Ideas

In 2026, the United States of America marks the 250th anniversary of the nation’s founding.

The United States of America was founded as a daring aspiration—imperfect, complicated, yet still born from human yearning for better. The 250th offers us an opportunity—if we rise to it as such.

The ambition of US@250 is to uplift efforts under way and create new experiences, initiatives, policies, and advancements that combined, help us believe in—and build—an America for all. We see this working at many different scales...

25
National Signature Efforts

There are more than 330 million of us. What a nation experiences together shapes us as a people. What would help us all come together to envision the America that we want to now build? What should virtually everyone in this country experience?

the national mall design competition
The National Mall is a narrative of a changing America: a land originally inhabited by the Nacotchtank; transformed in the 17th century by a French engineer’s vision of tree-lined streets; further morphed into a symbolic memorial of the Civil War and reconciliation; onward to a gesture of thousands of cherry trees arriving from Japan in 1912; and on and on. In 2026, the space is reimagined yet again, by winners of a US@250 competition about “The America We Yearn For.” Some three million people visit, tens of millions more participate online, and the entire nation takes notice.
who is us? a reality TV show
In 2022, a major network debuts a new show featuring discordant Americans finding common ground with political opposites. Hosted by a cast of moderators skilled in breaking down barriers, the series “complicates” simplistic stories, helping all of us see each other in new, nuanced ways. Videos, music, stories, and family photos reveal what holds us together. The nation is riveted by these encounters seeking measures of understanding. And from understanding, new forms of respect.
the new national survey on shared ambitions
This country is one that traditionally polls about politics, about candidates, “for” and “against” issues. But US@250 wanted to question more deeply. In every year since 2021, we surveyed Americans about their shared hopes, beliefs, and ambitions. What did we learn? Each year, we found we had more in common than previously thought.
a connection across faiths
Faiths of many denominations came together to locate a common humanity and honor the personhood we share as Americans (whether we are faith-goers or not). In profound, personal, and lasting ways, faith leaders drew their congregations nearer to others. Faith practitioners offered one another wisdom, community, dialogue, and tools to help others. The nation uplifted programs for common worship and reflection, using online services to connect congregations.
national service—for all
National service offers a first-hand experience of shared suffering, shared needs, and shared humanity. In 2021, as part of US@250, an unprecedented range of organizations created America’s most comprehensive national service program. We grew from about 75,000 Americans committing a year of service through AmeriCorps to more than 2.5 million participating in the program, which is funded for the first time by state and Federal legislation. The program evolves what was once mostly associated with youth into a multi-generational commitment.
(re)visioning sacred spaces
Each year, about 1 percent of the nation’s 350,000 congregations close as the most faithful worshipers age and church attendance drops. Faith-based institutions work with neighborhood, nonprofit, and government groups to revitalize and reconstruct these spaces as centers for community care—and explore how reparations become possible. Sanctuaries become community cafés with intergenerational programming and relationship-building activities. Steeples convert into new units of affordable housing for the previously displaced. Grief and loss turn into transformation and life.
the community resilience and healing corps
Modeled after the Peace Corps, the new Community Resilience and Healing Corps launched to attract thousands of recent graduates from seminaries, social work schools, and mental health programs. A three-year engagement, corp members are deployed in units to U.S. communities grappling with ecological disaster, mass shootings, and other conflicts that threaten the social fabric between neighbors. With free mental and spiritual health services, CRHC works to fortify relationships—and communities—by nurturing resilience, healing, and truth-telling at the center of their work.
more voices, more choices
Our political system was designed for the majority, not minorities. We are becoming a plural nation. Our political system must reflect this. To channel a wider spectrum of political views, we’ve advocated for a multiparty democracy, including an electoral system that does not punish new parties and encourages candidates to reach out beyond their own. To this end, a coalition of political reform groups pooled time, resources, and funding over five years to secure major electoral reforms in 25 states.
a different form of capitalism
The U.S. was built by capitalism as our economic system. In 2026 (and for years beyond), leaders from all sectors unite to create new forms of capitalism via a multi-stakeholder approach that encourages more shared success for more people for a more equitable America. The new objective for corporations? Create total value for all stakeholders, not just investors and shareowners. This is fueled by changes in incorporation structure and law; by 2026, a tipping-point number of major companies reincorporate to serve this goal.
the corporate care code
Every American deserves the means to care for their loved ones, whether it’s time, job security, financial support, or affordable care options that ensure the young, old, sick, and differently abled can thrive. In addition to pursuing comprehensive national and state legislation, care advocates developed a Care Code for businesses—a set of transformative policies and practices designed to make room for care in corporate America. As of 2026, half of Fortune 500 corporations have adopted the code.
remember: we have done this before
In the years leading up to 2026, images on billboards and on buses, in subway stations and at train stops, reminded America of how we’ve worked together in the past to improve our country. From passing child labor laws to making public high school education free, Americans have a history of banding together across divides to make life more liveable. In 2026, we ask, What else shall we do for each other?
#25Million Stories told
We know so little about each other. When shared, our stories of love and loss, care and challenge, pain and joy, learning and possibility help us see more. In 2026, we celebrated recording #25Million. Inspired by StoryCorps, people downloaded an easy-to-use app and invited family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and people they did not previously know to record a conversation about who we are. Then we all listened in.
a monthly national concert
The creative community created a free, monthly concert—one for each month of America’s 250th year—connected by the themes of Love, Reparations, Hope, Mercy, History, Sorrow, and Kindness. Each month: A different theme. Each performance: A tour de force act of creativity for the nation to dance together, grieve together, hope together, and dream together.
america, the beautiful: a national photo essay
We created a rich gorgeous, poignant photo essay of our country and it became the largest national photographic effort ever attempted by a nation. In viewing this collection—and seeing how it grows and expands every day—many have seen themselves in one another.
a national, ongoing cultural exchange
Through many different avenues—one-on-one exchanges, town halls, online gatherings, virtual trips—Americans made the journey to better understand each other. We rethreaded a sense that, above all, we are one nation and our unique differences make us who we are.
a reimagining of american holidays
What we honor—and how we honor—says much about who we aspire to be. In 2026, we reclaimed the meaning of each American holiday, rediscovering each other as neighbors, families, congregations, and teams. This metronome of holidays brought us together again and again as a nation, serving as a new thread of continuity for the year.
a livable wage—for all, by all
In an unprecedented and overdue collaboration, all sectors of the economy came together in the spirit of human flourishing. Together, we finally achieved a livable wage for all workers; the act took ingenuity, new approaches, and thoughtfulness. With basic economic security in place, the nation now sets its sights higher.
250
K
Community-
Driven Efforts

