The number of bridge-building organizations is growing fast, but as the report notes, most groups are small and fledgling. The field, while dynamic, is diffuse. That means that coming together to work on something as ambitious as mobilizing the nation’s volunteering infrastructure to heal divides is a perfect opportunity at the perfect moment.

I hope things move fast. A pluralistic democracy requires opportunities for people of different identities and divergent ideologies to work cooperatively on common projects. People used to do that at school-board meetingslocal librarieshigh-school theater productions, and a growing list of other activities now caught up in the culture wars. We need to create new spaces that “strengthen the cords that bind us together as a people.” That’s how President Clinton put it upon signing the legislation that established AmeriCorps. At that time, back in the early 1990s, the work was essential. Right now, in this era of dangerous division, it is existential.