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Global Learning on Democratic Innovation Webinar Series

April 6, 2021 | Comments Off on Global Learning on Democratic Innovation Webinar Series

The Global Learning on Democratic Innovation webinar series, presented by Public Agenda and Club de Madrid, brings together panelists and moderators from around the world to discuss global innovations in various areas of democratic life, with a focus on nourishing the renewal of shared societies in situations of political polarization, democratic deficit and racial tensions.

What Is Civic Infrastructure and Why Is It Important?

April 1, 2021 | Comments Off on What Is Civic Infrastructure and Why Is It Important?

Many of the groups supporting President Biden’s stimulus bill touted its capacity to build “civic infrastructure.”  The resulting American Rescue Plan does include elements—like support for broadband access, child care, and volunteerism—that would seem to help Americans participate in public life. Is this enough? What exactly is civic infrastructure anyway, and what more might we need to do to strengthen it?

Fulcrum Op-Ed Highlights Need for Democratic Decision-Making in and out of the Classroom

March 24, 2021 | Comments Off on Fulcrum Op-Ed Highlights Need for Democratic Decision-Making in and out of the Classroom

Building on findings from our new report Essential Educators: Teacher and Parent Views on COVID-19, Interim Co-President and Director of Research David Schleifer describes how schools can not only be sites for civic education, but can also implement democratic practices that include teachers in decision-making. The op-ed, published March 24,…

People-Led Recovery: Three Ways the Philippines Built Back Better After the World’s Strongest Storm

March 22, 2021 | Comments Off on People-Led Recovery: Three Ways the Philippines Built Back Better After the World’s Strongest Storm
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In the Philippines, “build back better” has been a rallying cry for hundreds of thousands of families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. For many, however, post-disaster recovery has been a case of “building back bitter.” Beyond stories of bitterness, there are stories that bring the principles of “building back better” to life. Worth spotlighting is Pope Francis Village—an in-city housing resettlement site considered a global role model for post-disaster reconstruction.

Making it Count: Civic Participation and Census Success in Philadelphia

March 8, 2021 | Comments Off on Making it Count: Civic Participation and Census Success in Philadelphia

The Constitutionally-mandated U.S. Census has significant economic and political implications, including determining how many representatives each state will have in Congress for the next decade and the amount of federal funding communities receive for roads, schools and other social services. That’s why the city of Philadelphia chartered Philly Counts 2020, an organization formed from a team of innovative researchers, well-connected activists and civic leaders, to promote Philadelphians’ participation in the 2020 Census.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Engagement: Learning from a Neighborhood in the Bronx

March 2, 2021 | Comments Off on How COVID-19 Has Impacted Engagement: Learning from a Neighborhood in the Bronx

New Yorkers are serving their communities in several ways. They are checking in on their elderly neighbors, serving in their local churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples; coaching pee wee soccer, and fundraising for their parent teacher associations. However, when you look at the national data on volunteerism, New York City (NYC) ranks among the lowest in the country. 

Op-Ed in The Fulcrum Emphasizes Learnings from Abroad to Improve U.S. Democracy

February 24, 2021 | Comments Off on Op-Ed in The Fulcrum Emphasizes Learnings from Abroad to Improve U.S. Democracy

As the Healthier Democracies initiative gains momentum, Public Agenda’s Interim Co-President and Director of Public Engagement Matt Leighninger discusses how the U.S. can use lessons from other countries to improve democracy in a piece in the The Fulcrum. The op-ed, published February 24, 2021, emphasizes how innovations from other countries…

Community Voices for Health Digital Collaboration Workshop

February 18, 2021 | Comments Off on Community Voices for Health Digital Collaboration Workshop

On January 13, 2021, Public Agenda hosted a workshop as part of the Community Voices for Health initiative, sharing strategies on how to create more collaborative, engaging, and effective digital workshops and meetings. Evan Summers, Public Engagement Technology Strategist, walked participants through setting goals for virtual meetings, creating breakout rooms,…

