Founded in 2009, the People’s Policy Institute is an education and action company that supports communities striving for social, economic, and environmental justice. PPI provides trainings, workshops, coaching, and ongoing policy analytic support to communities working on issues ranging from health equity to mass incarceration.
PPI has a for-profit (don’t let the name fool you) business model that combines extremely low overhead costs with access to a national pool of community leaders and talented research, design, and policy professionals. Our sliding-scale, fee-for-service model enhances our ability to stay focused on the interests of communities rather than the interests of funders.
We contract nationally with individuals and organizations that can provide local knowledge and specialized analytic or artistic skills to bear on a specific project. Our business model allows us to provide just-in-time education, research and analytic support to communities and partnerships at a relatively low cost.
At the People’s Policy Institute, we do everything we can to make democracy happen.
In 2009, Cassandra Ritas started the People’s Policy Institute to facilitate the use of analytic tools by communities, to promote Collaborative Policy Design by diverse stakeholders, and to support community values in public policymaking. She continues to serve as PPI’s Principal Policy Advisor.
Prior to founding PPI, Cassandra spent several years developing and piloting policy analysis and advocacy workshops for communities and their partners around the US. Working for the New York State Senate in the office of a progressive legislator from 2003-2007, she pursued a stakeholder-based, policy-development process, soliciting input from advocates and scientists on a range of health and criminal justice policy issues. Cassandra served for three years (2000-2003) as the Chair of the Policy Work Group of the Harlem Urban Research Center’s Community Action Board, a collaborative of institutional and community partners that seeks to address the social determinants of health and health disparities in East and Central Harlem (now known as the Harlem Community Academic Partnership). She continues to be an active member of HCAP.
Cassandra is a graduate of Hunter College of the City University of New York. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Cassandra has a special interest in health, criminal justice, environmental, and aging policy. Cassandra’s work is represented in many of the recently edited volumes on community-based participatory research (CBPR). In 2003 she produced the popular toolkit, “Speaking Truth, Creating Power: A guide to policy work for CBPR practitioners,” as part of a fellowship from Community-Campus Partnerships for Health.