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We join Tom Slater’s family in grieving his death on Saturday, March 17, 2018. Tom’s love of life and his fellow humans was embodied in State Public Policy Group, the company he founded in 1984. Tom was an inspiration to many, concocted dozens of innovative solutions to state, community, and issue interests and worked with organizations to implement and manage their own change. You can just hear him say that, I’m sure! Tom was active at SPPG until his retirement in December 2015, and... Read more
The legislative session is nearly upon us! It’s time to make plans to ensure you have information and tools to be successful in what will be an active session before the 2018 elections.   SPPG can help you make the legislative session great - or just survive. Watch this 30-second video for how. SPPG - Political Advocacy from SPPG on Vimeo.   Interested in learning more? Contact Bradley Knott at bknott@sppg.com.   SPPG can help you through our expanded services to: Fine... Read more
SPPG, supported by United Way of Central Iowa, officially kicked off activities of the Out-of-School Time (OST) Literacy Initiative in 2013. Afterschool programs that participate in the initiative are supported by SPPG’s two Literacy Coaches. The Coaches assist program staff in integrating literacy into activity planning and in developing useful and appropriate materials through training and one-on-one, daily assistance. The goal of literacy (reading and writing) in afterschool programming is... Read more
With May upon us we’re seeing winter turned to spring, and spring heading toward summer. How fast the days go for the SPPG team with our ongoing work and new ventures! Spring seems to be the season for conferences, with Association of Iowa Workforce Professionals, Impact Afterschool, and the public-health focused Economic Health of Business regional summit. Add in other work such as our strategic planning work with the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, work on youth violence... Read more
Written by Brad KnottNovember 18, 2016 As John and I finish our second month at State Public Policy Group, there are many impressions worth sharing. Here are a few. 1) The breadth and the depth of the work here is incredible! We are helping afterschool programs, educating business leaders on public health issues, helping rural Iowa physicians retain their independence, and studying factors impacting the financial capacity for Blacks in the greater community. These are just a few of the... Read more
Change is good! SPPG welcomed new co-owners on September 1, 2016. Brad Knott and John Norris have relocated back to Iowa and partnered up as the new owners of SPPG. We are celebrating! We are happy to also celebrate that we are pretty good at managing our own change. Managing change to positively impact the community, state, and world around us is one of SPPG’s values and foundational premises of the work we do with and for our clients. We also apply those values and premises to... Read more
This man was a real character. I mean, he was always up to something! He always had more ideas than one brain deserves to create – some of them were pretty darn good – and he often had more opinions than ideas. And the best thing about him was that he also HAD character. You couldn’t find a better human being anywhere. Tom Parks died on September 9 after having more adventures, successes, struggles, ideas, and accolades than many could cram into nine lifetimes. At one point about 20 years... Read more
Written by Arlinda McKeenAugust 18, 2016 There are no lazy days of summer around SPPG. Have you ever heard someone say they are so busy they are meeting themselves coming and going? While some may think that’s being too busy, the SPPG crew sees it a bit differently. We work on a lot of issues – direct care workforce, out-of-school time, economic well-being, planning supports in a half-dozen issue areas, and more. Some we’ve been involved with for more than 15 years, and some will be... Read more
Written by Arlinda McKeenMarch 9, 2016 Tirana, Albania, 1996 – After spending a couple of months in Albania 20 years ago, one lesson was very clear: the language in that country only had a word for “politics.” There was no word for “policy.” This was a challenge for us.  That lesson was underscored through additional work in Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia (the country), and Armenia. Visitors to SPPG from Slovakia, Croatia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Poland, and elsewhere confirmed... Read more
Written by Michelle RichJanuary 12, 2016 In November 2014, the Iowa Afterschool Alliance (IAA) released its Iowa Afterschool Opportunities Directory, a data collection tool with a public interface that collects critical, voluntary information on afterschool program operations locally across the state. This data is voluntary and not all afterschool programs have chosen to participate. In July 2015, the IAA pulled data to compare operations of urban and rural programs. Instead of using... Read more
Written by Tom SlaterDecember 14, 2015 In May of 2016, Slater Nation will celebrate my Father's 100th birthday. He was Irish, so it should be good. Our Mother celebrated her 100th on November 29th of 2015. She was of German ancestry. They were farmers and mom was also an elementary school teacher. They were kind, gentle, but firm with their eight children. Over nightly suppers, there were always hearty discussions of political and other issues of the day. Regarding Eisenhower - did he play... Read more
Written by Hannah GebhartAugust 20, 2015 SPPG brings a lot to the table. We work hard to help our clients reach their goals by providing services that range from organizational development to event planning to program evaluation. But did you know that we also provide top-notch design services? The team at SPPG works together to develop messages and materials with just the right look. Infographics, event invitations and emails, logo design, websites and report layouts are just the beginning of... Read more
Written by Arlinda McKeenMay 6, 2015 Little grandkids are greatly entertaining and full of curiosity. Two little ones ages 7 and 4 are part of periodic weekends of fun for me. The oldest seems to revel in learning and taking the opportunity to read aloud and giggle over her Junie B. Jones books while the youngest can pretend some very vivid dinosaur family interactions. They are learning and figuring things out at every waking moment. That's a lot like the rest of us, don’t you think? My... Read more
Written by Arlinda McKeenDecember 15, 2014 The most exciting season of the year is upon us here at SPPG. It's a time of reflection, renewing dormant friendships, making resolutions, making lists, and participating in reception after reception. Yes, it's Policy-Making Season!! For those dark months when hibernation seems like an appealing alternative to many, elected officials and anyone who has an interest in an issue swarm around Des Moines-area gathering places and the State Capitol. They... Read more
Written by Joshua DudenNovember 5, 2014 Let me take you back to my first day at SPPG — it was a Monday in January, and it was very, very cold. I walked into the office in a tie and cardigan, dressed more out of fear of fitting in in the midst of a new, presumably-uncomfortable setting. I "checked in" to get to work and was notified of the regular staff meeting that would happen that morning. Shortly after, the staff headed back to the conference room. As every member of the SPPG team took... Read more
Written by Indira Blazevic KaricOctober 7, 2014 For the longest time, a kid picking on another kid on the playground was viewed as "just a part of life"; a sort-of "rite of passage" into adulthood. This is no longer the case and bullying ought not to be accepted as such. Bullying has relatively recently become a more pressing issue in the media and in public discourse. This is not because bullying did not exist before, but because it has been one of those issues with which, for various... Read more
Written by Arlinda McKeenSeptember 22, 2014 What's all the fuss about SPPG turning 30?! That's a loooonnng time in terms of lifespan of a small business. According to Bloomberg, within the first 18 months, 80% of entrepreneurial startups have failed. That makes us at SPPG feel pretty proud, if not lucky. Thanks from all of us at SPPG to those who have been part of our first 30 years. Truly, it's our clients and the issues they bring that fuel our work to manage change and help make life better... Read more
I hope you noticed the banners at the top of our web page.  What do you think? They are snippets of just a few of the dozens of pieces of original art (mostly) that help reflect our office culture. Some of us would let the artwork show through more strongly on our website, much as it surrounds us every day as we work.  This isn't any old art. Almost without exception, the art, sculpture, and other pieces are works of Iowa artists, reflect the issues we work in, and/or come from places we have... Read more