Untitled design-7

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 2015 has been an incredible year for the MassINC family which includes our Policy Center, CommonWealth magazine and the MassINC Polling Group.

Please take a moment to look through the highlights of substantive research, civic events, and journalism from 2015 and consider making a year-end donation that will help us continue our efforts to improve the quality of life in the Commonwealth in 2016. Visit our websites and social media regularly to stay informed about progress on these important issues in the New Year.

MassINC Policy Center

Gateway Cities Research:

Building Community-Wide Social and Emotional Support Systems in Massachusetts Gateway Cities: Assessing Progress from the Perspective of Local Educators

SE-Report-490x650Prepared in partnership with the UMass Donahue Institute, this study examines the landscape of social and emotional student supports in Gateway Cities. The report contextualizes local efforts to build these systems with an overview of recent policy developments. This is followed by the presentation of findings from a survey of Gateway City education leaders and interviews conducted during site visits to four school districts. The report concludes with policy recommendations.

Leading Together: Four Case Studies of Successful Gateway City Initiatives

Leading Together coverTo help Gateway Cities choose and successfully establish next-generation governance and leadership development models, this volume combines all four Leading Together case studies with an introductory section synthesizing familiar themes and lessons-learned. By looking closely at initiatives that have provided an effective response to complex challenges in a variety of settings, the case studies reveal lessons about the structure of leadership in Gateway Cities, as well as current leadership capacity and efforts to tap a wellspring of future leaders.

Leading Together: Building Private Nonprofit Economic Development Organizations for Gateway City Growth & Renewal

Leading Together cover 3As an installment in our Leading Together series, this paper was specially prepared to spur conversation at a convening on private nonprofit economic development organizations held in Lawrence in December 2015. MassINC co-hosted the event with the Lawrence Partnership and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

In addition to this significant research, MassINC publishes The Gateway Cities Journal twice a month. The e-journal is filled with headlines from the Gateway dailies and links to research and data of value to Gateway leaders. Click here to subscribe.

Gateway Cities Events:

Gateway Cities Public Safety Leadership Summit: Crime-Fighting Summit Draws AG, Area Police Chiefs, Mayors

In September, MassINC gathered with Gateway City public safety leaders in Lawrence ford0d14281-3685-4c66-96df-9de167f10d34 an event hosted by Mayor Rivera, a co-chair of our Gateway Cities Innovation Institute. The meeting brought together mayors, city managers, and police chiefs representing nearly two dozen cities for an open dialogue on community policing and reentry. These Gateway City leaders were joined by Attorney General Maura Healey for an informal conversation over lunch. Responding to requests from local leaders, this convening was the first step toward a greater focus on public safety policy for the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute.

Advancing the Gateway Cities Vision for Social-Emotional Learning


In October, a MassINC study of efforts to build social-emotional learning systems in Gateway Cities, and the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy paper summarizing the policy landscape for social-emotional learning in Massachusetts were the topics of a forum co-hosted by MassINC, the Rennie Center, and Transforming Education. Joining together to develop a common education vision in 2013, Gateway City leaders made full build-out of community-wide social and emotional support systems a central pillar of their strategy. Two years on, the topic of social-emotional learning and support is gaining increasing traction in Massachusetts and beyond.

Gateway Cities Innovation Awards

33355f20-77b4-4031-b4e2-08fb3ce39fa8The Third Annual Gateway City Innovation Awards were hosted in Worcester this year. The November event placed a bright light on the bold and dedicated leaders commanding the fight on the ground in our Gateway Cities. For each of the honorees, we screened a short video that captured the voices of dozens of Gateway City leaders behind the work. After the awards were presented, the change agents leading these initiatives joined us onstage to talk about universal lessons on what it takes to generate and sustain success. The exchange was moderated by Tim McGourthy, the Executive Director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau and a longtime proponent for Gateway Cities coming together to change the narrative.

We were fortunate that Governor Baker was able to be with us to hear these storiesIMG_9976 firsthand, and share his thoughts on how the state can support more of this good work. The Governor is no stranger to Gateway Cities. In his travels, he has visited them again and again. He knows their leaders and clearly has a deep appreciation for their valiant work. Nick Donohue, President & CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and a steady partner in our Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, offered a closing call to action, encouraging all of the Gateway City leaders to keep pushing forward together, harder.

Public Private Partnership Event: Engaging the Business Community in Gateway City Economic Development

IMG_0728Leaders from across the state came together in Lawrence in December for a wide-ranging conversation on engaging the business community in Gateway City economic development efforts. Co-hosted by MassINC, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and the Lawrence Partnership, the forum featured very substantive
remarks from Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership; Secretary Ash; Bob Rivers, President and COO of Eastern Bank; and a panel of leaders running private economic development organizations in Massachusetts.

Criminal Justice Reform Research:

Crime, Cost and Consequences: Two Year Progress ReportCCC.update.2-490x650

In 2013, MassINC issued Crime, Cost, and Consequences, a comprehensive look at the performance of the state’s criminal justice system. At the Second Annual Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Summit, we issued this update. These new figures show steady progress in some areas, while other problems identified in the 2013 report continue to present stubborn challenges.

Report coverExploring the Potential for Pretrial Innovation in Massachusetts

This policy brief, the first in a series examining Justice Reinvestment in Massachusetts, provides a primer on the state’s pretrial process and presents new data, which highlight racial and ethnic disparities and other issues of concern. The brief concludes with a blueprint for pretrial innovation in the Commonwealth.

