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Evening at the Square 2021

Featuring Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett Honorary co-chairs: Stacy & Bill Pratt and Ann & Bob Regnier
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Evening at the Square 2021

6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Evening at the Square Participants


Our sincere thanks to the community who supported 2021 Evening at the Square! We are immensely grateful for your generosity and ongoing support of the important work we do at APS.

If you’d like to continue the conversation, join us at the October 28 Discussion Group focused on The Upswing. To purchase a copy of the book, please visit our friends at Bliss Books and Wine. A portion of your proceeds will go to fund future APS programs!

NOTE: The recorded program is not available to the public at this time. If you were registered for the event and would like to re-watch it, contact us at

About the Event

American Public Square at Jewell, along with honorary co-chairs Stacy & Bill Pratt and Ann & Bob Regnier, invite you to the 2021 Evening at the Square Gala, October 5.

The evening’s featured guests are award-winning authors and researchers, Professor Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett, whose latest literary collaboration, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again, delivers a call to action about improving the tone and quality of civil discourse. The conversation will prove to be engaging, revelatory and directly aligned with the APS mission.

As a virtual event, Evening at the Square will include a moderated discussion with the authors that will take guests through history to showcase how the nation has gone from an individualistic “I” society to a more communitarian “We” society and then back again, and how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation.

Listen Now! Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett joined Steve Kraske's October 1 ``Up to Date`` program to discuss the book and their upcoming visit to Kansas City for Evening at the Square.

KCUR 89.3 | Up to Date with Steve Kraske

2021 Founder's Civility Award Recipients

Peggy Dunn and Mary Bloch

At the launch of American Public Square, and for the next four years, Peggy and Mary served as the very capable and engaged co-chairs of the new organization. Their leadership and the values they demonstrated helped to shape and establish a place for APS in the Kansas City community and beyond.

Today, APS remains on solid footing largely as a result of the tone they created at the beginning.  We remain so grateful for their early and continued involvement in our organization and are honored to present these two great Kansas Citians with the 2021 Founder’s Civility Award.

The Upswing by Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney-Garrett

About The Upswing

A brilliant analysis of economic, social, and political trends over the past century demonstrating how we have gone from an individualistic “I” society to a more communitarian “We” society and then back again, and how we can learn from that experience to become a stronger, more unified nation—from the author of Bowling Alone and Our Kids.

Deep and accelerating inequality; unprecedented political polarization; vitriolic public discourse; a fraying social fabric; public and private narcissism—Americans today seem to agree on only one thing: This is the worst of times. But we’ve been here before.

Robert D. Putnam is technically a Harvard social scientist, but a better description might be poet laureate of civil society.”  – New York Times, March 4, 2015

America’s deep-seated divisions were healed in the past and can be again, argues this sweeping and persuasive study. . . . This fresh, ambitious take on America’s fraying social fabric will provoke much discussion.”  – Publishers Weekly

No one understands the United States better than Bob Putnam, and no one else could have written this essential book. The Upswing brings together his vast knowledge, love of data, storytelling ability, and passion. It’s an astonishing work that reminds Americans we are a great people, shows us what we can accomplish when we come together, and makes clear that we need to do so again. Now.” – Andrew McAfee, MIT scientist, author of More from Less, and coauthor of The Second Machine Age

Robert Putnam is the Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, having retired from active teaching in May 2018. Raised in a small town in Ohio, he was educated at Swarthmore, Oxford, and Yale. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the British Academy, and past president of the American Political Science Association. In 2006 Putnam received the Skytte Prize, the world’s highest accolade for a political scientist, in 2013 President Barack Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for contributions to the humanities, for “deepening our understanding of community in America,” and in 2018 the International Political Science Association awarded him the Karl Deutsch Award for cross-disciplinary research. He has received eighteen honorary degrees from universities in eight countries, including in 2018, Oxford.

More on Putnam

Putnam has written fifteen books, translated into twenty languages, including Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Italy and Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, both among the most cited (and bestselling) social science works in the last half century. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, co-authored with David Campbell, won the Woodrow Wilson award as the best book in political science published in 2011. His 2015 bestseller, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, chronicled the growing class gap among American youth.