Equitable and Inclusive Engagement: BIPOC Women Leading Disaster Recovery

February 9, 2021 | Comments Off on Equitable and Inclusive Engagement: BIPOC Women Leading Disaster Recovery

Join Nicole Cabral, Associate Director of New York Engagement Programs at Public Agenda, in conversation with Maria Garrett, President of the Fresh Creek Civic Association in Brooklyn, New York; Myrtle Phillips, President of Grand Bayou Families United in Grand Bayou, Louisiana; and Daphne Viverette, former Community Development Director of the City of Moss Point, Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. 

Essential Educators: Teacher and Parent Views on COVID-19

January 28, 2021 | Comments Off on Essential Educators: Teacher and Parent Views on COVID-19

New research from Public Agenda finds teachers and parents largely in agreement on crucial issues related to education and COVID-19 at a moment when in-school learning and vaccinations are top of mind for the American population. Just over half of both teachers and parents feel that their communities value teachers…


Giving teachers more decision-making power would bring democracy to life at school (The Fulcrum, March 24, 2021)

Police trials as benchmarks for racial justice (The Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 2021)

Time to apply ample lessons from abroad to improve democracy here (The Fulcrum, February 24, 2021) 

How Do Patients Feel About Social Risk Screening? (Healthcare Innovation, February 22, 2021)

Universal Child Care: A Bad Deal for Kids? (Institute for Family Studies, February 1, 2021)

McDonald's CEO: Chain will do 'just fine' with higher wages (Restaurant Dive, January 29, 2021)

Survey: Parents and Teachers Grapple with In-Person Learning (WOSU Public Media, January 28, 2021)

As support for $15 minimum wage gains momentum, Main Street fears it's not the right time (CNBC, January 25, 2021)

Democrats Hope Biz Tax Incentives Can Sell Wage Increase (Law360, November 17, 2020)

Bernie Sanders aceptaría integrarse a gabinete de Biden y apoya aumento de $15 dólares la hora a nivel nacional (El Diario, November 16, 2020)

Bernie Sanders claims majority of Americans support a ‘far-left agenda’ that includes raising minimum wage to $15 as he says he’d accept a position in President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet (Daily Mail, November 16, 2020)

Even a divided America agrees on raising the minimum wage (Brookings, November 13, 2020)

Irv Randolph: The growing demand for police reform (The Philadelphia Tribune, November 13, 2020)

As a deeply divided nation processes the election results, what DO we actually agree on? More than you’d think (MarketWatch, November 6, 2020)

Ways Republicans and Democrats have found common ground during contentious 2020 election (MSN, October 26, 2020)

Hidden Common Ground: We found that Americans are more united than it appears (USA TODAY, October 20, 2020)

Queens' 14 council districts may lose participatory budgeting for second year in a row (Queens Daily Eagle, October 19, 2020)

How Do Social Determinants of Health Affect Patient Wellness? (PatientEngagementHIT, October 9, 2020)

Poll: More Americans on both sides of the political spectrum want a higher minimum wage (WITF, September 30, 2020)

COVID-19 has narrowed the divide between GOP, Democratic voters on ways to support workers from pay to child care (USA TODAY, September 24, 2020)

David Bange: Turn climate anxiety into climate action (La Crosse Tribune, September 20, 2020)

Americans Share Common Ground, Misperceptions About Immigration, Poll Finds (KUNR Public Radio, August 14, 2020)

Americans’ confidence in police falls to historic low, Gallup poll shows (USA TODAY, August 12, 2020)

Poll shows growing disconnect over Trump's hard-line immigration policies (USA TODAY, August 12, 2020)

A 'huge moment' for police reform that could reshape Black communities for generations (USA TODAY, July 18, 2020)

There's Still More To Do But Black Lives Matter Protests Have Resulted In These Major Police Reforms (mitú, July 2, 2020)

