Partnership for Public Service 2020–2021 Impact Report

Partnership for Public Service 2020–2021 Impact Report

Our Mission:
Building a Better Government and a Stronger Democracy

A pandemic. Economic turmoil. Racial injustice. Threats to national security. The nation’s future and our democracy depend on our ability to solve these challenges, and the federal government plays a critical role. Yet, years of neglect, diminished capacity and leadership shortcomings have taken a heavy toll on the government’s ability to serve the public effectively.

To meet America’s current and future needs, we must rebuild and revitalize our nation’s most important democratic institution. The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has the vision, knowledge and experience to reimagine how government can work to solve today’s problems and be better prepared for tomorrow.

Letter from the President and Chair

At the start of 2020, we could not have predicted what was about to befall our country. The COVID-19 pandemic and many months of recovery left no doubt: We need to build a better government for a stronger democracy.

At the Partnership for Public Service, we see a path forward for our government and our nation. Next month, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Partnership’s founding. For two decades, we have promoted service to our country, advocated for critically needed system reforms, and supported federal leaders and institutions as they responded to the challenges of our time.

While the pandemic laid bare some of government’s most longstanding shortcomings, there were many instances where our government adapted and kept delivering, often in new and better ways. This unexpected grand experiment led to innovative responses to a wide array of urgent problems—from processing loan applications for small businesses to expanding telemedicine to veterans to distributing millions of vaccines to the public. Federal leaders across government also rose to the occasion and engaged and supported the workforce in new and creative ways. This included greater collaboration within agencies and across the government and providing employees with the technology necessary to do their jobs in remote settings and the flexibility to meet their personal needs.

Our government has emerged from the pandemic stronger, smarter and nimbler, and there is no turning back. This experience provides a tremendous opportunity for President Joe Biden and his administration—a-once-in-a-generation opportunity—to continue the advances and build a more modern and effective government. Agencies need to build on improvements they made, sort through what worked and what did not, and set the government on a sustained path to revitalization. They need to envision more possibilities for government and work toward making them a reality. To seize the opportunity, we believe there are four key issues the president and his team must prioritize:

  • Leadership and Stewardship: Federal leaders must understand their responsibilities to the institutions and the workforces they lead, commit to leaving their agencies better then they found them and be stewards of the public trust.
  • Workforce: Government needs to attract new and diverse federal talent at all levels and improve the federal hiring process.
  • Innovation and Tech Modernization: Government must improve its ability to meet the demands of the interconnected, technology-driven world by investing in modern technology and becoming more innovative.
  • Collaboration: Federal leaders need to build communities within and outside of government to solve problems and deliver services more effectively.

In this Impact Report, we share the results of the Partnership’s programs and activities in 2020 and our plans for the coming year. Our accomplishments would not be possible without the generous support of our donors and partners, whom we thank for supporting our work.

Together, we can build a better government. Join us.


Max Stier
President and CEO  


Tom Bernstein
Chairman of the Board 

Building a Better Government

Center for Presidential Transition

The 2020 presidential election and weeks that followed were unlike any in modern American history. After months of a surging pandemic, economic turmoil and racial inequity resulting in social unrest, the country experienced additional tumult as ballots took four additional days to tabulate, and President Trump sowed distrust in the results in the weeks following the election. These factors further delayed the federal transition support for President-elect Joe Biden and was followed by a violent insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, challenging the founding principles of our democracy as Congress was meeting to officially certify Biden as the winner. Yet, on January 20, the world watched as Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

During this tumultuous time, the Partnership’s Center for Presidential Transition® served as a trusted, nonpartisan resource on the importance of a peaceful transition and held the outgoing administration accountable for its performance. We had been working on presidential transition issues for nearly a decade when we established the Center in 2016.  The Center provides information, advice, training and advocacy to help ensure smooth transitions, improve the appointments process and equip new political leaders for success.

Throughout the 2020-2021 transition, the Center engaged with and provided invaluable support to three key constituencies: the Biden transition team, the incumbent administration and career agency transition officials. Building on our efforts from the past three presidential transition cycles, we hosted conferences, meetings and onboarding sessions for transition teams and federal agencies, developed webinars, fact sheets and issue briefs, and conducted research into past practices that highlighted successes and stumbling blocks. We offered wide-ranging guidance to the Biden transition team, Trump administration and career agency officials based on our extensive knowledge of past presidential transitions. Despite the challenges and roadblocks along the way, the Biden transition team was able to execute one of the most well-planned transitions, as well as the first-ever virtual transition.

Center for Presidential Transition Advisory Board

Our advisory board members—Democrats and Republicans—have been involved in planning, executing and closely observing presidential transitions. They volunteer their expertise to support early and effective transition planning for new and second-term administrations.

Josh BoltenFormer Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush
Edward “Ted” Kaufman
Former Chairman of the Biden Transition, Former United States Senator
Michael LeavittFormer Governor of Utah, Former Chairman of the Romney Readiness Project
Thomas “Mack” McLartyFormer Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton
Penny PritzkerFormer Secretary of the Department of Commerce



“Looking Back: The Center for Presidential Transition’s Pivotal Role in the 2020-21 Trump to Biden Transfer of Power”

Outlines the Center’s role in helping achieve one of the most well-planned transitions in history

2020 Center Accomplishments by the Numbers


The number of pages of new transition-related resources created


The number of historical documents provided


The number of subject matter experts engaged

“I cannot imagine doing a presidential transition in a modern era without the Partnership. If a transition team itself had to assemble the information that the Partnership provides to every presidential transition, it would turn an incredibly difficult job into a complete nightmare. What the Partnership does is incredibly worthwhile.”

