‘Will you help me build this?’: MPU Executive Director shares how the movement is working

Garrett Cathcart   |   August 03, 2023

Executive Director Garrett Cathcart leading a module at the 2023 MPU Fellowship.

“Will you help me build this?”

Jake asked me nearly two years ago. It was more an invitation than a question. An invitation to go on an epic journey for a purpose much greater than myself. The premise was a bit audacious, if not downright crazy—a national movement to ignite healing and rebuilding social and civic fabric in towns and cities all over the country.  As I reflected on my answer, I thought of all those that had gone before me, some literally breathing their last breath in my arms on distant battlefields, and I thought of all those that would come after me, my small nieces and what they would inherit—and I knew I had to be a part of this. I had to “earn it,”—so I said yes. Not long after, so did Victoria, Mary, and Maina.

What we do at MPU is simple—we bring  Americans together with a purpose, and we facilitate connections. Those connections build into relationships and a larger community of people that care. We care about each other; we care about our communities and what happens to our country. It’s so simple, in fact, that a few folks find it hard to wrap their head around.

We bring people together around one of our three core pillars: Service, Civics, and Leadership. That means a service project of real and meaningful impact where you live, learning how your local community and government function (what even is a parks commissioner?), and some of the best leadership development training available.

After we connect with a purpose, we talk. Really talk. Get to know each other with one of our guided conversations (usually over good food and drink). We talk not to change a point of view but to learn a new perspective and to get to know your neighbors, all while doing something good for your community and yourself at the same time.

While it may be a simple concept, it is incredibly difficult to do in practice. We live in bubbles, silos, and behind screens. Meeting new people in real life is a real challenge, and it takes real courage to show up—and people are showing up to what we all are building. We completed our second MPU Fellowship at the University of Montana, and 19 incredible leaders from across the U.S. are building Brickyards in their cities and towns. We’ve DOUBLED our membership to nearly 7,000, and we are hiring more staff to keep up with the demand. We have incredible momentum and are growing, but we are really just now at the starting line.

It will take you and your courage to show up to give us a real shot at doing something incredible.

Will you help build this with us?

With you,