Let's build a democracy that works for everyone

Public Agenda is a nonpartisan research and public engagement organization dedicated to strengthening democracy and expanding opportunity for all Americans.

New & Noteworthy

Our Work:


Lifts up the views and values of the public in today’s policy debates, including those of groups who have had too little voice in our public conversations.


Helps communities think through tough problems, build common ground on solutions, and work together to forge progress on such issues as: Education, Health Care, Economic Opportunity, Climate Change


Helps people redesign and revitalize democracy to make it more inclusive, participatory, and effective.

Programs & Publications

Public Agenda's Hidden Common Ground® initiative challenges the narrative that Americans are hopelessly divided and incapable of working together. Through research, journalism, and public engagement, Hidden Common Ground helps Americans identify and strengthen their common ground, productively navigate their differences, and create fair and effective solutions to the challenges of our time.

Hidden Common Ground explores issues including overcoming divisiveness, responses to the coronavirus, health care, economic opportunity, racism and police reform, and immigration.

The Kettering Foundation is a research partner of the Hidden Common Ground initiative. Hidden Common Ground is supported by a diverse group of foundations including Carnegie Corporation of New Yorkthe John S. and James L. Knight Foundationthe Charles Koch InstituteRockefeller Brothers FundCivic Health Project and through the generosity of individual donors.

Learn more about Hidden Common Ground.

The New York Metro Agenda is our program specifically serving our home city and region through nonpartisan research, cutting-edge public engagement and local events. 

New York is our home base. It is also a hotbed of democratic innovation, and we are supporting this civic energy through actionable research, cutting-edge democratic practices, and thought-provoking events. Recent local projects have supported better health care services for low-income families; better small businesses/community relations; and collaboration between residents and scientists on environmental resilience in Jamaica Bay.

Recent work:

Avenue NYC

Cycles of Resilience - Jamaica Bay

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Healthier Democracies, a new initiative by Public Agenda, works to strengthen American democracy by sharing best practices and innovations from around the world. The project identifies promising global case studies of community engagement and offers recommendations for American public officials. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the initiative lays out a path to equitable, deliberative and collaborative relationships between governments and the communities they serve. The views expressed here don't necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.


Jeni Arndt, Mayor of Fort Collins, Colorado

Rosie Berger, Former Wyoming State Representative (R)

David Blount, Mississippi State Senator (D)

Tanisha Briley, City Manager, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tom Carroll, Village Manager, Silverton, Ohio

Misty Mason Freeman, Director of the Legislative Policy and Research Office, Oregon State Legislature

Maria Hadden, 49th Ward Alderwoman, City of Chicago

Stacy Householder, Director, Leadership and International Programs, National Conference of State Legislators

Nigel Jacob, Co-Chair, Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics

Manish Jani, IT Director and Deputy Director, Colorado Legislative Council

Valerie Lemmie, Director of Exploratory Research, Kettering Foundation

Doug Linkhart, President, National Civic League

Pete Peterson, Dean, School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University

Satya Rhodes-Conway, Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin

Claire Woodall-Vogg, Executive Director, City of Milwaukee Election Commission

How We Work

Public Agenda works to strengthen democracy and expand opportunity for all Americans through public engagement and public opinion research.

"...it [can be] hard to find agreement on where things stand, how we can do better, and what solutions are worth trying...Public Agenda provided a signal service in promoting civil discussion, clarifying what we do and don't know, and respectfully acknowledging different views."

- Frederick M. Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute


Help Us Build a Democracy that Works for Everyone

Democracy in America and around the world has come under severe stress. It is Public Agenda’s privilege to work as hard as we can to make our democracy a more just, effective and resilient problem-solving institution, so everyone has a voice. Please make a gift to us today, at this critical moment in American history.