Virtual Learning Series: Polling & How to Get Started

How can we ensure the policy conversations happening in our state reflect the priorities of our communities? 

Join States for the Future and the Center for the Future of Arizona for a discussion on the use of polling to understand the priorities of our states’ residents. Attendees will learn about “The Arizona We Want” poll and how Center for the Future of Arizona has used polling data to engage communities and decision makers around a shared vision for Arizona’s future.

Slides for this session, including key takeaways are now available. A recording of the session content can be viewed using this link.

Dr. Amanda Burke is the Executive Vice President of the Center for the Future of Arizona. Dr. Burke focuses on innovation and systemic change that will advance the priorities of Arizonans and the long-term future success of the state. She is responsible for the organization’s strategy, operations, and program leadership, including CFA’s statewide initiatives in the areas of education, workforce, and civic engagement. Amanda is a Senior Advisor to the States for the Future network.

About Center for the Future of Arizona:
Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for their state. Born from a love for Arizona and a desire to help their state succeed, CFA invests time and resources into the state and its people, including a unique partnership with the Gallup organization to build robust survey research of Arizonans to bring critical issues to public attention, and work with communities and leaders to solve public problems.

CFA offers many resources, such as its Arizona Progress Meter, a web-based tool with interactive data and downloadable charts.

Virtual Learning Series: Using Rankings & Indicators with the Common Sense Institute

Want to learn how you can inspire policy conversations in your state with rankings and reports? Then join us at our January virtual learning opportunity: Using Rankings & Reports to Drive Policy Discussions in Your State.

In this virtual learning session, participants will learn about the process of developing an index that allows us to rank and compare our state’s performance to other states and how these rankings can be used to inspire, facilitate, and frame policy conversations. We will be joined by Chris Brown, VP of Policy & Research at the Common Sense Institute, who will talk about his organization’s  recently released annual Free Enterprise Report and Competitiveness Indices. Chris leads the research efforts of CSI to provide insightful, accurate and actionable information on the implications of public policy issues throughout the state of Colorado.

The Common Sense Institute was founded in 2010 to champion Colorado’s economy and to be an educational resource for Coloradans, providing rigorous research on the impact of policies, initiatives, and laws that ultimately shape their lives. CSI’s mission is to provide Coloradans with the resources they need to make informed decisions about the future of their families and the state by helping to ground policy discussions with sound fiscal and economic research. The Common Sense Institute has since opened offices in Arizona and most recently Iowa and Oregon.

Since 2022, the Colorado Common Sense Institute has published three Free Enterprise Reports, which are designed to inspire positive change in the lives of Coloradans. In this webinar, we’ll hear from Chris how exactly they’ve designed the report to support policy-makers and voters alike, what they’ve learned over time, and how they envision using reports to further their vision for their state.

Registration is now closed. Slides from this webinar (including key takeaways) are now viewable here and a recording of the session is accessible here.

Virtual Learning Series: Data Deep Dive – Education

What north star indicators are states using to drive collective action toward improving education outcomes?

How are non-partisan organizations using data to engage in education policy conversations?

How can the States for the Future Data Platform help you get started with exploring education data in your state?

Learn how to bring data into education policy conversations in States for the Future’s second virtual learning session, an Education Data Deep Dive. This will be an opportunity to discuss how to navigate education policy issues in your state alongside other nonpartisan organizations.

MyFutureNC’s Cecilia Holden will discuss their success using North Star metrics to drive action in North Carolina and Dr. Holly Heard of Texas2036 will highlight how States for the Future’s education indicators can provide the data you need to make an impact in your state.

This will be an interactive discussion, so please come with your own questions and experiences to share with the rest of the States for the Future network.

Registration is now closed. Slides (including key takeaways) are viewable here and a recording is accessible here.

Virtual Learning Series: Engaging Stakeholders to Build the Washington Vitals

How can you use data to drive ongoing conversations about your community’s future?

The Washington Vitals offer the most current data at the state and community levels to track progress toward Washington State’s desired future. Together with business and community partners, AWB Institute made Washington’s data come to life through good design and ongoing collaboration around the data.

Join Erika Borg of the AWB Institute to learn more about Washington’s approach and discuss efforts in your own state.

Registration is now closed. Slides (including key takeaways) are viewable here.


Erika Borg has nearly 20 years experience working within philanthropic, nonprofit and corporate circles to improve the lives of young people.  In 2018 she started Civic Allies Consulting which supports chambers of commerce, nonprofits and philanthropy in drawing up strategy, programmatic design and identifying funding.  

Erika also serves as the Senior Advisor to AWB Institute, a 501c3 affiliated with the Washington State Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to the long-term economic success of all Washingtonians.  AWB Institute uses data and long-term economic trends to think through some of the biggest challenges facing Washington.  The Institute’s flagship project is Washington in the Making and “The Vitals”.  Erika has a Masters of Public Administration from University of Southern California and a Bachelors Degree in English from University of California, Davis. 

Planning an Organization-to-Organization Knowledge Sharing Session

We don’t know what we don’t know 

When we’re heads down in the day-to-day work of our own organizations, it can be easy to lose sight of new ways of thinking or different approaches to solving similar problems. One of the greatest benefits of participating in a Network is to learn through collaboration and knowledge sharing with other organizations that have similar missions. 

