Our Story – The Hub for American Narrative

Our Story Logo

If we are to make the bold changes our country and our times demand, Americans must understand and embrace our values and our core beliefs about creating a just society. Narrative is fundamental to making the cultural change that is essential for social and political change.

Mission – The mission of Our Story – The Hub for American Narratives is to support and develop the capacity among progressive organizations and leaders for powerful, values-based communication on core American beliefs.

What we do – Narrative should be a core capacity in every endeavor to make change. We can help you develop that capacity:

Our Story is a project of the Proteus Fund and Proteus Action League. We work with non-profit (501c3) and social welfare (501c4) organizations and with elected leaders. Many times we are able to provide services and support from our foundation grants. In other cases, we may need to ask for financial support to assist you. Contact us to see how we can work together.

Who we work with – At Our Story, we work with a broad array of progressive organizations and leaders, including: community organizations, constituency groups, issue campaigns, elected officials, labor unions, think tanks, communications groups, state narrative projects and public opinion researchers.

Who we are – The Our Story Advisory Committee forms a learning community to develop and strengthen powerful values-values based communication.

The Our Story staff includes:

Richard Kirsch
Richard Kirsch

Richard Kirsch, Our Story Director, combines a wealth of experience in developing and communicating narrative with an outstanding record of accomplishment leading national and state efforts to win social change. He led the development of the Progressive Economic Narrative Project and has worked with issue partners to develop narratives on economic issues and issues as diverse as the U.S. Role in the World, and public education. He has done extensive training with organizational leaders and elected officials on delivering powerful narratives.

Mr. Kirsch brings 30 years of coalition building, outreach, policy, organizing and communications work at the state and national level. He served as the National Campaign Manager of Health Care for America Now, from the Campaign’s founding to its successful conclusion with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. HCAN was an 1,100 member coalition, led by major progressive organizations, that deployed staff in 44 states and spent $47 million to organize for comprehensive health care reform. As HCAN’s chief spokesperson, Mr. Kirsch appeared on PBS’s The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, ABC’s World News Tonight and Good Morning America, Fox, CSPAN, and the Colbert Report and was frequently quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

Richard Kirsch was a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute from 2010 through 2016. He is the author of Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States. From 1985 to 2008, Mr. Kirsch served as Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York.

Spencer Olson
Spencer Olson

Spencer Olson is the director of Washington State’s Communications Hub and Heroes’ Narrative program. Mr. Olson brings a rich background in grassroots organizing, community engagement, and political communications to his work developing and implementing story-based messaging for issue campaigns. As director of the Communications Hub, Mr. Olson oversaw the research and development of the Heroes’ Narrative’s latest handbook and leads implementation of the narrative in the field. Mr. Olson has had particular success with engaging “rising American majority” communities in the creation and use of the handbook, adding a racial equity lens to the Heroes’ Narrative.

Prior to leading the Communications Hub, Spencer worked in HIV/AIDS advocacy in Washington, DC supporting LGBTQ youth in the fight against the disease and was recognized by the White House as one of “the Next Generation of LGBTQ leaders” in 2012. Spencer has also organized around the country, working with groups including CREDO Action, NRDC, and Energy Action Coalition.

Click here to learn about how we can work together