Edward “Ted” Kaufman
Former chairman of the Biden Transition; former United States Senator

Looking Ahead

We are gathering lessons learned from the 2020-2021 presidential transition, to determine what went well and what needs to be improved for future transitions and will release a report on our findings in early 2022. 

As the new administration continues to nominate individuals to fill about 4,000 political appointments, our focus has shifted from the transition to helping prepare new appointees to lead by providing onboarding and resources.

As we have since the 2016 presidential transition, we are partnering with The Washington Post on our appointments tracker to track and publish the number of nominated and Senate-confirmed political appointees, enabling the public to easily see the current administration’s progress.

We are also advocating for reforms to the presidential transition process, including reducing the number of Senate-confirmed positions and the overall number of political appointees; streamlining the appointments process; and reforming the ascertainment process, so the kind of delay we saw in the 2020-2021 presidential transition never happens again.


Leadership and Stewardship


The federal government is facing a leadership crisis.

Insufficient investment is made in the leadership capabilities of the career workforce. Political appointees are often unprepared for the unique responsibilities of public sector leadership and how to work with stakeholders across government, including Congress.


Federal employees are less satisfied with the training they receive for their present job than private sector employees.


Federal employees have less trust and confidence in their supervisors than private sector employees.


Across government, about one in three federal employees are eligible to retire in the next three years.

  • Provide training, support and leadership development to career leaders at all levels.
  • Require government agencies to invest in and measure leadership capabilities, including by adopting consistent standards based on modern competencies and the core values of stewardship and public trust.
  • Equip new political appointees to lead effectively by deepening their understanding of the unique aspects of managing in the federal government.

Our Leadership and Stewardship Work

We provided training for federal leaders on a wide array of topics.

By developing the skills and abilities of federal leaders at all levels and providing forums for them to discuss shared challenges and solutions, the Partnership helps leaders become agents of change within their own agencies and across government. Participants tell us our programs have transformed their professional lives, including positioning them to take on larger roles in their agencies.

2020 Leadership and Stewardship Accomplishments by the Numbers


The number of federal leaders we trained or onboarded


The number of government offices our program participants represent

Public Service Leadership Model

Our approach to developing leaders is grounded in our Public Service Leadership Model, which outlines core values federal leaders embody—stewardship of public trust and commitment to the public good—and outlines the competencies they need at each stage of their leadership journey. As a companion to the model, our proprietary 360 assessment measures leaders’ strengths and highlights areas for growth against the model as a tool for their professional development.


We helped agencies with significant, department-wide transformation.

“State of Renewal: The Department of State Today, Tomorrow and Beyond”

Presents recommendations for addressing management challenges and revitalizing the Department of State’s workforce

We helped prepare people interested in serving as political appointees.

Serving America through a presidential appointment is a great honor and responsibility. But, preparing to serve can be a complicated process and getting started early is important. We launched Ready to Serve, a centralized resource that guides candidates through every step of the process. The site has been viewed more than 185,000 times.

We onboarded new federal leaders.

Our Ready to Govern® courses, delivered by former high-ranking federal officials, help prepare new appointees to lead. They cover topics including understanding the federal budget process and leadership for chiefs of staff. We have begun delivering these sessions to new appointees in the Biden administration and will continue to offer them in the coming months, as the administration appoints its senior leaders.

Getting “ready to govern” at the EPA: How the Partnership prepared one political appointee for a new professional challenge

New presidents are responsible for making roughly 4,000 political appointments across government. To work effectively, these appointees need to learn how to navigate a complex federal organization. Ready to Govern prepares them to tackle this challenge from the moment they enter office. Since 2013, the program has helped more than 1,500 political appointees better manage their agencies, understand federal rules and regulations and build networks that enable collaboration and creative problem-solving.

In 2013, Gwen Keyes Fleming came to Washington, D.C., to serve as the EPA’s chief of staff—a position that required her to oversee 15,000 employees working across the country and the world, several large teams and subcomponents, and an international office. Ready to Govern helped Fleming manage these dizzying responsibilities, providing her with the skills, tools and professional networks to manage EPA staff and projects and respond adeptly to unexpected crises such as the 2013 government shutdown.

“Ready to Govern is the place—and the Partnership for Public Service is the place—where you learn how to manage competing priorities and also build the network of support that will help you.”

Gwen Keyes Fleming
Ready to Govern participant

Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

When many federal workers and our own staff began working remotely in mid-March of 2020, we pivoted quickly to deliver our programs virtually through interactive webinars or video conferences. The virtual format allows us to easily engage high-caliber speakers and spend more time on personalized activities with participants, such as one-on-one coaching.

In the absence of clear and consistent guidance from central government agencies during the pandemic, the forums we hosted for federal leaders became more important than ever, and we responded to a steep increase in demand for our convenings. Because we could reach federal employees anywhere, regardless of geographic location, attendance in many of our programs increased. Going forward, we plan to offer both in-person and virtual options for many of our programs.