USA TODAY poll: Americans want major police reform, more focus on serious crime (USA TODAY, June 29, 2020)

Broad Support for Most Police Reforms in New Survey (The Crime Report, June 29, 2020)

Breaking News - USA TODAY poll: Americans want major police reform, more focus on serious crime (US Latest News, June 29, 2020)

The Cost of Being a College Dropout (Coastline College Blog, June 20, 2020)

Will Americans follow social distancing measures? (Medium, June 5, 2020)

Think Americans Are Polarized Over Reopening, Face Masks? Survey Says Think Again (WOSU Public Media, May 29, 2020)

Health outweighs economy in poll (USA TODAY, May 29, 2020)

Monthly Civic Tech must-reads #6 (CitizenLab, April 27, 2020)

How to give back to your community during the pandemic (Rice University News and Media Relations, April 24, 2020)

New Vision Council Report Reveals Consumer Attitudes and Industry Insights About COVID-19 Crisis (Vision Monday, April 20, 2020)

Faced with a pandemic, good public health requires stronger democracy (The Hill, April 18, 2020)

Bloomington Health Foundation, CJAM receive $600,000 for Community Voices in Health project (Hoosier Times, April 15, 2020)

Colorado groups to receive health advocacy grant (Colorado Politics, April 15, 2020)

The coronavirus on Smart Talk Monday: End of life decisions and survey finds Americans on 'common ground' (WITF, April 13, 2020)

Like Jesus on Easter, we too will rise. After we beat the coronavirus. (USA TODAY Opinion, April 10, 2020)

Surveys on Coronavirus Impact Underscore Near-Term Challenges (SGB Media, April 7, 2020)

Bishops can do more to provide sacraments despite coronavirus fears, open letter claims (Catholic News Agency, April 7, 2020)

COVID-19 Bringing Communities Together (The 21st Show, April 6, 2020)

Survey: COVID-19 Brings U.S. Communities Together (Iowa Public Radio, April 6, 2020)

Poll: Americans choose saving lives over saving US economy (Rolla Daily News, April 4, 2020)

Coronavirus poll: Americans support drastic efforts to stop coronavirus, expect crisis to last for months in Public Agenda/USA TODAY/Ipsos poll (USA TODAY, April 3, 2020)

Despite Hardships, Americans See COVID-19 Bringing Communities Together, Survey Shows (Side Effects, April 3, 2020)

Poll: Halting Virus Is Bigger Priority Than Saving Economy (Newsmax, April 3, 2020)

Most believe stopping virus is larger priority than saving economy: poll (The Hill, April 3, 2020)

Poll: Americans Choose Saving Lives Over US Economy (Media Confidential, April 3, 2020)

Democratic, Republican voters actually agree on how to juice the economy. What's in the way? Politics. (USA TODAY, March 6, 2020)

science-based strategies to tame angry political debate and encourage tolerance (The Conversation, February 27, 2020)

How Social Determinants of Health Impact Pediatric No-Show Rates (Patient Engagement Hit, February 25, 2020)

Philanthropy's Role in Scaling Sounder Public Judgement (Medium, February 24, 2020)

Red and Blue America see eye-to-eye on one issue: the nation's health care system needs fixing (USA TODAY, February 7, 2020)

Americans Agree Health Care System Needs Fixing, New Survey Funds (WBUR, February 13, 2020)

Survey: Americans Agree Health Care System Needs Fixing (Side Effects, February 6, 2020)

Where Are All The Iowa Polls This Year? (FiveThirtyEight, January 31st, 2020)

Commentary: How to help New Yorkers compare health care options (New Canaan Advertiser, January 28th, 2020)

Republican and Democratic voters actually agree on many climate change fixes. So why no action? (USA TODAY, January 24, 2020)

Five myths about bipartisanship (The Washington Post, January 17, 2020)

Will Friedman: There is more common ground in America than you think (NewsRadio KTRH 740 AM, December 9, 2019)

