November 6, 2014

Public Agenda's President Will Friedman and NYPR's President and CEO Laura Walker discuss the inaugural Wadsworth Fund project at last night's event.

New WNYC Partnership Will Engage New Yorkers on Their Top Concerns

Public Agenda is pleased to announce a new partnership with WNYC -- New York's premier public radio broadcaster and producer -- on the inaugural project for the Deborah Wadsworth Fund. This first project will provide an unprecedented look into what's really on the minds of residents of New York City and the tri-state region.


"Public Agenda's mission and the mission of public media are so much in sync," said Laura Walker, president and CEO of New York Public Radio, in a conversation with Public Agenda President Will Friedman during the launch of the partnership.


The collaboration was announced on November 5th, at a celebration of the Deborah Wadsworth Fund, a new initiative from Public Agenda that honors our former president and board member. Donations to the Fund will enable Public Agenda to help New York area residents have a greater voice in the public issues they care about most. (You can learn more about the Fund here  and support it here.)


The first Deborah Wadsworth Fund project will consist of focus groups and a major survey with residents of the New York region. Through this research, Public Agenda and WNYC will illuminate the concerns, priorities and aspirations of local residents when it comes to the public policy issues our region faces. This research will provide a basis for WNYC programming and ensure that subsequent Deborah Wadsworth Fund projects address issues that area residents are concerned with.


"Our first step is to listen," said Walker, who noted that she expected issues including income inequality, public education, the future of climate change and politics to be on the list of residents' top concerns. The research will help Public Agenda and WNYC pull out the topics that matter most to residents, set a frame for discussion of those topics based on what residents have to say about them, and host public dialogue on them.


"This collaboration will elevate the priorities of the public in our area and promote dialogue about what they care about, rather than let partisan politics or interest groups set the agenda," said Friedman about the partnership.


We are about 40% of our way to funding this first project, which we hope to kick off in February 2015.  The results of the research will guide subsequent on-the-ground work in the New York region. Each year, supported by contributions to the Deborah Wadsworth Fund, Public Agenda will help residents and local officials work together on solutions to the public issues residents care about the most. 


Deborah Wadsworth was committed to making the world a better place, and we strive to continue her legacy. Please help us reach our initial goal and start work on the inaugural Deborah Wadsworth project! We also hope you consider an annual contribution to the Fund to sustain our work in communities around the New York region. Please donate here today.


Click here for more information about the Deborah Wadsworth Fund and our collaboration with WNYC. 

Our New Board Members!

We are very pleased to announce five new members to our Board of Directors. We look forward to the energy these dynamic individuals will bring to our mission and our work. Click on the photos below to learn more about them.

   J.J. Baskin                    Betty Sue Flowers                Wendy Puriefoy
Founder & President                   Former Director                       Former President
Education Capital                      LBJ Library                 Public Education Network

                 Stephen C. Schoenbaum               Robert Y. Shapiro
                Special Advisor to the President              Professor & Former Dept. Chair
                Josiah Macy, Jr., Foundation        Political Science, Columbia University

PA in the News

A collection of stories citing work from Public Agenda and our Board and partners.
(Ed Week)
A look at our work engaging teachers on conversations surrounding evaluation reform, called Everyone At the Table. In partnership with the American Institutes for Research, we've trained teachers on how they can host their own conversations and have their voices heard. See the free resources available online here

(The Atlantic)
An overview of what competency-based education aims to do, which includes helping working people save time and money and prove what they already know so they can finish at their own pace. Read more about competency-based education here

(Huffington Post)
The EDUCAUSE annual conference had a few themes this year and included many adaptive learning technologies. See more about our involvement here. 


Public Agenda is a nonprofit organization that helps diverse leaders and citizens navigate divisive, complex issues. Through nonpartisan research and engagement, it provides people with the insights and support they need to arrive at workable solutions on critical issues, regardless of their differences. Since 1975, Public Agenda has helped foster progress on K-12 and higher education reform, health care, federal and local budgets, energy and immigration. Find Public Agenda online at

Help our nation make progress on its toughest challengesDonate today.