Lisa Sock + Associates – StoryCorps

20 Stories of Impact

For the past two decades, StoryCorps has been collecting and preserving stories that embody the American experience. In celebration of our 20-year journey, we’re looking back at what we’ve accomplished and how–with the support of listeners who believe in the power of storytelling to change the world–we’ll continue to illuminate the humanity and possibility within each of us.

1. Collecting a nation full of stories

StoryCorps has created the largest archive of human voices ever recorded, bringing together 644,531 participants to share a conversation, record the wisdom of their humanity, and remind future generations of the life we are living today.

2. A tapestry of American experiences

Our online archive contains 357,963 conversations from every corner of the country, representing the full spectrum of the American experience. These stories range from reflections on significant historical events to everyday encounters, evoking a wide array of emotions, including inspiration, joy, nostalgia, and heartache.

3. Bringing StoryCorps to your doorstep

Our StoryCorps Mobile Tour has covered 243 stops in 217 cities, giving everyday Americans a chance to document and share their stories as a vital part of our nation’s history.

4. The magic of our mobile app

In 2015 we put the StoryCorps experience entirely in your hands. Since then, 757,558 individuals have used the app to record, preserve, and discover stories.

5. We help people explore the depths of their love

StoryCorps encourages us to have meaningful conversations with the people most important to us. Family, love, and childhood are the top keywords used to tag conversations on our app.

6. The Great Thanksgiving Listen

One of our most popular programs–which encourages young people to record an interview with an elder, mentor, friend, or someone they admire–has collected 150,000 intergenerational interviews since its launch in 2015.

7. Building a loyal audience

11 million listeners tune in to our broadcasts on NPR each week, and our animated shorts and broadcast stories have been viewed 34 million times across our digital platforms. Our digital audience continues to grow as we share our content on social media, our website, and with partners like Delta Airlines, Roku, Reader’s Digest, and AARP magazine.

8. … and a vast library

Our broadcasts, podcasts, and animations total 8,264 minutes of content that remind us all of who we are at our best.

9. Preserving them in our nation’s capital

The StoryCorps Archive, housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., comprises one of the first and the largest born-digital collections of human voices.

10. Celebrating diversity

We are dedicated to amplifying voices that often go unheard. The majority of our weekly broadcasts feature storytellers who self-identify with an underrepresented group, including: 26% Black or African American; 9% Latine; 6% Indigenous; 8% Asian American or Pacific Islander; and 13% LGBTQ+ (participants may identify with more than one group).

Join us by becoming a monthly donor!

Your ongoing support will ensure StoryCorps can continue to expand our impact as we begin our third decade.

11. Helping you DIY

StoryCorps DIY is a collection of multimedia resources for educators, libraries, and nonprofit organizations who want to embed StoryCorps practices into their classrooms and communities. Our self-paced, asynchronous courses give people tools, insights, and knowledge to encourage meaningful storytelling, create connections, and fuel learning within their community.

12. Initiatives that matter

We have launched 11 initiatives dedicated to collecting the vital stories of veterans, service members, and military families; LGBTQ+ Americans; families that have been impacted by the events of 9/11; and refugees, asylees, immigrants, and Muslims living in America; among many others and with more to come!

13. Making sure we’re all heard

StoryCorps has established five StoryBooths in select locations, partnering with local community organizations that serve diverse populations to ensure these voices are captured and preserved and to make the recording experience as accessible as possible. StoryBooth locations have included San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, with a permanent StoryBooth currently in Atlanta.

14. Reflecting a vast array of experiences

StoryCorps conversations capture the wisdom and experiences of everyday people, from our oldest participant, who was 111 years old at the time of recording, to our youngest, who was just about to turn 4 when she recorded.

15. Partnering with hundreds of great organizations

From local public radio stations to nonprofits that are changing the world, our partners help us lift every single initiative off the ground, onto the streets, and into your homes.

16. Humbly accepted awards and recognition

StoryCorps has received several George Foster Peabody Awards, a News & Documentary Emmy Award in 2016 for the animated short “Traffic Stop,” the TED Prize in 2015, and the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2013.

17. Creating a culture of understanding

Our Learning and Engagement team has held over 150 presentations and workshops, sharing the StoryCorps model with organizations across the country. We empower them to create their own StoryCorps-inspired projects that capture the stories of their communities.

18. Stepping into someone else’s shoes

84% of listeners say StoryCorps helps them understand the experiences of those who are different from them and helps them see the value of everyone’s life story and experience.

19. Finding common ground

Content from One Small Step–our initiative to remind the country of our shared humanity–has successfully convinced more than 60% of listeners that it is possible to have meaningful conversations with someone who holds different political beliefs.

20. Inspiring hope

StoryCorps makes 81% of listeners feel positive about humanity, illuminating the best of us and helping us all to believe in each other.

