Supporting FII and its mission

We believe that public policy and rigorous research ought to go hand-in-hand, and that good government ought to be based on hard evidence drawn from dispassionate analysis. Unfortunately, no such bond exists. In fact, the drift toward hyper-partisan, interest-driven politics, and the increasing lack of civil discourse threaten to undermine the democratic process. Increasingly, decisions rely on personal impressions or information from lobbyists and special interest groups that is often fragmented, biased, parochial, and less focused on family considerations. Families are widely considered the basic building block of society, but family considerations are not part of the normal course of policymaking.

If we are unable to connect research and policy, what might the future look like?

  • Can we envision more partisanship, more polarization, more interest-driven policies?
  • Are we willing to tolerate even greater influence of ideology and money over science?
  • Will family needs continue to be unmet jeopardizing the many contributions families make to society?
  • Will we blow the extraordinary opportunity that lies before us in this century to demonstrate that democracy can work in a diverse society (Rivlin, 1995)?

Is there an alternative? At the Family Impact Institute, we are dedicated to connecting research and policy using a proven and effective model. The Family Impact Seminars are a series of presentations, discussion sessions, and briefing reports that provide high-quality, objective information to state policymakers on timely policy issues. FII currently provides training and technical assistance to state sites, all university-based, that are conducting or planning Seminars in their state capitols. Since 1999, Seminars have been held across the country on topics such as corrections policy, early childhood education and care, growing the state economy, health care, long-term care, school finance, welfare reform, and workforce development.

Policymakers tell us that the Seminars represent one of few institutional venues that serve as an “honest broker” to help overcome partisan paralysis. We work to find common ground by building respect for the role of evidence in policy decisions and by encouraging policymakers to examine issues through a family impact lens. In evaluations, policymakers report that the Seminars have increased their knowledge of research on family issues in ways that shaped their policy decisions and changed their attitudes about how valuable research and family considerations are in policymaking.

We hope that you will join us. The stakes are high! As first voiced by Theodore Roosevelt in 1893, “We hope that the level of our greatness rises to the level of our opportunity.” Please join us in responding to one of the most important challenges of our time—turning good research and analysis into policy.

Make a gift now. 

Make sure to select “other” in the list of additional funds and specify your gift designation as “Family Impact Institute/HDFS.” Click here if you are looking explore other ways to give to FII.

If you have interest in supporting FII, but would like to discuss, please contact Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Executive Director, at (765) 494-9878 or