000. That grant was distributed in 2011 for spending in a 2012 calendar year project.  The LinkedIn grant is specifically for expansion to California; none of the funds will be expended elsewhere and so are not included in the 2013 financial statements.  In order to continue a locally sustainable organizational model, these grant funds should be considered unusual and not repeatable. 
Foundation Comments
  • Financial figures were taken from the 990EZ's
  • Contributions from foundations and corporations are included with total for individuals 
  • Top 3 funding sources are not reflected above as they are not indicated in the 990's
Additional Documents
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Nonprofit To The Village Square, Inc.
Address PO Box 10352
Tallahassee, FL 32302
Primary Phone 850 264-8785
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Elizabeth H. Joyner
Board Chair Commissioner Bryan Desloge
Board Chair Company Affiliation Leon County Commission
Year of Incorporation 2007