Divided we fall? Americans see our angry political debate as 'a big problem' (USA TODAY, December 9, 2019)

Op-Ed: A Challenge to College Presidents (NJ Spotlight, November 19th, 2019)

Ethical College Admissions: Counseling vs. Coaching (Inside Higher Ed, November 11th, 2019)

USA TODAY NETWORK and Public Agenda to Explore the ‘Hidden Common Ground’ Among Citizens Leading to the 2020 Election (Yahoo!, November 11th, 2019)

Solving Higher Education’s Crisis Of Governance Means Changing How We Choose Governors (Forbes, November 15th, 2019)

Americans are ready for more meaningful democracy (Jefferson Center, August 26th, 2019)

The case for using polling data more regularly (The Grade, August 7th, 2019)

3 Provider Communication Strategies for Creating Patient Trust (Patient Engagement HIT, August 6th, 2019)

Patient Trust, Relationships Key in Pediatric SDOH Screenings (Patient Engagement HIT, August 5th, 2019)

Pediatric social determinants screening (Drivers of Health, August 5th, 2019)

Screening For Social Needs: What Do Parents Think? (Health Affairs, July 30th, 2019)

Residents Test Their Knowledge At Jamaica Bay Jeopardy (Canarsie Courier, July 30th, 2019)

Parents Talk About Social Needs Screening:Identify Trust as a Major Issue (Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, July 24th, 2019)

President Issues Executive Order Calling for Health Care Price Transparency (Society for Human Resource Management, June 26th, 2019)

Democrats' views on charters diverge by race as 2020 elections loom (Brookings, May 21st, 2019)

Quick Fix - Housing Affordability Panel (Politico, May 14th, 2019)

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 13 (Gotham Gazette, May 13th, 2019)

Price transparency is key to a functional health-care market (The Hill, April 17th, 2019)

New Visions: Subconscious tech vs conscious engagement; benefit apps that talk back; Zuck's conversion; and more. (Civic Hall, March 7th, 2019)

A human rights approach to the health implications of food and nutrition insecurity (Thrive Global, January 22nd, 2019)

A human rights approach to the health implications of food and nutrition insecurity (Thrive Global, January 22nd, 2019)

Why are so many college students returning home? (GreatSchools.org, January 9th, 2019)

How providers, patients could benefit from CMS' newly instated price transparency rule (Fierce Healthcare, January 4th, 2019)

Friedman: Is polling good for democracy? (Statesman News Network, September 4, 2016)

Violence at the U.S. Capitol, Distrust in Politics and the Mission of Public Agenda

January 15, 2021 | Comments Off on Violence at the U.S. Capitol, Distrust in Politics and the Mission of Public Agenda

The peaceful transfer of power is a cornerstone of our system of government. By any measure, the riot that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 was unacceptable. Using violence and intimidation to achieve political goals is abhorrent and illegal.  Through our votes, we choose the leaders whose…

New “Healthier Democracies” initiative will bring learning about democratic innovation to the U.S.

November 19, 2020 | Comments Off on New “Healthier Democracies” initiative will bring learning about democratic innovation to the U.S.

Public Agenda, a non-partisan research and public engagement organization based in New York City, has received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for “Healthier Democracies,” an initiative that will explore practical lessons from other countries that could help Americans improve their democratic systems and restore trust in government.…

Transition at Public Agenda

November 10, 2020 | Comments Off on Transition at Public Agenda

This January marks my tenth year as president of Public Agenda, an organization I’ve had the privilege of serving and growing with for a quarter of a century. Along that journey, Public Agenda has offered me countless opportunities, and I’m deeply grateful for them all. 