Our outreach and resources—especially during the pandemic and a presidential election and transfer of power—helped public servants better understand and carry out their roles during a time of uncertainty, while helping them stay resilient and mission-focused. Among the many other pandemic-related resources we created in 2020 is a catalogue of the many successful innovations federal agencies adopted in response to the pandemic. We promoted their potential as best practices across government in “Bright Spots: Federal Success Stories from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Our government has demonstrated great agility in dealing with the pandemic, and the lesson we should learn is that it is possible for government to transform the way it works. We see tremendous opportunity to continue the advances and build a more modern and effective government.

Looking Ahead

Our objective is to provide our Ready to Govern curriculum to 1,000 new appointees in 2021, as early in their terms as possible, to help them understand the agencies they lead and prepare them to serve as responsible stewards of our federal institutions.



The federal government is failing to recruit, hire and retain skilled and diverse talent.

The hiring process is long and complicated, the workforce is aging, the competition for top talent is fierce and federal employee engagement lags behind that of the private sector.


It takes government an average of 98 days to bring new talent on board—more than double the time in the private sector.


As of June 2019, people of color represented 46% of all full-time, entry level (GS 1-9) employees but only 22% of all career Senior Executive Service members and 32% of senior level (GS 13-15) positions.


The 2020 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® employee engagement score was 69 out of 100, lagging behind the private sector by 8 points.


As of March 2021, only about 7% of full-time federal employees were under the age of 30.

~2 years

73% of young people who left the federal workforce in 2019 had served for only one to two years.


About 83% of major federal departments and agencies struggle with staffing shortages, and 63% report gaps in the knowledge and skills of their employees.


According to the Survey on the Future of Government Service, just 32% of respondents say their agency has a strategic recruitment plan that is aligned to its workforce needs.

  • Refresh the government’s talent by recruiting and retaining the next generation of federal public servants. Internships, recruiting on college campuses, partnerships with universities and better use of expedited hiring authorities are proactive ways to bring young and diverse talent into government.
  • Government competes with the private sector for the best talent, and federal leaders should endeavor to meet or exceed employee engagement levels seen in the best private sector companies.
  • Increased employee engagement leads to better performance and outcomes, and federal leaders need to place greater emphasis on improving employee engagement and workplace culture.
  • Celebrate the achievements of our federal workforce to highlight the value of public service and foster a culture of recognition within government.

Our Workforce Work

We sharpened our focus on helping federal agencies recruit, hire and retain young talent.

By recruiting, hiring and retaining young and diverse talent, government not only replaces federal employees nearing the end of their careers, but also brings new skills and perspectives that will help the country rise to the significant challenges of the day and prepare for what lies ahead.

How one college student answered the Partnership’s call to serve

In 2002, the Partnership collaborated with the Office of Personnel Management to launch Call to Serve, the only nationwide network of colleges and universities dedicated exclusively to promoting federal service. Today, Call to Serve works with more than 700 colleges and universities to recruit the next generation of public servants. The program educates students and recent graduates about government work, promotes new recruiting strategies and trains campus professionals to connect with agencies and advise jobseekers on the federal hiring process.

Lyndsey Gallagher was a senior at George Washington University pursuing a bachelor’s and master’s in public health when she applied to the Partnership’s Call to Serve Innovation Internship program, which places GW undergraduates as summer interns in federal agencies and helps inspire young people to public service. In the summer of 2020, she interned with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center, getting real-world experience, an opportunity to develop her technical skills and a better understanding of how government works. Today, she is thriving in graduate school and considering a career in the federal government.

“I think what the Partnership is doing is so important because there is a barrier to be able to get an internship in government. Going directly to college campuses and providing that entryway is great.”

Lyndsey Gallagher
Call to Serve Innovation Internship program participant


We provided models, tools and data to help government address its recruiting, hiring and retention issues.

“A Time for Talent”

Describes approaches for agencies to replenish and strengthen their workforces

“Rapid Reinforcements: Strategies for Federal Surge Hiring”

Highlights how agencies can quickly rebuild after losing a significant number of employees

We launched a unique program for young cybersecurity talent

In partnership with Mastercard, Microsoft and Workday and 10 federal agencies, we piloted a new program—the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative—that recruits and places undergraduates and graduates from across the country into federal government cyber positions for two years. After their government service, participants are eligible to apply and be considered for positions with our corporate partners and qualify for student loan debt assistance. The program could serve as a model for public-private partnerships to help our nation fill talent gaps in areas of critical need, such as cybersecurity.

“I have worked with human resources, development and web operations, and IT, and I am excited to bring these experiences to bear as I learn about penetration testing and system log analysis. I hope to learn more about interdepartmental cybersecurity cooperation to ensure secure internal and external networks.”

Kristin Miyoko Lockwood
Cybersecurity Talent Initiative participant

We spotlighted employee engagement, a critical component of agency health, performance and talent retention.

Top-performing organizations have highly engaged employees who are connected to their missions and customers. Senior leaders must be held accountable for improving employee satisfaction and for creating a culture of recognition that includes awards and public acknowledgement of employees who excel. The Partnership’s Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings, based on an annual federal survey, are a valuable tool to gauge employee engagement, serve as an early warning sign of trouble and pinpoint areas in need of improvement.

Best Places to Work

In June 2021, we released the 15th annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings, which capture employees’ views and attitudes about their respective agencies. The rankings showed a federal employee engagement score of 69 out of 100, a 7.3-point increase compared with 2019.