Viewing Justice Reinvestment Through a Developmental Lens: New Approaches to Reducing Young Adult Recidivism in Massachusetts

young offenders brief coverThe second installment in our Justice Reinvestment Policy Brief Series, this paper contrasts the sharp drop in juvenile offending in Massachusetts – driven in part by the adoption of an intervention model informed by the latest developmental science – with the more moderate decline in young adult offending over the past decade. The brief concludes with a series of recommendations to reduce recidivism among justice-involved young adults through evidence-based policy and practice.

Criminal Justice Reform Events:

Second Annual Criminal Justice Summit


In March, the annual Criminal Justice Summit drew 500 guests to hear Attorney General Maura Healey, Chief Justice Gants’ keynote address, and Harvard Professor Bruce Western’s recent research findings on national trends in incarceration rates. Respondents on two panels provided local and national context with an especially passionate rebuttal of Justice Gants’ keynote from District Attorney Dan Conley.

State House hearing on mandatory minimums

FullIn June, the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition in conjunction with the Brennan Center hosted over 200 members of the criminal justice community at the State House for a dialogue on the findings of their report. The impact of the event helped set the stage for the hearings, with the Boston Globe publishing a timely editorial against mandatory minimums for low level drug offenders prior to the hearing and several other local papers publishing a joint op-ed from MassINC and the Brennan Center.

The report was also sighted by many who testified, including Chief Justice Gants, Sheriff GantsTompkins, and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian among others.

“MassINC has come to see comprehensive reform as a serious strategy for reversing the hollowing out of the middle class” said Ben Forman to the committee.

MassINC publishes The MassCJRC Journal, a monthly e-newsletter of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. Click here to subscribe.

Reforming Justice for Young Adults: Time to Rethink How We Serve this Critical Population

In October, at Harvard, Ben Forman participated in a discussion of recent research on young adults from MassINC and the Executive Session on Community Corrections (2013-2016), including the inaugural report from a brand-new series ‘New Thinking in Community Corrections’ which focuses on the latest science and thinking, written by Executive Session members Vincent Schiraldi, Bruce Western, and Kendra Bradner.


winter-2015CommonWealth is journalism at its best: in-depth, balanced, and independent. It is also the type of journalism that’s badly needed today as the economic model that fuels most news media is running out of gas.

We cover politics, policy, ideas, and civicSpring-2015-Cover life, with an emphasis on investigative reporting, in-depth analysis, and political mapping.

We also provide a forum for policy
makers and politicians to set forth their opinions. There’s nothing gimmicky about it, which is what makes it so unique.

Our print magazine comes out four times a year while our online magazine allows us to continue our coverage between issues. To expand our audience, our content is often shared with several local media outlets.

MP54594RecPaper-Cover.inddCommonWealth’s recent successes include: groundbreaking investigations into the MBTA, criminal justice reform, education practices, and tax subsidies; long-form articles on education reforms; public records laws; renewable energy, Fall2015and state and municipal finance reforms. The magazine also puts out two very popular newsletters.

Back Story: A weekly column sent to subscribers that gives the story behind the story in politics and public policy by CommonWealth writers. Click here to subscribe.

The Download: a daily feature that compiles all of the best coverage of politics and public policy from that day’s newspapers, magazines, broadcasts and blogs – complete with analysis to help make sense of it all.

MassINC Polling Group


The MassINC Polling Group celebrated its fifth year in 2015 with a reputation for accuracy and integrity on Beacon Hill and far beyond. The MassINC Polling Group was in the mix in every important policy issue: from the beleaguered MBTA to climate change. Garrett Quinn of Boston Magazine said it best, “Nothing had a bigger effect on the 2024 Olympics’ conversation than the monthly polling conducted by WBUR and MassINC. They drove the discussion around the Olympics without becoming a part of it.”

MassINC Polling Group’s President and founder, Steve Koczela’s observations
on polling methodology and results appear regularly in The New York Times, the Boston Globe, WBUR, and most recently at a Whitehouse press briefing.FullSizeRender1-740x555

Steve’s visibility on election and issues polling belies the fact that the Polling Group has a large number of private corporate clients that rely on their survey research and Steve’s behind-the-scenes advice.

The MassINC Polling Group, a for-profit company, was founded by the non-profit MassINC with a mission to provide accurate, reliable, nonpartisan polling and to provide a new source of revenue to MassINC. We are very proud to report the Polling Group is a big success on both measures.

Looking Forward!

As we move into 2016, we look forward to continuing our mission with you.
MassINC was built around the conviction that better outcomes would be achieved if policy makers and opinion leaders were armed with credible data and analysis about key issues surrounding quality of life in Massachusetts. Unbiased, fact-
based analysis have always been cornerstones of MassINC’s work and have made us the organization of record for policy analysis and civic engagement.

And right now, with your donation, MassINC will continue to advance policy and practice that shrinks the opportunity gap, improves the quality of life for the middle class, and promotes an open democracy.

With our gratitude and best wishes to you and yours for a happy & healthy New Year! Special thanks to our sponsors and funders who help make our work possible.

Greg Torres, Lauren Louison, Bruce Mohl, Ben Forman, Steve Koczela, and the rest of the team at MassINC logo

Meet The Author

Our sponsors