Reflections on Recent Events

June 3, 2020 | Comments Off on Reflections on Recent Events

Like so many Americans, recent events have battered the Public Agenda team with anger, sadness and anxiety and we are asking ourselves how to respond. We are thinking about a phrase we use to convey the spirit of our work: Let’s build a democracy that works for everyone. By this…

Americans Want More Constructive Politics, Believe Politicians And Social Media Benefit From Divisiveness While The Public Loses

December 4, 2019 | Comments Off on Americans Want More Constructive Politics, Believe Politicians And Social Media Benefit From Divisiveness While The Public Loses

New research from the inaugural Public Agenda/USA TODAY/Ipsos Hidden Common GroundTM survey reveals a significant number of Republicans and Democrats would consider crossing party lines for a more unifying candidate

Major Research, Journalism and Public Engagement Initiative to Focus on Common Ground Solutions During Election Season

November 13, 2019 | Comments Off on Major Research, Journalism and Public Engagement Initiative to Focus on Common Ground Solutions During Election Season

First phase of Public Agenda/USA Today’s Election-Year Hidden Common Ground Initiative™ to explore America’s collaborative divide and how it can be bridged   New York City – A self-defeating narrative is taking hold in America of a people who are so profoundly divided that we cannot possibly understand each other, let…

New York State Residents Call for Government to Monitor Quality of Doctors and Hospitals

November 7, 2019 | Comments Off on New York State Residents Call for Government to Monitor Quality of Doctors and Hospitals

New report finds New York State residents worry about health care quality, and want state government to hold providers accountable New York City – New York State residents think the state government should monitor doctors’ and hospitals’ quality; provide information about the quality of doctors’ and hospitals’ care; and hold…

Sounder Public Judgment Initiative Brings Fresh Thinking to a Fundamental Challenge Facing Democracy

October 22, 2019 | Comments Off on Sounder Public Judgment Initiative Brings Fresh Thinking to a Fundamental Challenge Facing Democracy

A new series of Working Papers from Public Agenda offers insights into how to help the public come to terms with tough issues in today’s world New York, NY — Public Agenda, the nonpartisan research and public engagement organization, is releasing a series of papers on the challenge of fostering…

Vast Majority of Americans Say Democracy is in Crisis or Serious Trouble

August 20, 2019 | Comments Off on Vast Majority of Americans Say Democracy is in Crisis or Serious Trouble

But Most Also Believe Ordinary People Have a Lot of Influence “If Enough People Get Involved” New York City – Public Agenda – the nonpartisan research and public engagement organization – today released findings from a nationally representative survey of Americans showing that the vast majority across all political affiliations…

NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development and a Diverse Panel of Experts Tackle Housing Affordability During Brooklyn Policy Breakfast

May 15, 2019 | Comments Off on NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development and a Diverse Panel of Experts Tackle Housing Affordability During Brooklyn Policy Breakfast

Alyssa Katz, Deputy Editor at The City; Alejandra Nasser Director of Leadership Development Programs at Flatbush Tenant Coalition, WNYC’s Kai Wright, Host and managing editor of The Stakes joined Deputy Mayor for Housing Vicki Been to discuss NYC’s housing challenges and practical solutions. DATE OF RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, MAY 15TH, 2019…

What Is Civic Infrastructure and Why Is It Important?

April 1, 2021 Comments Off on What Is Civic Infrastructure and Why Is It Important?

Many of the groups supporting President Biden’s stimulus bill touted its capacity to build “civic infrastructure.”  The resulting American Rescue Plan does include elements—like support for broadband access, child care, and volunteerism—that would seem to help Americans participate in public life. Is this enough? What exactly is civic infrastructure anyway, and what more might we need to do to strengthen it?

People-Led Recovery: Three Ways the Philippines Built Back Better After the World’s Strongest Storm

March 22, 2021 Comments Off on People-Led Recovery: Three Ways the Philippines Built Back Better After the World’s Strongest Storm

In the Philippines, “build back better” has been a rallying cry for hundreds of thousands of families affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. For many, however, post-disaster recovery has been a case of “building back bitter.” Beyond stories of bitterness, there are stories that bring the principles of “building back better” to life. Worth spotlighting is Pope Francis Village—an in-city housing resettlement site considered a global role model for post-disaster reconstruction.

