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Community mediation offers constructive processes for resolving differences and conflicts between individuals, groups, and organizations. It is an alternative to avoidance, destructive confrontation, prolonged litigation or violence. It gives people in conflict an opportunity to take responsibility for the resolution of their dispute and control of the outcome. Community mediation is designed to preserve individual interests while strengthening relationships and building connections between people and groups, and to create processes that make communities work for all of us.

 In community mediation, a mediator guides participant through difficult conversations, providing a safe environment to discuss their conflict.  These processes vary depending on the needs of the disputants and the capacity of the community mediator.  In community mediation, the decision-making authority rests with the parties themselves.

The purpose of the National Association for Community Mediation is to support the maintenance and growth of community-based mediation programs and processes, to present a compelling voice in appropriate policy-making, legislative, professional, and other arenas, and to encourage the development and sharing of resources for these efforts.

 Serving as the hub: NAFCM listens for impact; shares to empower; creates needed connections; and focuses on abundance. 

Mission Statement

NAFCM supports peacemakers by being the hub for advancing the work of community mediation, aggregating the wisdom of community mediation and amplifying the voice of community mediators. NAFCM's purpose, as a membership association of peacemakers who employ the practices and values of community mediation, is to help these peacemakers to create safe spaces for the transformation of conflict to opportunities for engagement, resolution and partnership through the work and will of the participants and those impacted.

Vision Statement

NAFCM's vision is that community mediation leads to community mobilization (both individually and collectively).

Core Values

We support the preservation of community mediation values by modeling and promoting accountability, ethics and transparency in all we do.


We work to empower and support our members to uphold and advance a commitment to the values and standard of excellence that are the foundation of community mediation.



We continuously seek to bring innovation, growth and creativity to advance the mission of community mediation in an environment of constant change.



We operate with perpetual inquisitiveness around possibilities, potential and opportunities for progress.



We act as a vehicle for connection between our members, our communities, and the nation to bring opportunities for collaborative solutions.

Definition of Mediation

Mediation is a process of dispute resolution in which one or more impartial third parties intervenes in a conflict with the consent of the disputants and assists them in negotiating a consensual and informed agreement. In mediation, the decision-making authority rests with the parties themselves.  


In mediation, a mediator guides participants through difficult conversations, providing a safe environment to discuss their conflict.  The mediator will:

  • Actively listen allowing everyone an opportunity to build greater understanding. 
  • Be impartial and not takes sides, give advice, or make judgments. 
  • Guide the participants through a collaborative problem solving process during which participants can develop solutions that meet their needs. 

Organizational Goals

  1. Serve as a national voice and an advocate of community mediation in legislative, policy-making, professional, and other arenas.
  2. Promote the values, understanding, public awareness, and practice of community mediation and collaborative problem solving.
  3. Educate private and public funding sources about the experience, breadth, benefits and applications of community mediation and develop financial resources for community mediation.
  4. Serve as a national clearinghouse of information on the development and practice of community mediation.
  5. Foster communication and mutual assistance among members in such areas as training, funding, technology, and program and policy development.
  6. Create and maintain a national directory and database for community mediation.
  7. Encourage and promote regional and national collaborative projects among community mediation programs.
  8. Promote and encourage collaboration between community mediation programs and non-dispute resolution organizations at both the local and national level.
  9. Develop and maintain ties with national, regional, state, and other dispute resolution and related organizations to enhance the growth of community mediation.
  10. Support research, program evaluation, mediation theory development, innovation, and quality in community mediation.
  11. Recognize and celebrate volunteers in community mediation.
  12. Develop local and national community mediation leadership.

9 Hallmarks of Community Mediation Centers

Community Mediation Centers are Characterized by, and/or Committed to:
  1. A private non-profit or public agency or program thereof, with mediators, staff and governing/advisory board representative of the diversity of the community served. 
  2. The use of trained community volunteers as providers of mediation services; the practice of mediation is open to all persons. 
  3. Providing direct access to the public through self­-referral and striving to reduce barriers to service including physical, linguistic, cultural, programmatic and economic. 
  4. Providing service to clients regardless of their ability to pay. 
  5. Providing service and hiring without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, disabilities, national origin, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income. 
  6. Providing a forum for dispute resolution at the earliest stage of conflict. 
  7. Providing an alternative to the judicial system at any stage of a conflict.
  8. Initiating, facilitating and educating for collaborative community relationships to affect positive systemic change. 
  9. Engaging in public awareness and educational activities about the values and practices of mediation 

Statement of the Value of Diversity

NAFCM believes that when any group of persons is treated with less value, dignity or respect than others there are negative impacts for humanity and society. Community mediation programs are intended to be a reflection of each community including the multitude of traditions, customs, and values.

NAFCM affirms its commitment to honoring, embracing, and encouraging diversity in all aspects of community mediation. NAFCM values and seeks diversity in our staff, board of directors, committees, and membership. It is NAFCM’s intention to consciously and assertively remove barriers to participation in all aspects of our work and to honor our distinctive customs, values and traditions. NAFCM makes a firm commitment to create an organization (including community mediation centers) and a field that models, supports and teaches respectful pluralism among all.
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