Learn more about the impact of the Best Places to Work rankings.

Cabinet secretaries pay tribute to federal employees.

We celebrated the achievements of our nation’s exceptional public servants.

President Biden salutes the 2021 Sammies finalists.

Media Impact of the 2020 Sammies Winners Program


views of the virtual, one-hour presentation

2.1 million

#Sammies2020 impressions

1.2 million

social media accounts reached


media articles resulting in 3.4 million media impressions

Over the past 20 years, the Partnership has celebrated the achievements of more than 660 exceptional public servants through the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (the Sammies).

In 2020, the restrictions on in-person gatherings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted us to adapt our traditional in-person Sammies events to a virtual setting for the first time. We reached a larger audience and engaged more high-profile media figures than would have been possible with in-person events.

Our announcement of the Sammies finalists in May 2020, which would typically be an in-person event to recognize the honorees, turned into a virtual program we co-hosted with Axios, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Michael Lewis and two of our Sammies finalists to discuss the importance and value of public service. For the celebration of the Sammies winners in October 2020, we produced a high-quality, one-hour program to recognize six outstanding award winners from among 27 finalists and more than 300 nominees. The program featured two former presidents—Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush—and a star-studded lineup that included Samantha Bee, Adam Conover, Kumail Nanjiani and the Washington Nationals’ “racing presidents,” among others, to explain and honor the winners’ achievements in an engaging and entertaining way. The program ran on the Partnership’s social media platforms, YouTube, Axios, and Bloomberg TV.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Federal Employee of the Year
Satya Nadella
CEO of Microsoft
Spirit of Service Award
Featured guests at the 2020 Sammies, from left to right: Satya Nadella, Kumail Nanjiani, Samantha Bee, Kristen Bell, Mayim Bialik, Adam Conover, Nick Kroll and Aisha Tyler.

The 2020 Sammies Program

The 2020 Sammies winners, from left to right: Safety, Security and International Affairs winner Donna F. Dodson; Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement winner Dr. Ira Pastan; Federal Employee of the Year winner Dr. Anthony S. Fauci; Management Excellence winners Drs. Kevin Galpin, Neil C. Evans and Kathleen L. Frisbee; Science and Environment winner Dr. Beth Ripley; Emerging Leaders winner Dr. Vikram Krishnasamy; and Spirit of Service Award winner Satya Nadella.

Looking Ahead

On October 28, 2021, we will honor this year’s winners from among 29 outstanding individuals or teams at the 20th annual Sammies. The 29 finalists are outstanding federal employees who serve the public good and are addressing many of our country’s greatest challenges. This year, we also added a new award category to recognize accomplishments in response to the pandemic.

Innovation and Tech Modernization


Government struggles to keep pace with the demands of our fast-paced, interconnected, technology-driven world.

The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the technology challenges government faces at a time when technology was vital for federal employees working remotely, collaborating across the federal enterprise and delivering services to the public. Federal agencies offer few incentives for employees to try new ideas, are saddled with outdated technology and lag behind the private sector in hiring qualified technologists for critical leadership and staff positions. The government rates poorly compared to the private sector when it comes to providing high-quality services to the public.


Just over four in 10 federal civil servants feel creativity and innovation are rewarded in the workplace.


There are 19 times more mission-critical IT employees over the age of 50 than under 30.


The government spends 80% of its annual $90 billion information technology budget on operating and maintaining existing IT investments, including legacy systems—many of which are decades old—not on new investments in leading-edge technologies.

10th of 10

The federal government ranked last among 10 major economic sectors in customer satisfaction, falling short on the timeliness and ease of its processes, professionalism, courtesy, and website quality, according to the 2019 American Customer Satisfaction Index.

  • Equip federal leaders with an understanding of new and modern technologies, and how to deploy them to improve agency operations and the delivery of services to the public.
  • Create an environment that fosters and rewards innovation, encourages experimentation with new approaches to solve problems and deliver services, and enables rapid scaling up and adoption of what works.
  • Improve the customer experience for all people who interact with the government.

Our Innovation and Tech Modernization Work

We trained career federal leaders in managing technological transformation and how to integrate AI capabilities into their workforces

In 2019, we launched the AI Federal Leadership Cohort in partnership with a consortium of private sector stakeholders. The program has since trained 95 high-performing members of the Senior Executive Service to better understand the application and implications of AI and other emerging technologies on their work and workforce. Providing training for this group of government’s most senior career leaders has a compounding effect, because the cohort collectively supervises tens of thousands of federal employees and oversees millions of dollars in federal spending. The program could help create a community of senior leaders who can deploy new technologies to transform agency operations.

We convened and collaborated with communities of federal experts in innovation and customer experience to identify actions needed to create a more innovative and customer-oriented federal government.

By being more innovative and customer-focused in how it operates and solves problems, government can function more efficiently and deliver services more effectively to the people of our nation.


We provided data and insights to help government address its technology issues.

“Tech Talent for 21st Century Government”

Identifies the top technology and innovation leadership positions in government, the competencies these leaders and their teams need to be successful, advice for recruiting and hiring technical experts, and opportunities and challenges for technology transformation in federal agencies

“Cracking the Code: Harnessing the Exponential Power of Technology”

Outlines how agencies can move quickly to adopt emerging technologies

“Into the Storm: Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve California’s Disaster Resilience”

Describes using artificial intelligence to improve California’s response to natural disasters


We issued recommendations and designed dashboards that help agencies assess and improve their customer experience practices.

