Two New Ways to Connect

by Public Works on March 31, 2015 in Feature

connectDear Public Works partners,

We are truly thankful for the opportunity to work with each and every one of you. Since the founding of Public Works in 2003 our approach has been a hands-on one. We’re not changing that– our travel itinerary for 2015 is ambitious and we’d welcome yet more invitations for in-person engagements. But, we also recognize that it’s time for us to build on this approach and leverage it to its full potential in light of two developments in the field. First, advancements in technology can allow us to connect with and support you in new and meaningful ways.  Second, you, our partners around the country, have amassed a tremendous amount of on-the-ground knowledge on how to build support for public systems and solutions. For these reasons, harnessing technology and creating opportunities for you all to connect with one another are priorities for us this year.  So, we’re announcing two new tools with these goals in mind.

1. Hash-It-Out web-based conversations. It’s easy to listen to a presentation or training and jot down notes about ideas for improving your communications. But we know from our own experiences and from working with all of you that it’s much harder to implement those ideas when you’re back at your desk or in a meeting trying to turn those great ideas into action. So this year we’ll be hosting a series of-on line conversations in order to “hash out” some challenging topics that our partners have told us are not easy to tackle. These conversations will feature ample time for our partners in the field to share their experiences and time for others to pose questions and offer suggestions. The first of these took place recently and centered on the topic of how to navigate “self-sufficiency” rhetoric. In our attempts to depict the work effort and personal financial goals of people who benefit from some public programs we may be inadvertently reinforcing stereotypes about who’s deserving and who’s not and characterizing the role of government as temporary or limited. We’ll be sending out a recording of that conversation as well as related materials and resources very soon. Do you want to weigh in on what topics we should conquer next? You can do that by filling out this survey.

2. Partners-only Facebook page. We are launching a new Facebook page exclusively for our partners. We envision it becoming a place where you can go to pose challenging questions to us and to each other, to share great examples and celebrate successes (and perhaps console one another at times as well). We will also use this space to post new resources, pass along great examples we uncover and share new tools and research.

Other non-profits envy the “open rate” of our monthly newsletter and ask us “what’s your secret?” We tell them the truth.  We have actually worked one-on-one and often in-person with the people on our email list despite the fact that they are scattered across the country. We look forward to this next phase of working with you in which we not only continue to connect one-on-one but in which we connect you and your practical know-how with one another. See you soon…literally and in cyberspace.


The Public Works Team

Dianne, Elaine, Marcia, Anika and Sarah

You’re the President! Congratulations?

by Public Works on March 31, 2015 in March 2015 eNewsletter

Let’s say you won the next presidential election by promising to make government efficient, effective and accountable. How would you go about fulfilling this pledge? Perhaps your biggest challenge would be convincing Americans of the unrecognized truth that public systems … Continue reading

Is Racism Fueling the Push for Public-Sector Job Cuts?

by Public Works on March 31, 2015 in March 2015 eNewsletter

We’ve mentioned before the cuts in public-sector jobs are hurting the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession. An analyst for the Economic Policy Institute, quoted in this Pacific Standard article, found that given public-sector employment before the recession and population … Continue reading

Making New Friends on the Train

by Public Works on March 31, 2015 in March 2015 eNewsletter

Urban planning student Danya Sherman on the wonders of the long-distance train ride: Being in a shared physical space that’s also outside of one’s normal environment for an extended duration facilitates a special sense of focus and an enhanced sense … Continue reading

Nice Try, Starbucks

by Public Works on March 31, 2015 in March 2015 eNewsletter

This month Starbucks launched and then abandoned its #RaceTogether campaign. It was an effort by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to spark a national conversation about race. But it didn’t go over well with many people who felt that asking baristas … Continue reading

Agreement on Climate Change is Possible. Yes, Really!

by Public Works on March 31, 2015 in March 2015 eNewsletter

Yale law and psychology professor Dan Kahan took a look at how dramatically different worldviews separate the climate change believers from the deniers. Deniers tend to have hierarchical and individualistic worldviews—they prefer stable and clearly defined social rankings and prize … Continue reading

Why Messages on Economic Insecurity Fail

by Public Works on March 31, 2015 in March 2015 eNewsletter

People are more likely to become politically involved when there’s an issue in play that affects them personally. Unless that issue is economic insecurity. Adam Seth Levine, an assistant professor of government at Cornell, conducted a messaging study to determine … Continue reading