Before coming to Harvard in 1979, Putnam taught at the University of Michigan and served on the staff of the US National Security Council. At Harvard he has served as Dean of the Kennedy School, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He co-founded the Saguaro Seminar, bringing together leading thinkers and practitioners (including President Obama) to develop actionable ideas for civic renewal. His counsel has been sought by national and grassroots leaders on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Atlantic, including Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, Prime Ministers Blair and Cameron, and prime ministers from Ireland and Finland to Singapore and South Korea. Over the last several decades he has also worked directly with thousands of grassroots leaders in scores of local communities coast to coast across America. He lives in Jaffrey, New Hampshire and Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife Rosemary.

Shaylyn Romney Garrett is a writer who has dedicated her life to the pursuit of connection, community, and healing in an increasingly fragmented world. Her work includes the uniquely revealing portraits of religious communities across the United States in American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. She is a founding contributor to the Aspen Institute’s initiative, Weave: The Social Fabric Project, and writes about her personal journey back to community on her blog, Project Reconnect.

More on Romney Garrett

Shaylyn has also had a successful career as a social entrepreneur. With her husband, James Garrett, she co-founded Think Unlimited, a nonprofit venture working to catalyze social innovation in the Middle East. She lived in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for six years, during which time she partnered with Queen Rania Al-Abdullah to bring an original Arabic language curriculum on creativity and critical thinking to Jordanian public schools. Shaylyn’s work has been featured by the New York Times, FastCompany, LinkedIn, Harvard Business Review, and Arab Investor. In 2011 she was honored with the prestigious Draper Richards Kaplan Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship, and was a finalist in the global Echoing Green Competition. She was twice awarded a membership to the Clinton Global Initiative, and has been a speaker at TEDx.


Shaylyn holds a BA magna cum laude in Government from Harvard University, and is a returned Peace Corps volunteer. She is also a permaculturalist who loves to get her hands in the dirt, and thinks a lot about healthy soils as a model for thriving human communities. She lives in the beautiful red rock desert of Southern Utah with her husband James, her daughter Sophie, her son Aeon, and her loyal dog Dewey.

2021 Evening at the Square Sponsors

This program is generously supported by:


Stacy and William Pratt

William Jewell College


The McDonnell Family Foundation

Greg Orman

Ann and Bob Regnier

The Wiley Foundation


Tom and Mary Bloch

Paul and Linda DeBruce & The DeBruce Foundation

Peggy and Terry Dunn

JE Dunn Construction

Eller Corporation

Allan Katz and Nancy Cohn

Lewis Nerman and Sue Seidler-Nerman

R. Lee Smith

Jerry White and Cyprienne Simchowitz


Bud and Jennifer Bacon

Jill and Bill Coughlin

Ecco Select

Joe Falk

Sandi and Ed Fried

Regina and Bill Kort

Beryl Raff

John and Marny Sherman


Sarah and Jonathan Baum

Irv Belzer and Sue McCord-Belzer

Bert Berkley

Claire and Denton Bishop

Phil Blank

Herb and Bonnie Buchbinder

Center for Practical Bioethics

City of Kansas City, Missouri

Commerce Bank

Rebecca and Harper Coulson

Country Club Christian Church

Sam Cullan and James Landrum

Donnelly College

Forward OP & Johnson County Community College

SuEllen Fried

Gillian and Scott Helm

Irv Hockaday

Howe Street Group

Jenny and John Isenberg

Cindy and Vince Johnston

Mark and Mary Jorgenson

Donna and Ward Katz

Marli Klumb

Howard Lubow

Marti and Pat McLarney

Alana Muller and Marc Hammer

Lydia and Eric Muller

Lynne and Mark O’Connell

Jerry and Patty Reece

Bill Rubin

Shaun Stallworth

Ursula Terrasi

UMKC Department of Political Science

Lauren Weinhold and Scott Fuller

Wickham James Strategies & Solutions

Beth and Karl Zobrist

Patron Party Sponsors

Beryl Raff and Paul Russell

In Kind Sponsors

Bliss Books and Wine

Boulevard Brewing Company

The Kansas City Star


Marriott Kansas City Downtown

Mike’s Wine & Spirits

United Methodist Church of the Resurrection


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