LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT AND CHAIR
The Partnership for Public Service is the only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to building a better government and a stronger democracy.
Our work began 20 years ago, shortly after the tragic events of 9/11. At the time, Americans awakened to the need for an innovative and dynamic government that confronts national emergencies and tackles big problems, inspired in no small part by the public servants who stepped up to serve our nation at a time of crisis. In 2001, the Partnership was founded to address this critical need.
America would face other crises, from the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 to economic turmoil, natural disasters and acts of racial injustice. And just like before, we relied on government—our most vital public institution—to respond.
This past year, we were confronted by yet another urgent crisis: persistent challenges to American democracy that undermine public confidence in the way our government works. These challenges included a tumultuous presidential transition, a violent insurrection against Congress and growing suspicions about the results of a legitimate election. At the same time, many Americans continue to lack equal opportunity, a disparity that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and contributes to a declining faith in our public institutions.
Addressing these issues is critical to the health of our democracy—but we can only do so if our federal government keeps up with the changing world around us and reaches its full promise and potential.
In 2021, the Partnership worked energetically to make this vision a reality, developing nonpartisan, forward-thinking and multifaceted solutions that seek to transform how our government serves the people and demonstrate its essential role in protecting our health, safety and well-being.
During a tumultuous presidential transition, we worked closely with President Biden’s team, the Trump administration, career agency leaders and political appointees to execute America’s first virtual transition and ensure one of our nation’s core democratic traditions—the successful transfer of presidential power—would continue. We also launched an initiative to support congressional staff in the wake of the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, part of our ongoing work to strengthen the institution of Congress so that it more effectively listens, leads and legislates for our diverse nation.
In addition, we continued to support the growth and development of career civil servants—the 2 million federal employees who work across politics and party to serve the public.
Our leadership development programs reached nearly 5,000 federal employees this past year, while an expanded suite of fellowship, internship and talent exchange programs helped agencies strengthen the federal workforce. We also continued to shed light on the accomplishments of outstanding federal workers to demonstrate how effective government impacts our lives for the better.
Throughout, our customer experience data, insights and research enabled agencies to expand their reach—serving not just those who typically engage with federal services, but those who often struggle hardest to access them. We recognize that the health of our democracy depends on government’s ability to meet the diverse needs of our nation—and we will continue to guide agencies in their work to listen to and better serve the public.
We are proud of these accomplishments, but we know there is much more to do. This Impact Report highlights the results of the Partnership’s work in 2021, looks back at our 20-year history and outlines our plans for the future. 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 and a stronger democracy.
President and CEO
Chair of the Board
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Header photos credit: Shutterstock, National Park Service/Emily Hassell, Andrea Starr/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Architect of the Capitol, André Josué Anchecta Oseguera/U.S. Agency for International Development