Leveraging cross-state collaboration to drive collective change

Collaboration among organizations working in different states and contexts can be a powerful force toward developing solutions at a national level, and can also help us advance our own local efforts. Systemic challenges are not bound by state borders, and they demand solutions that are enriched by a diversity of viewpoints and experiences. By collectively pooling expertise and ideas, we can craft strategies to better address systemic challenges. Through cross-state collaboration and knowledge sharing, organizations can tap into a broader range of insights and solutions, build connections, and learn from each other’s journeys to drive collective change.

What do you want to know right now that will help you do your job better?

Have you ever asked questions like:

  • I really like the report that organization just released. I wonder what it took to produce it?
  • What’s the secret behind organization X’s success?
  • We share a lot in common with that organization. I wonder if we could partner together on an upcoming research effort.?
  • How can I improve my nonprofit’s operations, funding, and governance?

However broad or specific your questions are,others are thinking the same thing.

Enter Shop Talk: organization-to-organization knowledge sharing sessions for organizational acceleration

Organization-to-organization (org-to-org) knowledge sharing sessions (org-to-org) facilitate candid discussions driven by curiosity. They nurture a culture of learning, collaboration, and empathy with one another, with the aim to develop solutions that lead to better outcomes for individual states, and ultimately, our nation as a whole.

Unleashing success through collaboration

Collaboration and knowledge sharing fuel innovation in every organization. Below are real stories attesting to the power of collaboration. 

Organizations involved in States for the Future have been collaborating and learning from one another formally and informally from the start. Whether it’s two organizations coming together for a virtual summit to share about their respective work, or a group of individuals from many organizations gathering to discuss a specific topic, opportunities for cross-pollination and collective innovation is one way States for the Future creates value.

Texas 2036 learned of the important work that Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) has led in collaboration with Gallup on the Arizona We Want poll. CFA was similarly curious about how Texas 2036 developed its legislative agenda and strategic plan and policy priorities.. A knowledge sharing session ensued with key functional leads from the communications, data, strategy, and programming arms of both organizations participating. 

“We regularly conduct public opinion polling of Texas voters to understand their priorities and concerns. The Center for the Future of Arizona “The Arizona We Want” project captured our attention given the significant scale, scope, and depth of their efforts to understand their fellow residents values, attitudes, and expectations. We were also impressed by how they used the results to identify and champion areas of consensus. . Seeing what CFA achieved was eye-opening, and spurred our thinking on ways to approach our own activities with fresh perspectives.”

Justin Coppedge, Texas 2036, Texas state

Other organizations that are part of States for the Future had one-on-one meetings to learn more about one another’s data products, indicator frameworks, and operations.

“We have leveraged so much from the January meeting – our conversations with the teams from Colorado and Arizona have been incredibly impactful. It’s valuable having leaders across states talk about the value of the Network and it lends credibility to our work by being a part of this Network.” 

Erika Borg, AWB Institute, Washington state

Ready for meaningful conversation?

Explore our step-by-step guide to set up your own org-to-org knowledge sharing session. Don’t know how to begin? There are plenty of fish in the sea, and we can help to get you started! If you have questions, would like to get connected to others on a particular topic, or would like to have an initial conversation with us, reach out to us at

Together, let’s leverage the power of collaboration and knowledge sharing to be force multipliers for our individual work and build a more sustainable future across the nation.

How we came to be

In January 2023, a group of like-minded organizations and thinkers from across the nation gathered in Dallas, Texas to explore the creation of a multi-state network that would collaborate to advance the use of data and research to inform state policy. The goal of the convening was to build shared knowledge of efforts already underway in the participating states and to conceptualize how a network might contribute value to individual and collective work.

In March 2023, a volunteer working group launched with the purpose of developing the operating model and governance structure for what would become States for the Future. This working group was composed of attendees from the January convening and collaborated monthly to design and develop a shared vision for the Network’s values and activities. 

Starting the Fall of 2023, States for the Future continues this journey, inviting organizations from across the nation to gather, learn from one another, and collectively build our capacity to use data and research to drive state policy. 

We strive to be a community garage that collectively crafts solutions

We envision States for the Future as a “Community Garage” for data-driven policy, where members with varying levels of experience, capacity, and interest come together around their common goals and have a shared space for learning, collaboration, and resource sharing. 

  • Learning: Offer virtual and in-person learning opportunities like an annual convening, webinars, and discussion series to learn from one another and other experts.
  • Collaboration: Foster a network of organizations to work together to strengthen each other’s efforts by sharing information, resources, and expertise. Through collaboration, our network is a force multiplier for our work in our individual states.
  • Resource Sharing: Develop and contribute to our shared resources and tools to empower members in their respective domains. Members can leverage the Network’s Data Platform to explore and visualize indicators across states and policy areas.

Empowering states for a resilient future: uniting data, research, and action

As labs of democracy, states are leading the way in creating policies that impact the lives of their citizens and respond to a rapidly changing world. States for the Future believes that by using trusted data and research to inform policymaking, our individual states can develop solutions that lead to better outcomes for our residents, and ultimately our nation as a whole. By working together, we aim to learn from one another, build on each other’s work, and drive greater demand for evidence-based policymaking. Together, we leverage the power of data and research in policy-making to create sustainable futures.

Join us on our journey

We invite you to explore our website and data platform and keep an eye out for monthly opportunities to gather virtually and hear from one another. States for the Future is also planning an in-person convening in early 2024 with details to be released soon.

Have questions or want to get involved? Contact us at