MassINC was founded in 1996 by a small group of civic and business leaders who believed that Massachusetts was missing accurate, thorough, and unbiased data to inform thoughtful policymaking.
They set out to create an organization that produced research and supported policies dedicated to creating a ladder to the middle class for families in Massachusetts. Over the years, MassINC expanded its reach, employing civic engagement strategies to help move the best ideas, supported by hard data, into public policy. In addition to independent research, the MassINC Policy Center now encompasses the Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute. Greg Torres was named president of MassINC in 2007 and still leads the organization today.
In 2010, the MassINC Polling Group launched as a for-profit subsidiary offering public opinion research. The Polling Group, led by founder and president Steve Koczela, serves media, business, and nonprofit clients. The polling group worked with WBUR to produce the most accurate polls for the 2014 elections, calling both the governor and Senate races within a percentage point of the final vote count.
CommonWealth launched the same year MassINC was founded. The magazine initially covered issues closely related to the work of the think tank. When CommonWealth went online in 2009, it took off as a full-fledged news organization, providing thorough coverage of politics, policy ideas, and civic life in Massachusetts. In 2007, former Boston Globe investigative reporter Bruce Mohl became editor of CommonWealth. In his time leading the publication, it has continued to publish independent journalism and provide a forum for civil debate.
MassINC’s mission is to promote policy and practice that shrink the opportunity gap and promote an open democracy. Our focus is on all of Massachusetts – not just metro Boston – with a dedicated focus on the Massachusetts “Gateway Cities.” These urban centers, such as Lawrence, New Bedford, Worcester, and Springfield, were historically a gateway to the middle class for generations of residents. We think they can continue to provide opportunities for their residents today. To support this work, we founded the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute. We look locally, nationally and globally for best practices to support our mission.