Making it Count: Civic Participation and Census Success in Philadelphia

March 8, 2021 Comments Off on Making it Count: Civic Participation and Census Success in Philadelphia

The Constitutionally-mandated U.S. Census has significant economic and political implications, including determining how many representatives each state will have in Congress for the next decade and the amount of federal funding communities receive for roads, schools and other social services. That’s why the city of Philadelphia chartered Philly Counts 2020, an organization formed from a team of innovative researchers, well-connected activists and civic leaders, to promote Philadelphians’ participation in the 2020 Census.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Engagement: Learning from a Neighborhood in the Bronx

March 2, 2021 Comments Off on How COVID-19 Has Impacted Engagement: Learning from a Neighborhood in the Bronx

New Yorkers are serving their communities in several ways. They are checking in on their elderly neighbors, serving in their local churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples; coaching pee wee soccer, and fundraising for their parent teacher associations. However, when you look at the national data on volunteerism, New York City (NYC) ranks among the lowest in the country. 

Not Just Fun and Games: Sustainably Engaging Communities and Building Resilience

December 22, 2020 Comments Off on Not Just Fun and Games: Sustainably Engaging Communities and Building Resilience

“A game that engages residents around environmental resilience, infrastructure projects and the ecology of Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn.”  “What is Jamaica Bay Jeopardy, Alex?”  Public Agenda and the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, through Cycles of Resilience work funded by the New York Community Trust, recently partnered with…

Building Blocks to Support Youth Leadership in Nevada

December 7, 2020 Comments Off on Building Blocks to Support Youth Leadership in Nevada

In addition to being the leaders of tomorrow, young people can be catalytic leaders for today. This capacity has become increasingly evident in the past few years, as youth leaders have prompted civil discussion and constructive policy change across the country. The potential of youth leadership has inspired a project…

Claiming One’s Seat: 65 Years After Rosa Parks

December 1, 2020 Comments Off on Claiming One’s Seat: 65 Years After Rosa Parks

As I reflect on this tumultuous year, I am focused on the diverse coalition that participated in a resistance movement led by Black young adults in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and, sadly, many more. These inspiring acts of protest are the active seeds of…

Activating the network to fight COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

November 23, 2020 Comments Off on Activating the network to fight COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

The coronavirus pandemic has posed huge challenges for many organizations, including nonprofits, grassroots groups, community organizing initiatives, and government agencies. When the crisis hit earlier this year, organizations that relied on face-to-face relationships to engage their constituents, or even to work together within the office, suddenly had to adapt.

Can Health Councils Plan for a Culture of Health in New Mexico?

November 4, 2020 Comments Off on Can Health Councils Plan for a Culture of Health in New Mexico?

As COVID-19 swept across the country, one of the hardest hit areas were the lands of the Navajo Nation and nearby Native American communities in Northwestern New Mexico. Throughout the spring and summer, the pandemic emerged as a severe test of New Mexico’s county and tribal health councils, which were…

Can 2020 Teach Us How to Make Democracy Work Better?

November 2, 2020 Comments Off on Can 2020 Teach Us How to Make Democracy Work Better?

Beneath the endless and alarming headlines about divisive politics, racial injustice, surges of COVID-19, and a faltering economy, the crises and conflicts of 2020 have a deeper meaning. They illustrate the flaws, limitations, and outdated components of democracy in our country. Our system is not producing the public trust, coordinated…

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Interim Communications Director
Email: nobourn@publicagenda.org

Our Experts

Matt Leighninger
Interim Co-President, Director of Public Engagement
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David Schleifer, Ph.D.
Interim Co-President, Director of Research
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Nicole Cabral
Associate Director for New York Engagement Programs
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Quixada Moore-Vissing, Ph.D.
Associate Director for National Engagement Programs
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Treston Codrington
Public Engagement Associate
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Will Friedman, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow