Our Story

"Listen First Project is taking heroic steps to get people to talk to each other." - The Hill

"If bridging divides has a heart, it's in Listen First Project." - National partner

Listen First Project encourages conversations that prioritize understanding to bridge divides and mend our frayed social fabric, addressing the universally felt crisis of division and dehumanization across differences. We catalyze the #ListenFirst movement powered by ~250 partner organizations, thousands of individuals, National Conversation Project, and local chapters around the world. LFP focuses on society at large, schools, and workplaces while recognizing those who champion the Listen First mission.

Started on a bus in Africa. 

2013: Listen First Project was founded by Pearce Godwin in 2013 shortly after he wrote "It's Time to Listen" at the end of an eye-opening six month experience in Africa, which followed five years of political work in Washington, DC. His message was printed in dozens of major newspapers across the United States from the Miami Herald to Oklahoman, garnering a tremendously encouraging response. LFP was born out of a desire to turn those words into action and make a tangible impact toward mending the frayed fabric of America.

2014: Launched the Listen First, Vote Second campaign to directly target the most salient case of our failure to listen to those with whom we disagree—politics. In recognition of the campaign, Pearce was honored to attend the Congressional Summit on Next Generation Leadership on Capitol Hill in Washington. Released the #ListenFirst: It Starts with Us inspirational video. 

2015: Launched the Listen First Essay Series drawing on voices from around the world applying listening first to their life experience and the most challenging issues of our time. Developed Listen First Conversation Tips.

2016: Took Listen First, Vote Second to the presidential conventions, had thousands of people sign the Listen First Pledge, began hosting Listen First Conversations on the radio, and launched our first school chapter.

2017: Launched the Listen First Coalition of 75+ organizations across America encouraging conversations that prioritize understanding the other. Hosted the first Listen First Round Table event with voters from across the political spectrum, which was called a "miracle" by reporters. Began hosting virtual Listen First Conversations on Facebook Live. The first—among San Francisco Liberals & Southern Conservatives—was watched by 20,000 people. After four years of growing Listen First Project in the margins of his life, Pearce left his marketing job in August and invested full time in Listen First to change the world. Also in the aftermath of the Charlottesville tragedy, Listen First Project began planning a major Listen First in Charlottesville event for 2018.

2018: Led the first National Week of Conversation including thousands of conversations across 32 states hosted by more than 130 schools, libraries, faith communities, activist groups and nonprofits. Hosted Listen First in Charlottesville event among national and local leaders. Launched business engagement initiatives to enhance the workplace and recognize marketplace champions of bridging divides. Began recognizing Listen First Leaders who sign the pledge. The Listen First Coalition grew to more than 150 members. Building on the tremendous success of the pilot National Week of Conversation, we launched an ongoing National Conversation Project to mend the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides one conversation at a time. National Conversation Project began with another National Week of Conversation in October.