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The Davenport Institute is very pleased to announce the four recipients of this year's Annual Public Engagement Grant Program.  It was another very competitive year and we want to thank ALL of the municipalities and organizations that submitted an application; it was a hard choice, and we hope you will keep up the great engagement work and stay posted for our grant announcement next year.

Please join us in congratulating each of our 2015 grantees (listed in alphabetical order): 

  • City of La Palma: This Orange County City faces a significant structural deficit and is looking to engage residents in discussions about some challenging budget options that may impact the "character and traditions of the city." La Palma has planned an extensive process to involve residents in these important discussions.
  • County of Marin: Heading up to northern California, the Institute is pleased to work with a county that is facing a severe housing crisis as it seeks to engage new voices from diverse segments of the community to develop action plans and solutions to overcome barriers to fair housing.
  • Participatory Budgeting Project: For the second time, a Davenport Institute Grant will be used to support a Participatory Budgeting program.  We worked with PBP in Vallejo in 2012 and are excited to work with the City of Long Beach heading into 2016. PB allows residents to determine what they would like a city to do with a particular fund set aside for the purpose. 
  • City of Riverside: This is not the first time the Institute has worked with the City of Riverside which is undertaking a number of Interesting projects to institutionalize engagement within their City.  This grant will seek to engage residents in decisions affecting vacant and underutilized properties (including City-owned land) through development of a "Northside Specific Plan."  

For more information about our Annual Grants as well as about application criteria our selection process, visit our grant page



September 24, 2015: Pete Peterson authored "DMV: Department of Motor . . . Voting?" in Fox and Hounds where he looks at how unprepared the California DMV is to take on the responsibilities imposed by AB 1461. 

June 28, 2015: Pete Peterson authored "Bold Innovation Offers Hope for Government" in the Orange County Register where he looked at the importance of innovative public leaders in the 21st Century.

February 3, 2015: Pete Peterson authored "A Party for Citizens and Customers" in Fox and Hounds where he discusses the dual role of residents in relation to government, and why we need a new politics that seeks to address and collaborate with residents in both of these roles. 

January 11, 2015: Pete Peterson authored "A Statue Called 'California' Offers a Metaphor for its Namesake" in the Sacramento Bee in which he explores the chasm between policymakers and politicians on California's fiscal future.

October 15, 2014: Pete Peterson coauthored an op-ed with Fred Smoller in the Sacramento Bee, "Expand Voting by Mail and Make it Easier, but Don't Ditch Polling Places" in which they discussed the increase in voting-by-mail and its implications for politics in California.  

October 9, 2014: Pete Peterson wrote "Millenial Civic Engagement: Know the Challenges" featured by California Fwd, in which he explores the challenges facing Millenial civic engagement and ways the State of California can address these challenges through technological, transparency, and education innovations.

September 26 2014: Pete Peterson coauthored an op-ed with Fred Smoller in the Sacramento Bee, "Confronting Crisis in Civic Education" in which they discussed the importance of including local government and community politics in K-12 Civic Learning.

June 29, 2014: Ashley Trim authored "Who Stole My Polling Place?" in Zocalo Public Square in which she shares how her rural Los Angeles County precinct became vote-by-mail only in the June primary and what effect that may have on low voter turnout and other voting issues.  

June 23, 2014: Pete Peterson authored an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, "Why Californians Don't Vote," wherein he discussed the low voter turnout in California's June 3 primary and references a study conducted by the Davenport Institute and the National Conference on Citizenship on reasons Californians say they don't vote.

April 25, 2014: Pete Peterson coauthored an article with Kevin Klowden in City Journal, "Democrats v. Unions?" where they discuss what could become a central issue in California politics: the fracturing of the coalition between Democrats and their public-employee union allies. 

January 29, 2014: Pete Peterson authored "California's 20th Century 'Voting Experience'" on the Hoover Institution's "Eureka" blog.  The essay looks at how to improve voting processes and technology in California.  

January 16, 2014: Pete Peterson authored "From Luisville to Baltimore: US citizens are helping to run their cities" in The Guardian where he looks at how local governments are using technology to engage the public on challenging and important decisions. 

January 8, 2014: Ashley Trim authored "Government Bureaucracy's Fear of Failure Doomed HealthCare.Gov" on Zocalo Public Square where she discusses the issues with the failure of and how California citizens and governments can learn from them in the culture of a digital age.

