David Brooks & Frederick Riley Talk the Mission Behind ‘Weave: The Social Fabric Project’ & How Educators Can Help Weave a Stronger Society

This is one article in a series produced in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Weave: The Social Fabric Project, spotlighting educators, mentors and local leaders who see community as the key to student success, especially during the turbulence of the pandemic. See all our profiles.

New York Times columnist David Brooks started Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute in 2018 to support people across the US who are doing the hard work of building trust and weaving an inclusive social fabric so their communities can thrive. 

For Brooks, these “weavers” are the only way to heal a deeply divided and suffering nation.

As project chair, Brooks works with Executive Director Frederick Riley to support weavers, lift them up as community leaders, and inspire others to join them. The Weave Project piloted its first-ever “Weaver Awards” in 2021, giving grants to trust builders in Baltimore, and is spreading the program to other towns and cities. It also has an online community where weavers and those who want to become weavers can share support, resources, and skills.

The 74 is honored to be partnering with Weave over the next two months to tell the stories of educator-weavers who are using relationships and building community to create school success. (See each chapter in our series by signing up for The 74’s newsletter.)

We visited The Aspen Institute’s office in Washington, D.C., earlier this spring and sat down with Brooks and Riley to talk about the Weave Project, the fraying of America’s social fabric and the key role educators can play in weaving us back together.

If this video isn’t playing, click here to see it.

—Produced by Jim Fields and Emmeline Zhao

Disclosure: The Walton Family Foundation provides financial support to both the Weave Project and The 74.

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