Our 2018 Highlights that Mattered to You Most
The regrettable legacy of slavery and racism persists in our economy and makes for a challenging context to do this work. Far too many disparities exist among families with limited means, families of color, and our rural neighbors in education, income, and health and well-being. For all families to thrive and prosper, structural barriers must come down. I repeat, must come down. And that is more than a notion for a think tank advancing lasting policy solutions and ideas. More truth — as a woman of color leading in this space, I take seriously this role, responsibility and moment in time. And, now more than ever, this work requires bold and fearless determination to speak the truth, transformative ideas to change the status quo and a broad base of support and advocacy to champion the change we want to see.
We are proud to share a few highlights of our work from 2018 that worked toward these solutions:
We offered a people-first vision. The GBPI team and I set out with dogged determination to influence and inform the public debate in this pivotal year as mid-term elections would usher in a transition in state leadership. Our goal was to make a difference by bringing transformative ideas and policy solutions forward that address the disparities and change the narrative by centering a vision on people — the most important asset in our state. People-Powered Prosperity was born, experienced early legislative wins and, now poll-tested, underscores that Georgians are ready for solutions that put people first as opposed to the business-first approach Georgia leaders traditionally prioritize and favor.
We heard you. Our staff traveled across the state on a listening tour that informed our strategic plan. We crisscrossed Georgia listening to families, service providers, business leaders and elected officials. We asked about the dreams Georgians have for themselves and their communities. Business and civic leaders described opportunities they envision to grow their local economies. We heard a need for access to health care and good-paying jobs, child care, affordable housing and quality education. And after adding thousands of miles on the odometer and months of listening, I am so proud to share that GBPI’s new strategic plan is grounded in the stories, dreams and input we received from folks across our great state.
We remained committed to providing Georgians with resources backed by well-researched facts and supportive data that provides information on the budget process and how tax dollars are spent. And we know you are with us. You received, read and commented on more than two-dozen reports that analyzed the important issues including, but not limited to: Medicaid expansion; tax credits; higher education need-based funding; the K-12 education funding formula; increasing the tobacco tax and more. More than 150 news articles cited our research and findings. And a host of state advocacy organizations and lawmakers used our data and research to inform their respective advocacy and policy agendas.
We centered equity and inclusion. The GBPI staff and board of directors also took the opportunity to refine the core values that shape and guide our work: quality, accuracy, impact, equity and courage. As we lean forward to promote a people-first economic vision, we will be explicit and intentional that our research, analysis and policy solutions continue to include a racial, ethnic equity and inclusion lens. This is critical for us to realize our vision that Georgia is a fair and inclusive state where all people prosper. We know this work will also require courage and fortitude as we address stubborn, systemic barriers that hinder the progress of many Georgia families.
We are ready for what’s next.
As we transition into 2019, we are also looking ahead. Next year, GBPI will celebrate its 15th anniversary and designate the year “15 Forward.” We are ready to kick-off the next 15 years of our work to advance lasting solutions that expand economic opportunity and well-being for all Georgians. And, we want to learn more from you about the vision you want for Georgia. Look for ways to engage with us in 2019.
With a fresh vision and new strategy, GBPI can help Georgians realize their full potential by informing good public policy that can knock down barriers, accelerate success and transform lives.
We are excited about the future! There is so much more we can do together. With you, I am committed to be a bold, fearless leader and partner who will help create lasting, positive change for all Georgia families. Thank you for an incredible year.
Happy New Year!