“Belonging Begins With Us” Campaign and the Team Up Project Partner on New PSA to Unite Communities Across America

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Cover image for  article: “Belonging Begins With Us” Campaign and the Team Up Project Partner on New PSA to Unite Communities Across America

Today, “Belonging Begins With Us,” an Ad Council and American Immigration Council (AIC) campaign, partnered with the Team Up Project to release a new public service advertisement (PSA) encouraging people to come together across lines of difference to cultivate stronger, more connected communities.

The Team Up Project – led by founding partners Catholic Charities USA, Habitat for Humanity International, Interfaith America and the YMCA of the USA – seeks to expand relationship-building activities and encourage connection in local communities through shared action. This closely aligns with and uplifts the mission of the AIC and the broader “Belonging Begins With Us” campaign to create a more welcoming nation where everyone can belong.

To encourage more of the bridge-building behaviors already taking place daily in communities across the nation, the new PSA “Shared Table” highlights opportunities for people from all walks of life to connect with one another through community activities such as book clubs, volunteering and potluck meals. Created by Avoq, the film is a montage of human connection, featuring people engaging with one another around various types of tables that represent opportunities to get to know others and create stronger, more connected communities.

The PSA directs audiences to a dedicated landing page on the campaign website, BelongingBeginsWithUs.org/TeamUp. The landing page features real stories of belonging from across the country, a guided quiz that prompts users to reflect on their own sense of belonging and bridge-building actions people can take to help others in their local community feel that they belong.

“At our core, each of us longs to belong – to feel like we can be our full selves, contribute to a collective purpose, and be surrounded by fulfilling relationships,” said Kimberly Serrano, director of the Center for Inclusion and Belonging at the American Immigration Council. “The fact is, all of us question whether or not we belong, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Belonging is dynamic and attainable, and we can find it and build it together.”

According to the AIC and OverZero’s Belonging Barometer report, nearly two-thirds of Americans report feeling a lack of belonging in at least one life setting, including 64% in the workplace, 68% in the country and 74% in their local community. This underscores the need for people to connect with others across lines of difference so they can benefit from a stronger sense of belonging – a basic human need that is vital to our personal health, the productivity of our workplaces and the strength of our democracy.

“Building strong, welcoming and inclusive communities happens when individuals look past their differences and do what humans do best – empathize and connect over shared experiences.” said Michelle Hillman, chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council. “We are proud to collaborate with partners and organizations like the Team Up Project that embody our campaign’s message of belonging and inclusion through the work they do in their communities each day.”

“The Team Up Project partners believe that forging new connections among community members and bringing people together around a common goal can help repair our fraying social fabric,” said Suzanne McCormick, president and CEO of the YMCA of the USA. “Right now, there seems to be an outsized focus on our differences. But building bridges across those differences can strengthen our communities, foster understanding among neighbors and create a sense of belonging that so many people are seeking right now.”

“Whether it’s for a potluck, a conference, a game, or something in between, we all know what it’s like to bring people together around a table. This concept is centered on the idea that we all have the power to create belonging at the tables we share with one another,” said Kevin Richards, chief creative officer at Avoq. “‘Shared Table’ encourages people to find the small ways they can build connections within their communities by starting with the people around their table.”

Since the “Belonging Begins With Us” campaign launched in December 2020, its PSAs have garnered more than 5.2B impressions, raising awareness about the importance of belonging. According to an Ad Council online survey of over 1,300 U.S. adults, respondents who are aware of the “Belonging Begins With Us” campaign's PSAs are significantly more likely to have reflected on what it means to feel a sense of belonging in their community (83% aware vs. 62% not aware). They were also more likely to report getting to know someone who moved to this country on a personal level in the past 12 months (73% aware vs. 47% not aware) compared to those who are not aware of the PSAs. The new PSA aims to reach even more people, and will be distributed to more than 1,800 TV stations across the country and the work will be promoted across Ad Council, American Immigration Council, Team Up Project and “Belonging Begins with Us” social channels, with a combined following of nearly 3 million people.

For more information about the “Belonging Begins With Us” campaign and the Team Up Project partnership, visit BelongingBeginsWithUs.org/TeamUp or follow the campaign on Instagram, Facebook, X and LinkedIn.

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