We each belong to communities: Our families. Our friendship circles. Our sports teams. Our neighborhoods. Our towns. Our online groups. Our companies. Our brands. Our institutions. Our places of worship. Our affinity groups. US@250 serves as an invitation; every community that matters to us has a role to play. What could you make happen in
your communities?

monuments become monumental
Throughout our country’s history, monuments have commemorated people or events deemed important. Ahead of 2026, communities held forums about local monuments—learning together, listening, asking questions about our history (many hard ones), and re-imagining. The result? A series of new monuments are shining a light on the often untold stories, events, and people who embody the values and characteristics held dear by communities.
a nation’s museums, united
Our cultural institutions have always been vast but varied. Over the past five years, they came together in new and historic ways to discuss, survey, and explore America from different vantage points—to see and imagine lost histories, to honor and reckon with a complicated past, and to celebrate and uphold the vision of a nation we still dare to become.
the national park bucket list
Our nation is home to 423 National Parks. To promote regeneration and preservation, these natural playgrounds hosted activities and installations to celebrate their prominence in creating America the beautiful. As a nation, we honored the Indigenous tribes who blessed these lands first. Millions embarked to see all 423, taking in pristine tableaux with a better understanding of their histories—and fragility.
welcome to every town, america
Mayors from some 20,000 U.S. cities and towns joined The US@250 Towns and Cities Project. The Project activates community leaders in developing five-year improvement plans ahead of 2026 (with a decade-long plan thereafter). Some researched the legacy of a land before it was settled; others promoted diverse identities in one’s hometown. All set civic goals to be achieved by 2026. These plans created a new momentum in cities and towns that will last for years.
U.S. post office partnerships for community care
Commemorative stamps are not the only thing you can find at the USPS in 2026. Post offices returned to their roots as places for connection and community with the launch of a national, public-private partnership program that provides a safety net for the most vulnerable. In 2026, individual mail carriers are working with local businesses and nonprofits to deliver medicines, food, and other necessities to housebound residents—and to check on their welfare.
local libraries curate the list of 25
Libraries around the country partnered with national associations, regional organizations, and local book clubs to develop localized “Lists of 25”: must-reads to strengthen our collective understanding of America. Book groups discussed, debated, and read together. More than that, these groups re-knitted our communities in a shared imagination of the next 250.
the american high school, reimagined
High school is the pivotal point between childhood and readiness for adulthood. Thousands of school districts conferenced to rethink the American high school experience and return the U.S. to the top of global rankings in secondary education. These efforts have effected change, inspiring more modern early learning models in elementary school and junior high. Up next: Radically remake post-secondary education.
a career for caring in america
Building on the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, community foundations, city governments, local businesses, and nonprofits created a permanent category of community health workers. In 2026, this comprises coordinators, guides, companions, coaches, and mentors who provide localized and cost-efficient infrastructures for preventive and proactive health, healing, mental well-being, and medical care. Operated with the best technology solutions, this new career path has created a net of interdependence with exciting economic and social benefits—and has helped move us from a culture of “me” to “we.”
the US@250 fellowship
The US@250 Fellowship, in collaboration with community foundations, calls on donors and philanthropists to sponsor young, local entrepreneurs as inspiring examples of the energy, innovation, and diversity here at home. Every year, we help leading national organizations connect US@250 Fellows to capital, mentorship opportunities, and professional support networks.
brands supporting shared beliefs
America’s most influential brands reallocated advertising budgets to invest in the new muscles we’re building as a nation. These brands amplified messages about the importance of caring for each other, belonging to something greater, and reckoning with our past to shape a better future. Brands modeled a kind of patriotism that is both honest and open-minded, demonstrating that yes, we can evolve as a nation.
250
M
Grassroots Efforts