Perception Gaps and How We Can Overcome Fear of “the Other Side”

Nine in 10 people today believe that America is more divided than at any other point in their lifetime. Yet despite pronounced differences across race, geography, education, and class, Americans generally tend to overestimate the prevalence of extreme views held by those with differing political views (“the other side”) on key issues like race, immigration, and policing.

According to a recent study conducted by More In Common, the nonprofit that studies polarization in an effort to build more resilient societies (and also a key partner to One Small Step), the discrepancy is startling. In their report entitled The Perception Gap, Americans have a deeply inaccurate understanding of each other. The Perception Gap refers to the difference between one side’s actual beliefs and the other side’s perceptions of those beliefs. In other words, each side thinks the other is way more extreme than they are, because they associate the other side with the most extreme version of them.

On the topic of racism, for example, Democrats believe that nearly half of Republicans deny it even exists. The actual percentage is 21 percent.

Democrats’ Perception Gap

Democrats’ Perception Gap

Republicans’ Perception Gap

Republicans’ Perception Gap

“Reducing perception gaps is important because fear of the other side is such a major reason for excusing rule-breaking, violence, and extremism on your own side,” More In Common founder Tim Dixon said.

The wider a person’s perception gap, the likelier they are to describe the other side as “hateful,” “racist,” or “brainwashed.”

What you can do to overcome perception gaps:

  1. Recognize your echo chamber. We gravitate to like-minded people, and consume news sources that align with our perspectives—there’s nothing wrong with that! However, it’s critical that we question whether we’re hearing what is objectively true, or just something we prefer to hear.
  2. Be an ambassador for humanity. Research shows that people are more likely to sympathize with the other side if someone from their own political group does it first.
  3. Consider participating in One Small Step. Anyone in the US can pair up in a 50-minute conversation with someone who holds different beliefs. Sign up to be matched.

In times of heightened tension and violence—especially when there is growing mistrust of national news outlets—One Small Step pairs two people with opposing viewpoints, so they can begin to get to know each other as people and restore trust—one conversation at a time.

Wichita Conservative Advisory Group Member Shares His Experiences

We recently sat down with Ben Sauceda, a member of the One Small Step (OSS) Conservative Community Advisory Group in Wichita, Kansas, to learn more about what drew him to become engaged in OSS.

Ben was encouraged to participate in an OSS interview by his friend, Dalton Glasscock, who was one of the first OSS participants in Wichita. Ben recorded his interview with his conversation partner in April 2022. Then, StoryCorps Founder and President Dave Isay came to Wichita to speak at the annual Wichita Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“I like civic engagement,” Ben said. “Even though I’m a conservative guy, I think differences only strengthen us. I’m excited to encourage others to participate in OSS.”

“Conservatives are skeptical of the media,” he said. “We’re trying to get more people in and around Wichita, especially conservatives, to be engaged in these important conversations.” By reaching out to his network of friends, and through his role on the Park City City Council (Park City is a town just outside of Wichita), Ben is elevating the importance of OSS conversations and encouraging others to participate. “There’s obviously a group of people—on both sides—that don’t want anything to do with the other side. But there’s a large segment who are open to having a conversation. The more they hear what it’s like to participate, the more open they are,” he said.

Research commissioned by StoryCorps indicates that 1 in 5 Wichita residents are now familiar with the OSS program—a significant level of awareness after just two years of work in the Anchor Community.

In addition to serving on the Wichita Conservative Community Advisory Council, Ben also appears in the OSS Wichita ad campaign that debuted in May. “I’ve had people tell me they’ve seen me in a commercial,” he said. “A friend signed up and she said ‘I saw you did it and so I signed up!’”

Experiences like Ben’s help others see the value in participating in OSS. Learn more and apply to be matched today.

Research Underscores Impact of One Small Step Experience

How do we ensure that engaging with the One Small Step initiative is having the desired effect—helping people with opposing political views see the humanity in each other, and seeding hope for a better future? At StoryCorps, we leverage several research studies to understand and measure the impact of our work.

To assess the impact of the conversation experience, we work with Yale University’s Social Perception and Communication Laboratory. This high-level research examines changes in interpersonal empathy and perceptions before and after someone participates in an OSS conversation. Among more than 400 participants, Yale found that both liberal and conservative participants felt more empathetic toward their interview partner after their OSS conversation, and the most recent results suggest that some participants show significant levels of increased empathy for all people on “the other side” after participating in OSS.

We partner with More In Common, an organization dedicated to fighting polarization, to measure general reactions to the content we create about One Small Step. They test our advertising campaigns, our messaging, and the snippets of OSS conversations we create and distribute as short animations with a broad cross-section of Americans to help us improve our work.

They identify the characteristics of our campaigns and content that most inspire and engage Americans and they help us understand which of these qualities have the most potential to shift perceptions of America’s divisions. And, they show us how specific audience segments respond to different messages so we can target the right audiences with the right content.