“Government for the People”

Since 2019, we have released this annual report that provides the most comprehensive collection of customer experience data and insights on federal services, and helps agencies benchmark their progress on customer experience improvements.

Looking Ahead

In 2021, we will continue to provide training, data, insights and forums to help federal leaders adopt innovative practices and emerging technologies that can improve their agencies’ operations and delivery of services to the people of our nation.



Federal agencies face challenges in working with one another and with Congress, different levels of government, and the private and nonprofit sectors.

The federal government is frequently boxed into organizational silos that make it hard to work across jurisdictional boundaries to share resources and coordinate efforts to effectively serve the public. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen these challenges around collaboration play out—whether it has been the difficulty of collecting and sharing public health data or distributing personal protective equipment, the lack of coordination among entities can be measured in lives saved and lost.


Political polarization has stymied progress on major policy issues and contributed to 21 full or partial government shutdowns since 1976, including the longest-ever shutdown—34 days—that ended in January of 2019 and resulted in disrupted services to the public and to state and local governments.

$3 trillion

Congress has appropriated roughly $3 trillion of economic relief and stimulus across sectors in response to the pandemic, dwarfing the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s original cost of $787 billion, requiring cross-sector collaboration at a scale never seen before.

5 of 24

In a recent GAO report, five of 24 federal agencies surveyed reported that they do not have a designated employee responsible for ensuring compliance with a presidential executive order requiring agencies to consult with state and local governments when making rules that will directly affect them.


103 federal agencies—from the National Institutes of Health to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—have been called on to respond to the pandemic.

  • Foster cooperation and collaboration among agencies, different branches of government and the private and nonprofit sectors.

Our Collaboration Work

We convened federal leaders from across government to learn from one another and collaborate on shared problems.

Government finds greater operational efficiency by sharing resources and knowledge among agencies and by improving coordination across sectors in setting goals, delivering services to customers, and managing the performance of federal programs.

The Partnership has created more than a dozen forums for leaders from across government and hosts roundtable discussions on a variety of topics for assistant secretaries for administration and management, deputy secretaries, chief human capital executives, general counsels and other executives who have significant management responsibilities for their agencies.

Creating Critical Connections

Government works best when strong relationships exist across agencies and ideas, resources and best practices are shared. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the power of our convening ability and how we are viewed as a trusted, nonpartisan partner.

Nowhere has this been more evident than in the explosive growth of our newest network, the General Counsel Exchange. Before the coronavirus hit, 26 agency general counsels met every two months to share information and learn from one another. On March 13, 2020, when the president declared a Coronavirus Pandemic National Emergency, the number of participants and the rhythm changed dramatically when we joined forces with both departmental and small agency counsel. In 2020, the group grew to more than 200 general, chief and senior counsels from 89 agencies, who asked us to convene them twice a week, and spun off three subgroups to share best practices in grants, contracts and employment law. In addition to convening people regularly, we were a hub of information sharing on resources published by the White House, OMB, EEOC, OSHA and CDC as well as model practices by Cabinet departments and independent agencies.

“We appreciate the Partnership’s facilitating this community of practice and supporting our teams in navigating through an unprecedented moment together.”

Nancy Weiss
General counsel, Institute of Museum and Library Services


We issued recommendations for improving intergovernmental and cross-sector collaboration in California that can serve as a national model

“The Golden State of Collaboration: Fostering Intergovernmental and Cross-Sector Partnerships in California”

Describes successful cross-sector collaboration efforts and assesses barriers to cross-sector learning and engagement

We launched new initiatives to build a stronger democracy.

The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 illustrated the intense polarization in our politics and among the people of our nation. It also highlighted the need to strengthen Congress as an institution and support members of Congress and their staffs. On January 15, 2021, we launched a microsite,, on behalf of the diverse group of organizations working to fix Congress. The site serves as a central hub for information-sharing and a forum for amplifying one another’s resources.

In July 2021, we launched the Alliance for Congress—our new initiative to promote public service and effective government by helping Congress become a healthier institution and a more capable steward of the executive branch.

We are also undertaking a research project to assess the lack of trust in the federal government among many people in our nation and design a public awareness campaign to address it.

Looking Ahead

In 2021, we will continue to convene federal leaders and provide training and resources to help federal leaders work across agencies, branches and sectors to solve big problems and help restore the public’s trust in government.

Building Our Organization’s Future

Solving our government’s management, operational, performance and talent challenges requires the involvement of people within and outside the federal government and across many sectors. We invite you to join with us to build a better government.

To achieve our objectives, we need a clear and compelling message and call to action.

In 2020, we completed a year-long study of the Partnership’s brand and reputation. The new branding, messaging language and design has modernized our look, clarified our purpose and impact, and will help us reach a more national audience.

Our Mission: Building a better government and a stronger democracy.

In 2020, we continued to carry out programs and activities to help realize our diversity, equity and inclusion vision, measure our progress and hold ourselves accountable, both in words and in action.

Over the past year, events in our nation again exposed the systemic racism and inequality that pervades our country and institutions. There is no place for hate, violence or inequality in our economic, social and civil systems or in our workplaces, whether overt or covert, and the Partnership for Public Service emphatically disavows all forms of racism, bigotry and discrimination.

