Dec 22, 2016


Forging Ahead in 2017

Today, our mission to help build a democracy that works for everyone feels more important than ever. Rising populism could open the door for unprecedented public engagement in political life. But we also acknowledge that populism in the absence of civic education and dialogue could be damaging. 

We have faith in the good will and hard work of civic-minded people across America, bipartisan leaders across government and nonpartisan enterprises like ours that forge stronger democratic solutions to our most pressing problems. 
At Public Agenda, we are gearing up for an active and ambitious 2017. We will apply our expertise in research, public engagement, and communications to help communities reinvent political and economic opportunity, improve education for all students, make quality health care affordable and much more. 

As always, we thank you for your partnership and support. We look forward to partnering with you again in 2017 with renewed energy and commitment, and we appreciated everything you do to contribute to the common good.  
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season, 
Will and the Public Agenda Staff 

Will's headshot  

Will Friedman

Join Our Public Engagement Strategy Workshop!

New year, new public engagement skills. Get the training needed to connect in meaningful and lasting ways!

In February, Matt and Nicole will host a Public Engagement Strategy Workshop in Silver Spring, Maryland in collaboration with Montgomery County Silver Spring Regional AreaSome details are included below and full details and registration can be found here.

Date:Monday, February 6, 2017
Time: 9:00am - 4:30pm 
Location: Silver Spring Regional Center, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Cost: $250 (by December 31, 2016) or $350 (after January 1, 2017)

A point we should highlight is that the early bird rate ends at the end of this year, on December 31st, so committing to your professional development goals early will get you a $100 discount!

Do you know anyone in the Silver Spring, MD or Washington, DC, area? Please share this workshop with colleagues and friends here:

New from Public Agenda

This month, new Public Agenda research on attitudes toward college was covered by PBS NewshourIn case you missed our Policy Breakfast on the future of public engagement last month, check out the video and photos of the event. 


This report summarizes data from 61 PB processes around the U.S. and Canada. It includes recommendations from people leading and evaluating PB on the ground, to help others diversify participation, advocate for PB from the grassroots level and incorporate technology in an equitable way.

This white paper examines the extent to which PB employs deliberative principles and processes, explores the challenges in making PB more deliberative and provides recommendations for public officials and practitioners looking to improve their PB processes.

PB in the U.S. and Canada differs in many ways from PB in Brazil, where it has had many social impacts. This white paper explores these differences and how they may affect PB's impact in North America. It also provides a series of practical recommendations for practitioners and policymakers to strengthen PB's ability to reduce inequality.

Report: Why Let The People Decide? Elected Officials on Participatory Budgeting
Based on 43 confidential interviews, this research report describes elected official's perceptions of and experiences with PB. Some say it improved relations between residents and government, boosting participation among segments of the population that did not typically get involved.  

Americans are losing confidence in the necessity of a college education for success in the workforce. This research brief explores this and other findings from two omnibus surveys regarding the public's opinion on higher education.

From the Blog

Check out our most popular content from this year, including blog posts on managing conflict and expanding diversity in STEM education.  

Participatory budgeting (PB) often funds infrastructure projects. For local officials and community leaders using or considering PB, Vallejo offers a model for funding programs and services.

Erin Knepler comments on the recent disruption of two trends: an uptick in the number of Americans without a college degree who voted and a decrease in the public's confidence in higher education.


Public Agenda helps build a democracy that works for everyone. By elevating a diversity of voices, forging common ground, and improving dialogue and collaboration among leaders and communities, Public Agenda fuels progress on critical issues, including education, health care and community engagement. Founded in 1975, Public Agenda is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in New York City. Find Public Agenda online at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at @PublicAgenda.

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