After polling more than 1,000 research participants, they found that our best performing content feels genuine and unscripted; features authentic, relatable participants who have real chemistry; and showcases conversations focused on human connection rather than political issues. They also discovered that OSS content and messaging convinces most people (more than 60 percent) that it is possible to have meaningful conversations with someone who holds different political beliefs, and that exposure to our best content can increase Americans’ willingness to engage directly with those with different political beliefs by almost 50 percent.

Lastly, we work with Benenson Strategy Group, a leading national pollster, to measure awareness of OSS in Wichita—one of our One Small Step Anchor Communities—as well as shifts in attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of Wichita residents exposed to OSS. In our most recent poll in late 2022, they surveyed more than 500 Wichitans and found that OSS reached a significant level of awareness in Wichita: an astoundingly high 1 in 5 residents had heard of the program.

Wichitans who are aware of OSS (who participated in a conversation, saw an ad, or experienced our content) are more hopeful that civil communication across the political divide is possible than those who are unaware. Wichitans who are aware of OSS report less division locally and nationally, compared to those who aren’t aware, and they are also significantly more likely to respect—and feel respected by—those with whom they disagree politically. 

Each of these ongoing research studies helps us—along with our funders and the bridge-building field—understand how to make our work more effective. The bottom line? Exposure to OSS, whether someone participates in a conversation or not, shifts Americans’ beliefs and behaviors and puts us on a path to normalizing cross-partisan conversation and gives us hope for a better future. Stay tuned for more on this front soon!

New Ad Campaign Highlights Local Participation in One Small Step

From May 9-11, One Small Step (OSS) team members visited Wichita, Kansas where — among other activities — they met with partners and local community advisors, hosted a focus group of OSS participants, and gave key local supporters a sneak preview of the new OSS advertising campaign that launched in all three Anchor Communities this week, including Wichita.

Research conducted on behalf of StoryCorps indicates that Wichitans who are aware of OSS — those who have seen our campaigns and messages or who have participated — report being more confident that civil cross-partisan conversation is possible and they are more hopeful about the future than those who are not aware. Additional research shows that after listening to a One Small Step conversation, people are 50% more likely to engage with someone from the “other side.” The advertising campaign will feature video spots that will run on connected TV and YouTube, as well as digital, social media, and print ads that will run in the major local daily newspapers.

The campaign features real OSS participants talking about why they took “one small step” and what participating in the program has meant for them. Leigh Okies with I/D.W, a creative agency whose studio designed the campaign, shared more about the strategy and philosophy behind it.

“We set out to feature real people, not actors, in each of the Anchor Communities, and asked one question, ‘What did you take One Small Step for?’ It’s a simple framework that helps elicit an authentic answer,” Leigh said. “While we want people to apply to be matched for a conversation, we also know from the research and principles of contact theory that simply seeing others taking part in conversations can shift our perceptions of what’s possible.” The campaign also features snippets of real OSS conversations and video testimonials. “All the participants we reached out to were so passionate about One Small Step and eager to be a part of the campaign,” she said. “Sharing their experiences helps others see that they can have these kinds of conversations too and it doesn’t need to be too hard or scary.”

“Anchor Communities have developed a lot of local pride in their OSS program,” she continued. “To see leaders in these cities — and the communities overall — actively participate in OSS is a great way to see how this effort can be scaled more broadly.”

“I believe in StoryCorps” – A letter from Jason Reynolds

One of my first “real” jobs out of college was facilitating StoryCorps conversations, and over the years I helped shepherd more than 300 stories into the StoryCorps archives. More than a decade later, I’m still moved by the stories that I witnessed—including one that ended with an emotional marriage proposal.

What I learned in my time working at StoryCorps was that we always have another chance: another chance to grow, to learn, to change, to connect. I believe that everyone has a story, and that our stories help us understand and connect to one another. The passion for storytelling I discovered while working at StoryCorps is why I started writing novels for young adults. 

I believe in the power of stories to bring us together and I believe in StoryCorps. 

The way StoryCorps has expanded its model of collecting, archiving, and sharing stories from across the country is groundbreaking. And it’s critical to show kids especially that they have a place in the world. I was lucky to learn that from an early age—and, today, I support StoryCorps so kids like I once was can feel seen, represented, and empowered through stories.

If you too believe in the power of stories, please make a tax-deductible to StoryCorps.


Jason Reynolds
Bestselling Author
Board Member and Former StoryCorps Facilitator

Photo Credit: Adedayo “Dayo” Kosoko

Give with Confidence

Since our founding in 2003, we’ve preserved stories from more than 600,000 people–moments and experiences that have meaningfully shaped the lives of individual storytellers and, with deep listening, encourage us to view one another with greater empathy and compassion. Our lives may look different, but our humanity connects us all. 

