Connecting governments and citizens - Citizens Foundation
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The Citizens Foundation believes in non-partisan futurist solutions to current problems facing democracy. We have recently seen technology undermine our faith in debate in the public arena; the Foundation believes that innovations in technology can be used to restore faith in democratic debate and institutions instead.


Our open solutions have been used in hundreds of engagement projects in 20 countries by over 1.5 million people for the past 11 years. We believe that by building from success in improving communities of all sizes, restoring faith in democratic engagement one constituency at a time, we will thereby help forge solutions that will mount to a global tide of change.

The nonprofit Citizens Foundation was founded in 2008 in Iceland and now has offices in Iceland, the United States & the UK. Its mission is to connect governments and citizens by creating open state-of-the-art engagement platforms and offering consultation on how to best plan & execute successful citizen engagement projects.


We were awarded for our efforts with Better Reykjavik in 2011, winning the European award in the e-Democracy Awards as well as several local awards in 2011 and 2012. In 2015 a forum of the mayors of the Nordic capitals awarded our Better Neighborhoods project in Reykjavík the Nordic Best Practice 2015 award.

Citizens Foundation video introduction

Step by step engagement tutorial

Citizen Engagement Solutions

Policy Crowdsourcing with Your Priorities


Your Priorities enables citizens to come up with great ideas and debate those while minimizing personal arguments and trolling. Your Priorities has been used in hundreds of engagement projects in 20 countries by over 1.5 million people for the past 11 years.


Citizens add ideas, can view other people’s ideas, and take part in an effective debate about each idea. For each idea you can add points for or points against. Once you’ve added a debate point, other people can vote the point up or down but they can’t comment directly on it – they will have to write a standalone counterpoint that has no direct connection to your initial point. This makes trolling almost impossible, defangs and downplays any personal arguments between participants, and is the key to the high-quality engagement that is achieved when using the Your Priorities platform.

Participatory Budgeting


Budget voting and civic education with Open Active Voting

Empower Citizens With AI


Empower citizens with Artificial Intelligence with Active Citizen

Upgrading Democracy around the world

Active Citizen / Open Active Voting / Participatory Budgeting / Your Priorities

Connecting citizens and governments

Meet The Team

Robert Bjarnason

President & CEO

Róbert is a successful entrepreneur that introduced the web to Iceland in 1993 and in 1995 to Denmark. Before co-founding the Citizens Foundation in the year 2008 he worked in the online gaming industry where his teams received many industry awards.

Guðný Maren Valsdóttir

Creative director

Maren is a multimedia artist and a designer. She is a force of creativity energy at the Citizens Foundation and works on the design of our apps and websites since the year 2012. Maren also contributes to the overall strategy and sits on the board of directors.

Gunnar Grímsson
Gunnar Grímsson


As a co-founder and former CEO Gunnar has been at the heart of the Citizens Foundation since its start. He is an experienced process and interface designer with a strong background in multiple fields and has worked on citizens engagement projects all over the world.

Joshua Lanthier-Welch

Executive Director, Citizens Foundation America

Josh brings to Citizens Foundation America a diverse background, with stints in academic development and philanthropy fundraising, working closely with Robert in writing, design and business development tasks in the videogame industry, and most recently in socially responsible entrepreneurship in promoting sustainable agriculture and improved food systems.

Katherine Breedlove

Director, Citizens Foundation America

Katherine brings years of experience in logistics and operations. For the last ten years she has worked closely with Josh in social, political, and educational outreach in the agricultural sector, helping to build a brand that promoted sustainable agriculture and best practices in the food industry.

Dave Parsons

Director, Citizens Engagement Foundation UK

David has been involved in the development of Internet applications since 1996. Initially working at the Internet Applications Group (INTAPPS) delivering enterprise level applications for companies including PwC, UBS, Vodafone & BP. In 2004 he founded Decypher Media that developed advanced Fintech applications and websites for global hedge funds GLG Partners, Man Group PLC & Castle Trust.

Sophia Dyvik Henke


Sophia is an undergraduate at Cambridge studying Human, Social and Political Sciences. She was the Coordinator of Rory Stewart’s field campaign in central London, has produced film and lobbied government with the UK Student Climate Network and is a Youth Climate Ambassador for the Centre for UN Constitutional Research.

Our Social Networks


Open Source Software

Your Priorities App


Participatory idea generation and policy crowdsourcing social network application on github.

Open Active Voting


Budget voting and civic education app on github.

Active Citizen


Artificial Intelligence for citizen via Active Citizen library on github.

Let’s connect!


Email us at or use form below


Request information on our tools. Please tell us what you need from digital tools for your community or organisation.

Check ALL the items that interest you and leave us a short message. Send me information on:

Digital Solutions and Tools Information with links to the best videos and presentationsFree Webinar about Idea Generation and Participatory Budgeting with Q and A on our digital tools (Better Reykjavik’s 8 years, 4 million Euros per year participatory budgeting experience.)Hosting or Software Development Options - Affordable service level agreements, advanced hosting, software customizationOpen Source Code - I am a technology developer interested in options for collaboration

Do you want to engage citizens online or do internal idea generation work remotely? The nonprofit Citizens Foundation now offers free hosting and support for any nonprofit, educational & health organization. Check out the Get Started tutorial!

Catalyst Digital Teams available to help charities respond to COVID-19

Digital Teams made up digital, design and data expertise to help charities go through urgent transitions #COVID2019

@shift_org @dotprojectcoop @TechForGoodCAST

Right now @luciacirimello from @TransparencyUK is presenting on 'Pledge trackers as catalysts for accountability'. If that interests you, join #TICTeC, free and online right now:

#TICTeC online is happening, and free to attend, thanks to our sponsors @CitizensFNDN @luminategroup @Google @Facebook @balsamiq. We are very grateful to be able to bring you this #civictech event thanks to their support. 🙏


The second day of #TICTeC online kicks off at 13:00 GMT today. Here's the agenda: Do join to hear & discuss sessions from @hrgilman @AfricanLII @indigotrust @OpenAQ @g0vtw @alexparsons @Change & @TransparencyUK All free and online. #civictech


Using these tools

These citizen's assembles could go online and maintain their energy and momentum! 😃 #democracy #citizensassembly
cc @NetZeroUK @Conv_Citoyenne @CitizensXr @jontybradley @eltondaddow @RayScanlan1 @BangtheTable @GroupQuality @TweetMRS

Paul Vittles FMRS FAMI FRSA@PaulVittles

#CitizensAssemblies postponing, with no date to re-convene, when they could maintain their energy & momentum & fulfil original timeframes by completing #online, inc final votes & recommendations!

@NetZeroUK @Conv_Citoyenne @CitizensXr #DemoPart #DelibDem #democracy #DelibWave

That was the final 'official' #TICTeC session of the day. We're back tomorrow at 13:00 GMT for more #civictech presentations: please do join us for some or all of it. The agenda is at

The final 'official' #TICTeC session at 16:20 GMT will be from @CivicHall's @Mlsif and @mstem on 'How to last in Civic Tech'. Join us on Zoom. Instructions here:


Róbert Bjarnason (@CitizensFNDN Iceland) & @jonthorolafsson (@uni_iceland) now explaining more about the tech behind collaboratively writing Iceland's constitution at #TICTeC. How to listen in

Sigurlaug Anna will talk through Reykjavik City Council's citizen engagement projects to date, and how they see them developing in the future.

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