Our commitment to DEI will help us respond better to the needs of our federal partners, who are increasingly asking for our help with diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2021, we will offer new data and insights, training and forums to help federal leaders improve DEI within their institutions.

Our DEI Commitment Statement

The Partnership for Public Service is committed to building a culture of inclusion in which a diverse workforce has equitable opportunities to contribute, succeed and grow.

Ensuring employees’ psychological safety and inviting a wider range of viewpoints enables new and creative ways of thinking. This foundation expands our perspective, empowers better decisions and ultimately leads to higher organizational performance.

We define diversity expansively: We seek to bring together people with different backgrounds and qualities, both visible and invisible. We value all experiences and also acknowledge the injustices suffered by specific communities. We recognize that racism, sexism, religious bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism and other forms of discrimination make the need for equity critical. Advantages are not universal and so we must dismantle barriers to ensure that everyone can succeed at the Partnership. We are also deeply committed to inclusion—creating an environment of belonging in which people with different personal histories, political ideologies, personality types and other attributes are valued and feel like they matter.

We understand that the work of diversity, equity and inclusion is a challenging, continuous journey that demands humility, empathy and growth. We commit to realizing our vision, measuring our progress, and holding ourselves accountable, both in words and in action.

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the following corporations, foundations and individuals who sustain our work to transform government.

Anonymous I

Ford Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies


Accenture Federal Services

Anonymous II

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Boston Consulting Group

Charina Endowment Fund

Democracy Fund

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ronnie F. Heyman and Family

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation

Schmidt Futures

Anonymous III

Amanda Bennett




Grant Thornton Public Sector

IBM Center for The Business of Government

The James Irvine Foundation

David Marchick


McKinsey & Company

Jennifer and David Millstone

Indra and Raj Nooyi

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Poses Family Foundation

SoftBank Group

Lise Strickler and Mark Gallogly

Patricia A. and George W. Wellde Jr.


