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State Policy Innovation

Sagamore Institute has prioritized state and local government policy for several reasons.  First, we prefer to implement solutions and that work is done locally not federally.  Second, innovative state action is an ideal driver of federal reforms.  And third, states are the laboratories of democracy and deserve our best ideas.

Welfare Reform

Jay Hein served on then-WI Gov. Tommy Thompson’s welfare staff alongside Jason Turner and they both were active in exporting the Wisconsin reform model to other states and nations. Jason continues this work by operating the Secretaries Innovation Group under Sagamore’s sponsorship. Sagamore partner Philippa Stroud helped Iain Duncan Smith transfer the Wisconsin Model to the Britain and she currently chairs the UK’s Poverty Strategy Commission.

Fiscal Policy Reform

Ryan Streeter served as Distinguished Senior Fellow for Economic Policy and he directed the Bradley Working Group on State Finance. The group met with then-Gov. Mitch Daniels to learn about the main sources of state fiscal crises and he took us inside Indiana’s innovative reforms. Dr. Streeter also analyzed Gov. Daniels key reforms in a publication titled The Aspirational State

Seamless Cities

Rick Baker grew up in Indianapolis and became an admirer of the city’s innovative mayors especially Steve Goldsmith.  He moved to Florida for law school and became mayor of St. Petersburg which enabled him to import two Indianapolis assets: he got the Indy cars to race annually in downtown St. Pete and he turned Goldsmith’s ideas into his vision for a seamless city.  Through its Commonwealth City Fund, Sagamore remains active in Indianapolis, Tampa/St. Pete, Raleigh-Durham, Nashville and other cities moving these ideas forward. 

Restorative Justice

Dr. Byron Johnson has formed Sagamore multiple Sagamore restorative justice partnerships such as (1) our work designing and co-hosting the inaugural Barbed Wire to Business Accelerator pitch competition for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program; and (2) mentoring programs for adjudicated youth including one founded by former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in Virginia. Former Sagamore president Deborah Daniels served as Assistant Attorney General and previously, as the director of the Justice Department’s first Weed and Seed director.

New Energy Solutions

Sagamore fellow John Waters has been committed to developing sustainable solutions since his early work on GM’s EV1, the world’s first (high volume) electric car. John designed and developed a safe, powerful and economic battery and later extended that battery expertise to other enterprises. Before joining Sagamore, John served as vice president of the Rocky Mountain Institute where he advocated ”natural capitalism” and made the case that no project is sustainable unless is it also economically viable.

American OUtlook / Sagamore Press

Sagamore published the American Outlook policy journal for several years featuring leading state and local reform ideas; see archives in the link below.  The think tank also created Sagamore Press to publish books that give readers an inside look at the reform process; see excerpt of The New Wisconsin Idea in the link below.

Ecosystem Strategies

Sagamore fellow Blair Milo became one of nation’s leaders in deploying ecosystem building tools in her former role as Indiana’s Secretary of Career Connections and Talent.  As the state’s Chief Talent Officer, she designed and implemented 21st Century Talent Regions as a “network of networks” strategy.  At Sagamore, she collaborated with a technology company called Metaimpact to drive similar strategies at companies, government and nonprofits seeking to solve the world’s biggest problems through design thinking and impact networks.

Florida Research

Sagamore fellows have been active in Florida producing research such as: (1) helping then Gov. Jeb Bush more effectively direct the private sector response to the recovery efforts following four hurricanes that struck in 2004; (2) bolstering the nonprofit sector in partnership with the Office Depot Foundation; and (3) advocating for new foster care solutions in partnership with Tony Dungy and Tampa-based All Pro Dads.

Mapping Ohio's Compassion

While he served as governor of Ohio, John Kasich commissioned Sagamore to conducted a comprehensive study of the state’s nonprofit sector (67,556 organizations). The report generated insights into their economic contribution to the state, how they are financed, the unique role of faith-based charities, the various types of services offered and more. The findings were released in a report as well as an interactive website

Faith in the States

Jay Hein is seen here delivering a report that President Bush would later distribute to the nation’s governors convening at the White House. The report captured faith-based and nonprofit innovation in each of the 50 states. President Bush’s initiative was shaped in large measure by US Senator Dan Coats’ Project for American Renewal and Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith’s Front Porch Alliance.