I am writing today with exciting news. The Child and Family Policy Center is joining with the Iowa Policy Project to create a new organization, Common Good Iowa.
Look to Common Good Iowa for the solid research, rigorous policy analysis and focused advocacy that Iowans have come to expect from both organizations — and a new, invigorated approach to advancing a bold policy agenda. By joining together we will have more capacity to coordinate our expertise and wage successful campaigns to improve the lives of every person who calls Iowa home.
Common Good Iowa has a broader mission than the Center — one we believe will extend our reach on behalf of children and families. The Center has always advocated on policy issues that do not directly or solely affect children because children are integrally connected to their larger communities. What’s good for our communities is good for children — and what’s good for children is good for our entire state.
Common Good Iowa will continue to be a leading advocate in Iowa on early childhood, children’s health, development and well-being; and family economic opportunity. We will continue to share data, link research to policy and promote best practices for improving child well-being as part of the nationwide Kids Count initiative.
Our partner in this new endeavor, the Iowa City-based Iowa Policy Project, has been a close collaborator of the Center since its founding in 2001. IPP’s expertise includes tax and fiscal policy, environmental and energy sustainability and workplace fairness and living wages. All of these issues impact children and families. Now we have the opportunity to draw attention to policy that connects our missions to benefit all Iowans.
The name “Common Good Iowa” was chosen after great deliberation among the staff and board of both organizations. It reflects our vision of public policy in Iowa. Philosophers, economists and political scientists have long debated and defined the common good, and there’s a powerful through line that links those conversations: public systems and structures for the benefit of all people, achieved through collective action in policymaking and public service. It feels utterly right for our new endeavor.
There is a great opportunity to reimagine our work. We’re at a moment when the harms of racism and years of neglect of our public systems have been laid bare for all to see. No Iowa community can thrive when some community members are systemically deprived of opportunity by our health, educational, human service and justice systems. We must do better.
As a largely white organization, we pledge to listen to and learn from our partners of color around our state, and to be not just not racist, but, to borrow from scholar Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, to be anti-racist: to actively advance concrete policies and practices to dismantle the persistent inequities experienced by Black, Latinx, Asian, Native and other marginalized communities. We also commit to the internal work to become an organization that itself is attractive to a diverse, talented staff.
Every staff member of IPP and CFPC has a place in the new organization. The Center’s executive director, Anne Discher, will be executive director of Common Good Iowa, which will be headquartered in Des Moines and have an office in Iowa City. IPP executive director Mike Owen will serve as Common Good Iowa’s deputy director.
The merger is official now, although we’ll still be putting finishing touches on our new brand over the next months. You’ll be hearing more about how you can celebrate virtually with us when we unveil our new logo, website, social channels and policy roadmap later in the year. Find additional details about our new venture here.
Until then you can reach Common Good Iowa staff at their existing CFPC and IPP email addresses, websites and social media accounts.