Andi and Tom Bernstein

Roberta and Steven Denning

Estate of Ira A. Lipman

The MITRE Corporation

Tom Nides

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

The Volcker Alliance


Cornerstone OnDemand


The Marc Haas Foundation

David J. Kappos and Leslie Kimball


Morgan Stanley Foundation

Mario M. Morino

Teresa and Daniel J. Murrin

Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation

Dina Powell McCormick and David McCormick

Pritzker Innovation Fund

Project Management Institute

Robertson Foundation for Government

The Edward John and Patricia Rosenwald Foundation

Fabienne and Doug Silverman


Booz Allen Hamilton

Michael Herrinton

J.P. Morgan


Steve and Molly Preston

ANDAH Foundation

Harold and Stephanie Bronson

Diana Farrell and Scott Pearson

Joel L. Fleishman

Nora Gardner

Golden Key Group

W. Scott Gould and Michèle Flournoy

Scott and Chelsea Kohler

The Ludwig Family Foundation

Karen Mandelbaum


Robert A. and Diane J. McDonald Family Foundation

Sabina Menschel and Bill Priestap

Sean and Laura O'Keefe

George and Mimi Perlman


Nancy Reardon and Steven Sayer

Norman Rosenthal

Leonard D. Schaeffer

Dan and Theresa Tangherlini

Neal Wolin and Nicole Elkon

John Yochelson

2 Anonymous Donors

Robert and Karen Baker

Charlie Bolden

Robert Brese

Joshua Brodie

Susan A. Carr Charitable Trust

Adam Cohen

Richard Danzig

Donald and Carole Dell

Maria Druke and James-Christian Blockwood

Michael Froman

Dave Gallagher

John Gilligan

Richard and Judy Gilmore

Leonard and Fleur Harlan

Jonathan and Laura Heller

Robert Katz

Les L. Lyles

Christine M. Major

Hunter Marston

Dave McClure

Melvin Miller

Florence Pan and Max Stier

Amy and Bruce Pascal

James Pastoriza

Andrew and Monique Rechtschaffen

Steve Roberts, in honor of Cokie Roberts

Mark Rosenthal

Maureen E. Wylie

7 Anonymous Donors

Kimberly Adkins

Jonathan and Stacie Alboum

Michelle Amante

Lauren C. Anderson

Gerald Andriole

Mary E. Ashley

Alyssa Asonye

Mary Atkins

Elda Auxiliaire

Roger Baker

Alan Balutis

Jeff Bartel

Francis Beidler Foundation

Keith Belton

Don Bice

Jennifer Block-Weiss

Sara Bloomfield

Joseph Thomas Brannan

George Brown

Katherine Bryan

Susan Burkhardsmeier

Dr. Allan V. Burman

Kelly Carlin

Christine Carroll and David Robertson

Joseph Castiglie

Daniel J. Chenok

Michell Clark

Ellen Cleary

Barry Clendenin

Mike Clow

Sally Cluthe

Robert Cohen

Miriam Cohen

Kenneth S. Colburn

C. Norman Coleman

Lia Collen

Margot Conrad

Haynes Cooney

Steve Cooper

Joe Costa

Michael Coughlin

Anna Cramer

Troy Cribb

Stephen Crilly

Doug Criscitello

Lara Crouch

Katherine Crump-Wiesner

Chris Cummiskey

Michael Cushing

Rick Daryl

Sarah Dash

Joshua DeLeon

Cadis Di Raizel

Mark Doboga

Samantha L. Donaldson

Michael Donley

Evan and Rebekah Doran

Thomas L. Drumm

Dan Durak

Kathleen P. Enright

Melissa M. Evans

Jared Feinberg

Henry Feinstein

Brian Fleming

Ron Flom

Brodi Fontenot

Laura Fortner

Jeffrey Foshag

Brett Freedman

Janira Garcia

Daniel Geller

Annette Germana

Ventris Gibson

Greg Giddens

Daniel Ginsberg

Vincette Goerl

Barry Goldberg

Claire Grady

Dave Grant

Margaret Graves

Jordana Greenwald

Alan Greilsamer

Chuck Grimes

Gina Grosso

George Gunning

Angie Gutierrez

Robert F. Hale

Faisal Hamid

Sallyanne Harper

Cynthia Heckmann

Sydney Heimbrock

Frederic L. Henderson

David Herman

Matthew Herrmann

Deborah Hirtz

Laura Holgate

E.J. (“Ned”) Holland Jr.

Ella Holman

Daniel Horner

Ralph Huber

Jody L. Hudson

Robert Hunter

Jill Hyland and John Hutchins

Eric Javits Family Foundation

Boisfeuillet and Barbara Jones

Kindra Jones

Mustafa Kabir

Umair Kapadia

Nancy Kassop

Megan Kays

Thomas Kelly

Patrick Kennedy

Janice L. King-Dunbar

Joseph Klimavicz

Roger Kodat

Alex Koehlke

Caroline Krass

Sonya Kuki

Ashton Kunkle-Mates

Micah Kyler

Lindsay Laferriere

Jordan LaPier

Brandon Lardy

Austin Laufersweiler

Amy Lear White

Philip Lenowitz

Peter Leung

Peter Levin

Shoshana Lew

Amali Liyanarachi

Steven Lovizio

Nandu Machiraju

Ronald MacInnis

Katie Malague

Andrew Marshall

John Marshall

Amiko Matsumoto Rorick and Rob Rorick

Kymm McCabe

Luke McCormack

Madeleine McCullough

Beth McGrath

Mary and Tim McManus

Edward Meagher

Essye B. Miller

William P. Milton

Monica Moniz

Susan Mooney

Jennifer Moran

Patrick Moulding

Dianna Mullis

Colin Murphy

David Naimon

Lucia Nascimento

Martha Nye

Stephanie Oriabure

Ann Orr

John Palguta

J. Marc Palmer

Krista Paquin

Sharon Parish

Gloria Parker

Alfredo Pineda

Paul Polski

Jeff T.H. Pon

Mark Powell

David Powner

Mark Pruce

Hannah Rayhill

Kari Rea

Shelly Rea

Samara Richardson

Johnhenri Richardson

Daniel Ritter

William Robinson

Richard Rohloff

David Rosenblum

Jonathan Rubin

Dwight Sanders

Jarinete Santos

Tony P. Scardino

Diana M. Scearce

Parker Schaffel

Alicia Schapire

Chris and Kevin Schiavone

Adam Schmidt

Anna Scholes

Andrew Scott

John Sepulveda

Mike Sheils

Jaclyn Sheridan

Kelly Shih

Aasi Tahir Siddique

Kristine and John Simmons

Felícita Solá-Carter

Stan Soloway

Yaroslav Spivak

Hal Steinberg

Arthur Sturm

Tina Sung

Anthony Sutton

Julie Taylor

Solly Thomas

Elizabeth Thorowgood

Norma and Bill Tiefel, in honor of Ronnie Heyman

Robert Tobin

Mary Tolar

Ping Han Tsai

Lydia Van Sant

Brittney Vevaina

Maureen Atkins Vollmer and Scott Vollmer

Mark A. Weatherly

Adam Weisler

Shelby Wenner

Dave Wennergren

Raynard P-G Williams

Jim Williams

Chris Wingo

Kitty Wooley

Renee Wynn

Kurt Yankaskas

Patricia Zarodkiewicz

Susan Zepeda

The support of these individuals and companies that provided the Partnership with pro bono or volunteer services has helped make the Partnership’s work possible. We gratefully acknowledge their generous support.

Mike Allen

Axios Media Inc.

Samantha Bee

Kristen Bell

Mayim Bialik

Bloomberg Media

Charles Borden

Boston Consulting Group

Kristin Burkhalter

President George W. Bush

Adam Conover

Anderson Cooper

Covington & Burling LLP

Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP

Curly W Productions


Donald Dell

DLA Piper


Nick Kroll

Beth Kseniak

Michael Lewis

Joe Mahshie

Dianna Mullis

Kumail Nanjiani

President Barack Obama

Bob Rizzi

Heather Samuelson

Jane Sarkin

Hamilton South

Sterne Kessler

Margaret Talev


Aisha Tyler

Matt Ullian

Harrison Vail

Darren Walker


Josh Bolten

Edward "Ted" Kaufman

Michael Leavitt

Thomas "Mack" McLarty

Penny Pritzker

Thad Allen

Bernie Banks

Doug Conant

Stephen M. R. Covey

Amy Edmondson

Sally Jewell

Harry Kraemer

Les L. Lyles

Robert A. McDonald

Chris Porath

Liz Wiseman

Caitlyn Fox

Don Howard

Michael McAfee

Amanda Renteria

Leonard D. Schaeffer

Ashley Swearengin

Laney Whitcanack

Angela Bailey

Jennifer Buckner

Karissa Calvo

Josh DeFigueiredo

Sheronda Dorsey

Brian Fielder

Ron Green

Elias Hernandez

Beau Houser

Jeffrey D. Johnson

Tonya Manning

Alexander Niejelow

Alec Palmer

Douglas Perry

Simone Petrella

Greg Sisson

Robert Tagalicod

Col. Dianna Terpin

Jeanne Tisinger

We gratefully acknowledge more than 120 former political and career executives who continue their commitment to public service by supporting current government leaders as members of our SAGE community.