Every one of us can find a way to contribute to America’s future. We can each imagine, celebrate, connect, do our own work, make a valuable contribution, express what matters, and build something worthwhile. What captures your passion? How would you make US@250 something meaningful for you and yours?

on these lands
It has become a norm in every building—school rooms, boardrooms, mom-and-pop shops—to acknowledge the land on which we sit. Tracing back in time to honor all the ancestors who tended this land before us, this gesture is a doorway to understanding. An entire nation has walked through, expanding our understanding of our history as a people.
we’re all founders: what’s your story?
When does your American story start? Each person on these shores is encouraged to preserve for posterity their founding story, in whatever form that takes. What choices and sacrifices have been made? What is the legacy of our ancestors today? Every photo, story, and recording will be preserved in the Library of Congress, forever.
grieving and healing communities
The COVID-19 pandemic. Racial reckoning. Economic instability. These crises have been felt by many and we had to attend to grief and trauma. Artists, therapists, social workers, clergy, doctors, nurses, and others joined together to support neighbors and community members individually and through communal rituals and healing events. Some rituals became community practice, carried out still with solemnity and hope in 2026.
letters to the future
In 2026, teachers in U.S. classrooms ask students to write a letter to a student 250 years from now, describing their lives, aspirations, what worries them, and what they hope the country will look like in 2,276. A time capsule is sealed, to be opened in 250 years, but the letters are shared on social media, getting America to richly contemplate the future we must build for our youth.
every american heard
When people feel heard, their ability to hold compassion and complexity increases. In 2026, a cadre of deep canvassers—people trained to moderate conversations about hot button topics—are setting out to knock on doors across the country. Our goal? The skill of listening soon becomes a national strength not just among these door-to-door canvassers, but of the many who felt heard for the first time.
“my america” playlists
More than 100 million Americans curated individual soundtracks for America; the sharing of these songs, lyrics, and personal meanings became the new handshakes and hat tips. Americans shared freely and openly, creating new moments of celebration and connection.
my one wish...
Our phones are now repositories of wishes. A universal app has been used by millions on these shores to write down, voice, and photograph their wishes for America and the country it will become. Visualizations in the app create connections between how your wishes relate to others. These are amplified by displays in town squares, offering new possibilities for entire towns to see.
my neighborly dinner
Food is a powerful convener and millions of people experienced that power as US@250 potlocks sprouted up around the country. The invitation: Share a meal with some people you know and others you don’t. Ask each other what you dream for America.
a young america
In classrooms across the U.S., and across grade levels, teachers and students invented powerful, joyful, engaging, and mesmerizing ways to look at 2026 as a year to declare what youth want in America. The voices reverberate—in millions of ways, loud and wide. And adults listened.
a multi-generational america
Grandparents are coming together to imagine what they want for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren. They’re working with local zoning boards and real estate developers to develop models for multigenerational houses and complexes. As Baby Boomers age and Millennials have children, American families (biological or constructed) are coming together in new ways.
you're invited
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to each other?
Join us to create our
shared future.
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