To our Partners....

Welcome to the Public Works Partners Collaboration website.  At this meeting place, we join forces with our partners. Together, we are committed to building public support for a government dedicated to the common good and empowered to address the challenges of our nation.  Here, you can read about our work, probe a little deeper, ask for clarification, prod us for more, participate in a dialogue, share your ideas, and collaborate with us, so that together we can create a more productive discourse about the role of government in our nation.  

YouTube Video

Making the Case” is a collection of video clips that illustrate how to advocate for our public structures and systems and the revenues that support them. It contains a series of real-life clips, ranging from inaugural speeches to campaigns that fight budget-cutting ballot propositions, each of which exemplify effective ways to build public support for the public sector.


  • Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Federal Income Tax, Elaine Mejia (Senior Program Associate at Public Works) reminds us that taxes play a vital role in empowering America to address its challenges and secure a vibrant future. Contrasting the political and economic environment 150 years ago to today, Mejia urges us to remember that taxes matter.
  • Standing Up For Government. In spite of the recent tidal wave of anti-government sentiment, Patrick Bresette explains that public support for the core functions of government still exists. “Contradictions in public opinion reveal that negative attitudes toward government are not as monolithic as some would want us to believe.” Bresette calls upon us to harness the nascent civic energy to mount a more direct and coherent defense of government by reconnecting the dots between the things people care about in their communities and the role that an adequately supported government plays in achieving these shared goals.  

  • Patrick Bresette recently gave a speech at the City Club of Cleveland outlining our work: trust in government, whose problem it is, and how we can change it. You can also download this in podcast form.
  • Beyond "Living Within Our Means." How do advocates for a strong public sector deal with widespread perceptions that government deficits and overspending create a bad economy? In this report, the Topos Partnership for the Ford Foundation presents effective tools to make the case for government spending during economic downturns.

Government and the Economy – Paving the Way

As America strives to recover from the recession, it is essential that we help people see the direct connection between public polices and investments and a healthy private economy.  President Obama’s recent State of The Union called for “winning the future” by “encouraging American innovation” and “sparking creativity.” Labeling this as “our generation’s Sputnik moment,” Obama made the case for government’s vital role in helping pave the way for our economic future.  As readers may recall, our research into public perceptions of government’s role in the economy highlighted this very concept as a productive approach, one that shows how government is not “in the way” but actually “paves the way” for innovation in numerous ways.

Recently we’ve noticed a number of places where this theme has been echoed and explored.

Sample PowerPoint Presentations

How to Talk about Government (Feb. 2010) is an overview of our Talking about Government research findings with brief descriptions of the stories and frames that shape public thinking and recommendations for communicating in ways that can help change discourse about the role of government.  This presentation is useful to those interested in a brief introduction to our work.