Jonathan Alboum

Napoleon Avery

Frank Baitman

Roger Baker

Alan Balutis

Don Bice

Charles F. Bolden, Jr.

Rafael Borras

Robert Brese

Jeri Buchholz

Allan Burman

Robert Burton

L. Reynolds Cahoon

Scott Cameron

Roger Campbell

Michael Carleton

Daniel Chenok

Michell Clark

Patricia Cogswell

Miriam Cohen

Casey Coleman

Nani Coloretti

Rebecca Contreras

Steve Cooper

Doug Criscitello

Chris Cummiskey

Linda Cureton

Melinda Darby

Mark Doboga

Kay Ely

Karen Evans

Michael Fischetti

Michéle Flournoy

Brodi Fontenot

Mark Forman

Stephen Galvan

Ventris Gibson

Gregory Giddens

John Gilligan

Richard Ginman

Daniel Ginsberg

Vincette Goerl

Claire Grady

David Grant

Margaret Graves

Chuck Grimes

Gina Grosso

Robert Hale

Krysta Harden

Sallyanne Harper

Ruby Harvey

Cynthia Heckmann

Vance Hitch

Ira Hobbs

Jon Holladay

Ned Holland

Michael Howell

Jody Hudson

Karlease Kelly

Steve Kelman

Joseph Klimavicz

Roger Kodat

Joseph Kull

Peter Levin

Shoshana Lew

Gail Lovelace

David Mader

Jenni Main

Christine Major

John Marshall

Rajive Mathur

Kimberly McCabe

David McClure

Luke McCormack

Diann McCoy

Beth McGrath

Edward Meagher

Kathryn Medina

Essye Miller

William Milton

Daniel Mintz

Jeff Neal

Molly O’Neill

Howard Osborne

Kevin Youel Page

Krista Paquin

Gloria Parker

Robert Perciasepe

Jeff Pon

John Porcari

Nancy Potok

David Powner

Scott Quehl

Anne Reed

Christine Rider

Gale Rossides

Anne Rung

Ron Sanders

Anthony Scardino

Patrick Schambach

Lisa Schlosser

John Sepulveda

Robert Shea

Myra Howze Shiplett

Henry Sienkiewicz

Lynn Simpson

John Sindelar

Felícita Solá-Carter

Stan Soloway

Richard Spires

Hal Steinberg

Jeff Steinhoff

Pat Tamburrino

Daniel Tangherlini

James Taylor

W. Hord Tipton

Peter Tseronis

Kathleen Turco

Alan Wade

Mark Weatherly

Margaret Weichert

Reginald Wells

David Wennergren

Danny Werfel

Frontis Wiggins

Jerry Williams

Jim Williams

Karen Wilson

Michael Wooten

Maureen Wylie

Renee Wynn

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of contributions received from January 1 through December 31, 2020. Kindly inform the development office at or 202-464-5387 of any oversights or inaccuracies.

Board of Directors

Tom A. Bernstein
Chairman, Partnership for Public Service
President, Chelsea Piers Management, Inc.

Douglas R. Conant
Founder and CEO, ConantLeadership
Former CEO and President, Campbell Soup Company

Joel L. Fleishman
Professor of Law and Director, Heyman Center for Ethics, Public Policy, and the Professions, Duke University

Nora Gardner
Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

W. Scott Gould
CEO, Mountain Lakes Associates, LLC

David J. Kappos
Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Lester Lyles
Former Chairman of the Board, USAA
Retired General, United States Air Force
Former Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force

Sharon Marcil
Managing Director and Senior Partner, Chief Marketing Officer & Global Chair of the Client Team
Boston Consulting Group

Robert A. McDonald
Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Retired Chairman, President and CEO, The Procter & Gamble Company

Jennifer Millstone

Tom Nides

Indra K. Nooyi
Former Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

Sean O’Keefe
University Professor and Howard G. and S. Louise Phanstiel Chair in Strategic Management and Leadership, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Ruth Porat
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Alphabet and Google

Dina Powell McCormick
Global Head of Sustainability and Inclusive Growth, Goldman Sachs

Steven C. Preston
President and CEO, Goodwill Industries International, Inc. 

Kevin Sheekey
Global Head of External Relations, Bloomberg LP

Max Stier
President and CEO, Partnership for Public Service

Dan Tangherlini
Managing Director, The Emerson Collective

Toni Townes-Whitley
President, U.S. Regulated Industries, Microsoft

Jim VandeHei
Co-founder and CEO, Axios

George W. Wellde, Jr.
Former Vice Chairman, Securities Division, Goldman Sachs & Company

Neal S. Wolin
CEO, Brunswick Group