Who We Are
Common Good Iowa is the new nonprofit, nonpartisan organization formed by two longtime policy organizations in Iowa, the Iowa Policy Project (IPP) and the Child and Family Policy Center (CFPC). The combining of those two organizations into one offers a stronger resource to policy advocates and policy makers across Iowa who envision a state where all can prosper.
Mission Statement
The Iowa Policy Project since 2001 was guided by a mission to promote public policy that fosters economic opportunity while safeguarding the health and well-being of Iowa's people and the environment. By providing a foundation of fact-based, objective research and engaging the public in an informed discussion of policy alternatives, IPP advances effective, accountable and fair government.

The Child and Family Policy Center was founded in 1989 to better link research and policy on issues vital to children and families and to advocate for outcome-based policies to improve child well-being.

The new Common Good Iowa will build on this mission with the longtime relationship between IPP and CFPC, frequently on fiscal issues but on family prosperity issues as well, as staff and leadership of both previous organizations move forward under one banner.
A Word from former IPP Board President Janet Carl
Janet Carl, IPP Board President Amid challenging times for Iowans in the summer of 2020, we also have exciting news. The Iowa Policy Project has joined with our longtime partners at the Child and Family Policy Center to formally 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. Expect the same attention to critical issues that you have seen from IPP over two decades — and a new, invigorated approach to advancing a bold policy agenda. By joining to together we will have more capacity to coordinate our expertise on issues and communications, and wage successful campaigns to improve the lives of every person who calls Iowa home.

The creation of one organization out of two is the result of many months of discussions among board and staff members at both IPP and CFPC. We have always recognized that as each group has focused on some issues that the other has not, we share a common focus in other areas, including budget priorities and tax policy needed to fairly and adequately support those priorities. But we also have recognized that we need to connect the dots better between these many issues if we want our friends in the advocacy community to do so as well.

Common Good Iowa will, with one voice, draw attention to policy that connects these issues for the benefit of our entire community in Iowa — as we say, “the common good.”

Since the early discussions in 2000 that led to our founding in 2001, IPP has followed the vision of a "three-legged stool” for our work: economic opportunity (to include wages, jobs, education, wage theft, collective bargaining, economic development, pensions, and work supports including child care and Food Stamps); tax and budget issues, particularly tax fairness and revenue adequacy; and energy and the environment, including policy opportunities toward clean, sustainable energy choices and better water quality.

As you may know, IPP’s work on tax fairness and tax credits, as well as some of our research and advocacy on work support and safety-net programs, has been in cooperation and coordination with CFPC as the "Iowa Fiscal Partnership.” That brand on our work will go away as we are now formally one organization.

Common Good Iowa will carry on CFPC's example as a leading advocate in Iowa on early childhood; children’s health, development and well-being; and family economic opportunity. As CFPC has done for many years, our new organization 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.

Every staff member for both IPP and CFPC has a place in the new organization. Anne Discher, who has served as executive director of CFPC, will be the executive director of Common Good Iowa, headquartered in Des Moines. We will retain an Iowa City office, with IPP executive director Mike Owen becoming deputy director of Common Good Iowa. I invite you to reach out to Mike if you have questions about this new arrangement.

The name “Common Good Iowa” was chosen after great deliberation among 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 theme 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.

This is a great opportunity to reimagine our work. We’re at a moment when the devastating impact of racism, intolerance in our civic discussions, 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 be 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.

The merger is official now, although we will 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.

Until then you can reach Common Good Iowa staff at their existing CFPC and IPP email addresses, websites and social media accounts.

Best regards,

Janet Carl
Former President, Board of Directors, Iowa Policy Project
Vice President, Board of Directors, Common Good Iowa
Common Good Iowa Founding Board of Directors

Lois Buntz, President, Cedar Rapids
Janet Carl, Vice President, Grinnell
Ken Sagar, Secretary, Des Moines
Tyler Olson, Treasurer, Cedar Rapids
Cheryll Jones, Ottumwa
Julie McMahon, Des Moines
Jennifer Sherer, Iowa City
Dale Todd, Cedar Rapids
Common Good Iowa Staff
Anne Discher, Executive Director, Des Moines
Mike Owen, Deputy Director, Iowa City
Tywana Butts, Office Assistant, Des Moines
Angelica Cardenas, Policy Advocate, Des Moines
Michael Crawford, Senior Associate, Des Moines
Stephen Dykstra, Communications Associate, Des Moines
Peter Fisher, Research Director, Iowa City
Sheila Hansen, Policy Advocate, Des Moines
Tricia Lyman, Operations Manager, Des Moines
David Osterberg, Senior Researcher, Iowa City
Nathan Shepherd, Development Associate, Iowa City
Mary Nelle Trefz, Policy Advocate, Des Moines
Natalie Veldhouse, Policy Advocate Des Moines