President Teddy Roosevelt once observed, “The government is us; we are the government, you and I.” This sentiment seems to have lost its meaning for many Americans and has been replaced by rhetoric that “government is the problem, not the solution.” Few Americans realize how vital government is to their daily health, safety and well-being until something goes wrong.
Because “we are the government,” we must bring all critical segments of our society together—policymakers and the philanthropic, business and academic sectors—to work to ensure that our government workforce is equipped and supported in its endeavor to serve the American people. Government cannot be the solution to our collective problems if it is the sole actor.
Many organizations work with government to shape policy, but the Partnership is unique in its exclusive focus on the government’s ability to deliver on its commitments through its people. We believe by increasing government’s capacity to function well—because government is the largest actor on virtually every major issue facing our nation, from security to health care to education—we can drive tremendous improvements across our country on a multitude of issues.
We are proud of the many networks we have built in support of effective government.
In October 2011, the Partnership convened leaders from government and the private sector—White House officials, agency heads and corporate executives—to discuss how federal agencies and businesses are interacting, how they perceive each other and why increased public-private sector cooperation to improve government operations would benefit both communities. The Partnership now is exploring opportunities for federal agencies and private companies to come together, to better understand each other’s needs and to create mutually beneficial cross-sector partnerships, such as talent exchanges and project-based collaborations, around management issues.
Given that government is by far the largest actor across a broad range of social issues, private foundations are interested in how effectively government deploys its significant resources in these areas. In October 2009, the Partnership gathered a group of foundation and government leaders to begin a dialogue about how public-private partnerships could help government operate better, as well as about the benefits to the nonprofit community and those it serves. Since then, the Partnership has continued its efforts to promote such collaborations to bolster the government’s ability to deliver services, engage citizens and solve the complex issues affecting our economy, environment and quality of life.
The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.