The Center for plain Language

A federally tax-exempt, non-profit organization [501(c)(3)], the Center for Plain Language believes that “Plain language is a civil right.” We urge people to demand plain language in everything they receive, read, and use—whether a lease or a mortgage or an IRS form or directions for taking medicine. It is especially important that our government write clearly; we cannot have a democracy when people do not understand what their government is telling them.

The Center grew out of efforts starting in the 1980s to get the government to communicate more plainly. A federal group of plain language advocates, PLAIN, started meeting in the mid 1990s, and was a major impetus behind the creation of the Center in 2003. PLAIN still meets monthly, and supports a website at

One of the Center’s major efforts over the past several years has been to educate Congress about the need to require federal agencies to write more clearly. We successfully concluded that effort this year when the Congress passed and the President signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010. The Center is part of a larger international community of plain language advocates who all believe that democratic government depends on the ability of the citizenry to be informed about and participate in government matters. Other members of the community include Clarity, an international organization dedicated to plain legal language, and PLAIN International. The Plain Language Association International is a growing volunteer nonprofit organization of plain-language advocates, professionals, and organizations committed to plain language. The Center, Clarity, and PLAIN International are working to develop international standards for the practice of plain language and for training plain language professionals.

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence helps state and local governments become knowledgeable and competitive employers so they can attract and retain talented and committed individuals to public service. Partnering with leading universities and researchers, the Center identifies best practices and conducts authoritative research on competitive employment practices, workforce development, pensions, retiree health security, and financial planning. The Center has a growing library of publications on public sector workforce issues. Geared to state and local government executives, the briefs, reports, and data sets offer an accessible resource on workforce demographics, pension plans, recruitment and retention, succession planning, and retiree health benefits in the age of GASB 45.

Consensus Building Institute

The Consensus Building Institute (CBI) was founded in 1993 by leaders from the fields of consensus building, conflict resolution, and negotiation. Since then, they have achieved international recognition as one of the leading organizations in the field of consensus building on complex public and business issues. CBI improves the leader’s use of negotiations to make organizational decisions, achieve agreements, and manage multi-party conflicts and planning efforts. CBI uses proven principles, processes and techniques that have been developed through the Program on Negotiation and MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program at Harvard Law School, where a number of CBI’s staff and Board members are affiliated. is a free online resource designed to help government managers cultivate a more effective and motivated public sector workforce. Their basic belief is that the government can only be truly effective if frontline employees are motivated and fully engaged in the process of implementing and fine-tuning their agencies’ programs. No one has a greater impact on employee motivation and engagement than frontline supervisors, so an essential ingredient for reform lies in ensuring that managers have the leadership and management skills needed to create an environment in which their employees can accomplish great things. This site is designed to help them develop those skills. is the “Facebook for Government” – the premier social network developed by and for the government community. This site currently connects over 45,000 government innovators from federal, state, and local government and provides a great way for the government community to connect and collaborate with existing and potential colleagues. The network is a great resource whether you are looking to network with peers, get career advice, find new opportunities, or discover great career events; an absolute must for today’s government leaders. Membership is free and it takes 30 seconds to join

IBM Center for the Business of Government

The IBM Center for the Business of Government connects public management research with practice, focusing on the future of the operation and management of the public sector. Since 1998, the IBM Center has helped public sector executives improve the effectiveness of government with practical ideas and original thinking, sponsoring independent research by top minds in academe and the non-profit sector, and creating opportunities for dialogue on a broad range of public management topics. Since its creation ten years ago, the IBM Center has awarded nearly 300 research stipends to leading public management researchers in the academic and non-profit communities that have resulted in over 200 reports (all of which are available through our website). Publications focus on the major management issues facing all governments today: e-government, financial management, human capital management, managing for performance and results, market-based government, and innovation, collaboration and transformation.

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is an independent, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to help solve global economic, social, and environmental challenges to improve the quality of life through creative approaches to the use, taxation, and stewardship of land. As a private operating foundation whose origins date to 1946, the Lincoln Institute seeks to inform public dialogue and decisions about land policy through research, training, and effective communication. By bringing together scholars, practitioners, public officials, policy makers, journalists, and involved citizens, the Lincoln Institute integrates theory and practice and provides a forum for multidisciplinary perspectives on public policy concerning land, both in the United States and internationally.

New Sector Alliance

New Sector Alliance is a non-profit strategy consulting firm located in Boston, Massachusetts. Its mission is to accelerate social change by strengthening organizations today while developing leaders for tomorrow. New Sector’s staff works with non-profit clients to structure substantive, meaningful strategic planning projects and equips talented young leaders to complete them. The young leaders receive guidance from professional consultants as well as training and support from the New Sector staff.

Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, at Salve Regina University

The Pell Center at Salve Regina University in Newport RI is a multi-disciplinary research center focused on the intersection of politics, policies and ideas. Dedicated to honoring Senator Claiborne Pell’s legacy, the Center promotes American engagement in the world, effective government at home and civic participation by all citizens. The Pell Center, building off the strengths of a distinguished Salve Regina faculty, conducts research and supports projects intended to have an immediate and enduring impact on the American people. They accomplish this through sound analyses, better government, greater awareness and community engagement.

Leadership Matters RI is a partnership between the Pell Center and the Public Sector Consortium for the purpose of building the capacity of RI public leaders to achieve better outcomes and services for the citizens of Rhode Island. The program will provide training to current and rising social sector leaders in RI (elected leaders, civil servants, academic leaders and community leaders). The program offers advanced management and leadership skills, an opportunity to apply the skills with mentored support and an annual best practices sharing forum.

Senior Fellows and Friends

“Senior Fellows” are graduates of the Council for Excellence in Government’s (now the Partnership for Public Service’s) Fellows Program who have opted in. “Friends” are equally valued others whose status ranges from college intern to senior executive. Ongoing conversation expanded in October, 2008, when a blog was established to enable constructive guest blogging.

Society for Organizational Learning

SoL was created to connect corporations, organizations, researchers and consultants in order to generate knowledge about and capacity for fundamental innovation and change by engaging in collaborative action inquiry projects. While bringing together “specialists”, its goal is more than simple collaboration; SoL strives to develop the researcher, capacity builder and practitioner in everyone. As an action-learning community, it generates real business and social system results, new intellectual capital and ongoing personal and professional networks. SoL was formed in April of 1997 to continue the work of MIT’s Center for Organizational Learning (1991-1997).