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One Year Closer to Perfecting Our Union

Originally published on PMPU.org.

One year ago today the Congressional Management Foundation launched its new venture, the Partnership for a More Perfect Union. For those of you that have been following the Partnership, you know that this represents a broadening of CMF’s core mission, which has always been to support the Member, committee, and leadership offices of the U.S. Congress. Now, through the Partnership, CMF is seeking to improve the communication, understanding, and relationship between Members of Congress and the citizens they represent.

Here’s a little bit about what we’ve been up to in the last year:

  • On April 21, 2010, CMF launched the Partnership for a More Perfect Union with the help of our Founding Partners: Fleishman-Hillard, AT&T, Convio, and the Hansan Family Foundation.
  • CMF and the Partnership released the results of the 111th Congress Gold Mouse Project that seeks to improve the quality of congressional websites to meet constituents’ needs and expectations. We reviewed all 620 Member, committee, and leadership office websites of the House and Senate, presenting the best 135 websites in Congress with the coveted Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Mouse awards.
  • On January 26, 2011, we released the report, Communicating with Congress: Perceptions of Citizen Advocacy on Capitol Hill, the results of a survey of 260 congressional staff on both sides of the Hill and aisle about how they perceive and manage constituent “mail.” That same day, CMF’s President and CEO, Brad Fitch, delivered the key note address on the key findings from the report at the Public Affairs Council’s National Grassroots Conference in Key West, Florida.
  • To date, we have provided webinar training for 192 grassroots advocacy practitioners through our Partnership with groups such as the National Conference on Citizenship, Women in Government Relations, and Independent Sector, and delivered speeches to groups including the American Optometric Association, Convio’s 2010 Summit, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the American League of Lobbyists, Society for Human Resource Management, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and the American Traffic Safety Services Association.
  • Earlier this year we launched the Partnership’s free bi-weekly email newsletter that not only captures our work, but provides subscribers with a summary of what is happening in the worlds of Congress, advocacy, citizen engagement, technology, and the social web.
  • We also provide those organizations and individuals that join the Partnership with extra content, such as unpublished data, that they can repurpose for their efforts to educate their advocates and members.
  • As of today, 18 organizations have joined the Partnership and we are grateful to them for their support, involvement, and belief in our mission: American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American Network of Community Options and Resources, American Optometric Association, ASAE, Bayer Corporation, Clovis Point Solutions, Express Scripts, Independent Sector, National Conference on Citizenship, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, National Write Your Congressman, Public Affairs Council, American Dental Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Traffic Safety Services Association, Open Forum Foundation, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and our first of hopefully many Citizen–Advocate Partners, Beverly E. Bell.

Finally, one year out we continue to be grateful to our friends and partners at Fleishman-Hillard for having the foresight and determination to help us in this important endeavor. They are not only a Founding Partner, but they also helped us develop the Partnership brand, create the Partnership’s website and the “Inside the Hill” video series, and continue to provide valuable guidance to us on a regular basis. We are probably most grateful that they were the first Partner to fully understand and get behind our vision to enrich the relationship between citizens and Members of Congress and we are thankful for their continuing support.

Happy 1st anniversary, Partnership! Again, thank you to all of the individuals and organizations that have helped us become one year closer to perfecting our union!

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