Cultivate the Karass was founded in response to devolving civil discourse, bipartisanship and lack of collaborative problem-solving in politics today. Our leaders no longer work across the aisle to find common ground on pressing issues, leading to gridlock in government and a declining trust in institutions.

Cultivate the Karass exists to:

  • Create authentic relationships amongst leaders who directly influence public policy and will be doing so over the next 20-30 years;

  • Transcend mere "civil discourse" and elevate the content and rigor of our political debates;

  • Enlarge what is understood or known about national issues;

  • Build a thriving democracy by enlarging our collective capacity to solve the increasingly complex problems facing our country;

  • Create an influential body of Loyal Antagonists:
    those you can trust to deeply challenge as well as deeply support you, throughout your life.

To restore the public’s faith in our democracy, we must foster dialogue among our leaders regardless of party affiliation – and begin to find compromise and progress on the issues people care most about. Our leaders are filled with passion, determination, and a willingness to bridge the gap – and we need to support them in doing so.  

We do this by uniting leaders from different disciplines, with different political values and provide them with the tools and skills they need to collaborate with those they don’t agree with and generate solutions that make our democracy stronger. 

 We’re proud of the impact we’ve had in a short window of time and the influence of our Fellows.

What It Means to Cultivate the Karass

Cultivate the Karass is inspired by the life and work of Jake Brewer, a senior advisor for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy who was tragically killed during a charity bike ride. After Jake died, we found a post-it on his office computer monitor a handwritten note with the phrase: Cultivate the Karass.

  • We were inspired by Jake’s post-it note to bring more people together to dissolve barriers and biases.

  • We were inspired to give voice and a vehicle to leaders who are willing to work across disciplines, both in and out of government.

  • We were inspired to help leaders move beyond the boundaries that often impede progress in the public sector.

JAKE BREWER  January 20, 1981 – September 19, 2015

January 20, 1981 – September 19, 2015


A group of individuals who are unwittingly linked, in cosmically significant ways, all committed to doing work for the common good. (Adapted from Kurt Vonnegut by Lori Brewer Collins)

Your vulnerability is your strength.
— Jake Brewer

Lori Brewer Collins | Cultivating The Karass

Lori Collins remembers the life and legacy of her son, Jake Brewer (Code for America Summit, 2016).


Lori Brewer Collins | On Becoming a Loyal Antagonist

Keynote talk at Personal Democracy Forum 2017