When you give to StoryCorps, you can give with confidence knowing that we take stewardship of your gift seriously.

StoryCorps has earned the highest possible rating, four stars, from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of nonprofit organizations, and the highest score for transparency from Guidestar/Candid, a Platinum Seal. These ratings demonstrate fiscal excellence and a commitment to accountability and transparency. Explore ways to give that make sense for you.

“What could we have to talk about?”

By Laura Greenberg, StoryCorps participant

I have long been a fan of StoryCorps, but in 2010 when my daughter Rebecca suggested we visit the StoryCorps booth in Atlanta, Georgia, I was hesitant. “What could we have to talk about?” I thought. “I wasn’t in a war or part of anything important. This is silly.” 

“Just do it,” she said, and so I started talking about growing up with my no-boundaries parents and the chaotic fun that upbringing instilled in my life. Recording was a blast—but what really blew me away was how much our conversation resonated with people all over. Listeners laughed alongside our antics and saw themselves in our family’s love for each other and our unconventional ways of expressing it. Our little slice of life became so much more.

Listen to our conversation here.

After that story was broadcast on NPR and took off, StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay told me they were hoping for more funny stories like it. And that’s what made me want to get more involved: because we all need more funny stories! Everybody has something to share, even if it turns out to be a silly moment about a father conducting a record player symphony from his lounge chair.

The joy of my story isn’t just in the telling; every time it gets re-aired, animated, or otherwise starts making the rounds again, I am gratified all over again by the response. And I get to remember my own parents and share them with the world.

Your gift makes it possible to produce more stories for more listeners—please make a gift today.

Your support makes it possible for StoryCorps, an independently funded nonprofit, to collect, archive, and share the stories of people from all backgrounds because everyone’s stories deserve to be heard.


Taking Pride in our stories

By Jeffrey Perri, StoryCorps participant

Having a role model means everything to a kid coming out of the closet. When it was my turn, I had a unique role model: my grandfather, Tony Perri. Though he’d cared for my Grandma Shirley and loved being a dad, Papa came out to his family not long after the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the nation’s first Pride Parade in 1970. His coming out was an incredibly brave act.

Today, I like to tell people how Papa and his decision to, as he says, “live honestly,” paved the way for me and other queer kids. Thanks to StoryCorps, his journey and mine are now archived in the Library of Congress, a snapshot of history that others will be able to access for generations.  

Listen to our conversation here.

The experience of telling our story together in 2009—at Pride, no less!—was warm and meaningful, but the response we’ve received has been truly incredible. People across the country have left comments and sent emails, telling both of us how our story resonated with them. When StoryCorps chose to animate it earlier this year, the video brought our story to life for a whole new audience, long after we thought it was “done.”

Stories matter, and so does passing them down from one generation to the next. The unique slices of life that StoryCorps preserves and shares come from raw and real places, with lessons for all of us, and there’s nowhere else that offers such a broad, beautiful collection of experiences.

Help StoryCorps make this work possible by making a gift today.

Your support makes it possible for StoryCorps, an independently funded nonprofit, to collect, archive, and share the stories of people from all backgrounds because everyone’s stories deserve to be heard.


My holiday tradition with my father

By Dane E. Holmes, StoryCorps board chair

As part of our annual holiday tradition, my father, Jonas, and I sat down to listen to our StoryCorps interview from 2013. Our conversation touches on the experiences of several generations of Black men in my family, from the Deep South to Chicago, and in it, you’ll hear the warmth and laughter that are a part of any chat I have with my dad. Our story is rich and real—it’s become part of our holiday tradition because it reminds our family of the history and humor that brought us to the present moment. 

Listen to our conversation here.

I love my dad’s interview. I am so grateful to have these memories preserved, and I know they will only become more valuable as time passes. My story is about the power of love in the face of 20th century racism, how to handle naysayers with wit and confidence, and how to lead by example. And it’s thanks to StoryCorps that our story has been recorded, archived, and made available to anyone who wants to listen.

Over the last 19 years, StoryCorps has been opening us to new perspectives, one conversation at a time. I currently serve as StoryCorps’ board chair, but I’ve been part of the organization for a decade and since then, it has been my privilege to hear and share hundreds of stories from people just like—and completely unlike—my dad. Together, we preserve and share stories that illuminate our shared humanity, build mutual empathy, and create a culture of understanding and hope. 

Our work is by and for the public, and it will always be free to experience. But it’s not free to create, and we need supporters and storytellers like you to keep making StoryCorps possible. Please donate today!

We remain grateful for the listeners, supporters, participants, and friends who sustain StoryCorps, and we are excited for everything that lies ahead.

Your support makes it possible for StoryCorps, an independently funded nonprofit, to collect, archive, and share the stories of people from all backgrounds because everyone’s stories deserve to be heard.