Policy by the people

The Western Massachusetts Policy Center represents a new model of grassroots, anti-racist think tank, centered on the practical training, education and direct resourcing of those historically or routinely excluded from power and influence.

Designing People-Centered Public Policy

Unlike other think tanks, we’re focused exclusively on creating and deploying policy by and for those who have been negatively affected by broken and oppressive systems–not for existing experts and those already in power.

Simply put: We design policy that protects people over systems and root-problem solutions over politics.

What We Do

Policy School

Despite vast expenditures of donor resources on diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives at think tanks, the majority of policymakers–especially those in prestige positions–are still overwhelmingly homogenous and aging. Most have no real-world experience navigating the systems their policies affect.

What’s more, think tanks spend the bulk of their salaries and benefits on this group. Meanwhile, they invest very little in practical training and employee-centered professional development for a more diverse, hungry, innovative next generation of policy professionals. 

Giving the most resources to those who need them the least, and the least to those who need them the most is as absurd as it is inequitable. 

We’re changing the rules–by directly privileging, training and resourcing historically or routinely excluded, entry-level and nontraditional policy analysts, and amplifying their voices toward greater power, respect and influence.

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Think Tank

We specialize in ‘wicked’ problems.

Our leadership and analysts are intentionally trained as polymaths – in the art of mixed methods policy research design, production, communications, relationship-building and deployment. This means we can work in any issue area that impacts the real people and communities of Western Massachusetts.

Since our fellows are trained to be uniquely creative and impactful–and encouraged to challenge the status quo–we eagerly tackle areas of policy that have long been considered untouchable, intractable, hard-to-fund or especially resistant to change.

We’re a laboratory for questions others are afraid to ask and a megaphone for the people-centered, community-driven, research-based answers we come up with. 

Our Latest


We are actively recruiting partners, board and advisory committee members. Get in touch to find out how we can work together to improve Western Massachusetts for all constituencies.