September 11, 2013: Pete Peterson authored "Did Democracy Bankrupt Our Cities?" on Zocalo Public Square where he argues that self-government at the local level is in need of a tune-up. 

June 10, 2013: Pete Peterson authored "The Trust Issue: The Problem with Government Isn't Its Size" on Pacific Standard where he argues that conservatives, as defenders of institutions, are in a unique position to deal with mistrust of government, but that it requires a shift in focus. 

May 15, 2013: Pete Peterson authored "Internet Republic" in CityJournal, a review of Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom's new book "Citizenville."

January 25, 2013: Pete Peterson authored "In a Way, Judges Rule on Partisanship at SoS" on Fox & Hounds Daily wherein he discusses the recent ruling of the 3rd Circuit Cout on the Constitutionality of AB 1499.

December 7, 2012: Pete Peterson wrote "Controller Chiang's Public Pay Site: A First Step Towards Transparency" for Fox & Hounds Daily on the state controller's launch of a revised public sector pay website  

December 5, 2012: Ashley Trim authored the piece "Smart Meters vs. Social Capital" for City Journal California about the loss of community due to the latest in parking technology.

November 30, 2012: Pete Peterson authored "If You Engage Them, Will They Come?" on Zocalo Public Square, where he looks at the challenges of bringing people to the table and lays out seven rules for successful engagement.

November 3, 2012: Pete Peterson wrote "Jerry Brown Meets the Voter of the Future" published in the Hoover Institute's Eureka blog in which he discusses why the 30-second television advertising is not able to reach 21st century voters.

September 20, 2012: Pete Peterson wrote "Palo Alto's 'Open Budget': What Transparency Looks Like - Part II" published in Fox & Hounds which takes another look at Palo Alto's open data platform, and how their new budget platform is changing the context of engagement in budget decisions. 

August 28, 2012: Pete Peterson wrote "Greetings from Portland . . . Wishin' We Were Here" published in Fox & Hounds in which he describes his experiences observing the Oregon Citizen's Initiative Review process.

August 6, 2012: Ashley Trim wrote "Big Society: Can the Britons 'Build That?'" published at Front Porch Republic on how residents of the UK are responding to cuts in government services by filling the gaps and why some politicians and pundits are less than enthusiastic. 

August 3, 2012: Pete Peterson authored "California State Parks and 'Unbuilding' the Golden State" on the Hoover Institution's "Eureka Forum" blog regarding cutting back state and local government services and the response of philanthropy and civil socity to maintaining service levels.

August 3, 2012: Pete Peterson wrote "Palo Alto's Open Data Platform: What Transparency Looks Like?" published in Fox & Hounds where he discusses what the new platform means for the changing relationship between citizens and their governing institutions. 

July 12, 2012: Pete Peterson authored "SoS: A Chance at Reform?" published in Fox & Hounds.  Peterson highlights the recent ballot numbering crisis and how the Secretary of State might lead the way to reforming the system. 

May 22, 2012: Pete Peterson wrote "How 'Public' Is the Public Sector?" published in New Geography wherein he discusses how the word "public" is often used as a synonym for "government" and why this is a problem for a vibrant understanding of civic engagement.

May 4, 2012: Pete Peterson wrote "Immersion Education for Parents," wherein he discusses how a local union is attempting to unionize minimally compensated, hard-working volunteers and classroom adjuncts who are funded by the local community and parents at a language immersion school in Culver City, California.

April 2012: Pete Peterson wrote "Public Engagement: The Vital Leadership Skill," published in the March/April issue of California Special Districts Magazine.  The article, which shares a title with the Davenport Institute's public engagement training seminar looks at the changes that are taking place in local governance when it comes to citizen involvement. 

April 14, 2012: Ashley Trim authored the op-ed "Building Community Is Everyone's Responsibility" published in the Ventura County Star.  She discusses the role of residents in answering fundamental questions about what our cities are and how they will be affected by cuts to services. 

March 7, 2012: Pete Peterson wrote "Creative Californians Redefine Rahm's 'Rule One'" published in The American.  He discusses how municipalities across the state are asking their residents to assume greater responsibilities, not only in decision making, but also in service provision. 

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