GRA Award Archives

A history of excellence in research

Governmental Research Association awards recognize exceptional research and educational efforts regarding state, regional and local governmental issues performed by the association’s members.

The awards competition, judged by fellow GRA members, offers staff of member organizations and individual members the chance to showcase their work and learn from their peers, with the goal of enhancing the quality of the GRA’s contribution to governmental research.

Award categories:

  • Frederick P. Gruenberg Award, recognizing lifetimes of service to research organizations.
  • Research and Education Awards, celebrating research,  policy achievements, and activities to educate the public. 
  • Communications, recognizing extraordinary graphic, audiovisual and written work.

2023

Frederick P. Gruenberg Award Winner

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Laurence J. Msall

Throughout his time as President of the Civic Federation over twenty years, Laurence made an immeasurable contribution to the policy discourse on good governance and responsible budgeting in Chicago and the State of Illinois. He was deeply respected by government leaders on both sides of the aisle and served as an unwavering voice for sustainable fiscal practices. He transformed the Civic Federation into a leading voice for
fiscal responsibility and government accountability and increased the Civic Federation’s
profile and reputation as a trusted resource for government leaders, as well as a go-to source for the news media on Chicago and Illinois tax and budget issues.

Laurence supported the mission of the GRA and ensured that the Civic Federation served as a committed and involved member, empowering his staff to dedicate resources, time and expertise to the organization. He played an important role in support of the GRA and member institutions behind the scenes. He also provided guidance to other executive directors of GRA organizations. Laurence was the epitome of GRA values as an advocate for good government and nonpartisanship in evaluating government performance.

Laurence’s untimely passing in February 2023 marks the loss of a dedicated leader. This award is presented posthumously to honor Laurence's legacy and contributions to the field of government research.

Communications Category

Digital Communication
Wisconsin Policy Forum, Data Interactive: Conservation Funding in Wisconsin
Best Short-Form Writing
The Sycamore Institute, “Make court fees and fines more consistent and transparent” | Opinion

Outstanding Policy Achievement Award

Local/Regional Government Issue
Worcester Regional Research Bureau, All Aboard: Financing a Fare-Free WRTA and Resurging Regional Ridership: An Analysis of Mobility Flows, Riders, and Ridership in the WRTA Region
State Government Issue
Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, Statewide Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption

Most Distinguished Research Award

Local Government Issue
Bureau of Governmental Research, Keys to the Jail: How New Orleans Can Sustain Jail Reforms through Better Governance

Most Effective Education Awards

State Government Issue
Citizens Research Council of Michigan, Analyses of 2022 Statewide Ballot Questions
Regional/Multi-Jurisdictional Issue
The Sycamore Institute, K-12 Education Funding in Tennessee
Local Government Issue
Bureau of Governmental Research, Managing the Windfall: Tracking the City of New Orleans’ Use of Federal Pandemic Relief Funds

2022

Frederick P. Gruenberg Award Winner

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Dr. Kent Gardner

Recognized for his decades of service to New York through his leadership and work at the Center for Governmental Research, and for his work in leadership roles at the GRA.

Communications Category

Best Data Visualization
Wisconsin Policy Forum, Municipal Data Tool
Best Short-Form Writing
The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Inside Philadelphia’s Imminent Construction Boom
Best Video
Best Original Commentary

Outstanding Policy Achievement Award

Local Government Issue
Wisconsin Policy Forum, Laying the Foundation
Local Government Issue (Certificate of Merit)

Most Distinguished Research Award

Local Government Issue (Certificate of Merit)
Bureau of Governmental Research, On the Ballot 2021-22 Report Series and Analytical Framework (Report 1, Report 2)

Most Effective Education Awards

State Government Issue
Regional/Multi-Jurisdictional Government Issue
Local Government Issue
Utah Foundation, Middle Housing Study

2021

Frederick P. Gruenberg Award Winner

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Janet Howard

Recognized with lifetime achievement as the past President and CEO of the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Communications Category

Best Data Visualization
Utah Foundation, Redistricting in Utah
Best Short-Form Writing
Utah Foundation, Utah’s Housing Crisis
Best Short Video
Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, How the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan is Formed
Best Original Commentary
Best Short-Form Writing Certificates of Merit
Best Original Commentary Certificates of Merit

Outstanding Policy Achievement Award

Most Distinguished Research Award

Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana Constitutional Reform, Part 1 and Part 2
Utah Foundation, Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Water Funding

Most Effective Education Awards

Wisconsin Policy Forum, Milwaukee, WI: Teacher Diversity Series, Part 1 and Part 2

Best COVID-19 Response

Wisconsin Policy Forum, Milwaukee, WI and Bureau of Governmental Research, New Orleans, LA
Certificate of Merit
Utah Foundation, Salt Lake City, UT

2020: Due to COVID-19, no awards were granted this year.

2019

Frederick P. Gruenberg Award Winner

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Samuel R. Tyler

Recognized with lifetime achievement for his 46 years of service to Boston through his leadership and work at the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.

Outstanding Policy Achievement Award

Bureau of Governmental Research (New Orleans): Improving a Tax Proposal for Jefferson Parish Public Schools
Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (Nashville): Refining Tennessee's Criminal Statutes of Limitations
Certificate of Merit
Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (Nashville): Good Neighbor Pledge

Most Distinguished Research Award

Bureau of Governmental Research (New Orleans) The Lost Penny: An Analysis of the Orleans Parish Hotel Tax Structure

Most Effective Education Awards

Citizens Research Council of Michigan (Livonia): Statewide Ballot Analyses 2018 

2018

Frederick P. Gruenberg Award Winner

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Ran Coble

Ran Coble is President Emeritus of the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. From 1981 to 2014, Ran served as Executive Director of the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation dedicated to strengthening public policy through nonpartisan research, education, and community engagement.

Outstanding Policy Achievement Award

Bureau of Governmental Research (New Orleans): Reducing the Cost of Tomorrow
Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (Nashville): Refining Tennessee's Criminal Statutes of Limitations
Certificate of Merit
Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (Nashville): Good Neighbor Pledge

Most Distinguished Research Award

Utah Foundation (Salt Lake City): Utah Health Care Cost Series
Bureau of Governmental Research (New Orleans): Paying for Streets: Options for Funding Road Maintenance in New Orleans
Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (Birmingham): Together We Can: Charting a Course to Cooperation for Greater Birmingham
Certificate of Merit
Center for Governmental Research (Rochester, NY): Essex County (NY) EMS Strategic Plan

Most Effective Education Awards

Utah Foundation (Salt Lake City): Tax Policy Series
Public Policy Forum (Milwaukee): On the Money

2017

Frederick P. Gruenberg Award Winner

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Stephen J. Hershey Kroes

Recognition of his outstanding contribution to governmental research over three decades, most recently through his leadership of Utah Foundation.

Outstanding Policy Achievement Award

Bureau of Governmental Research, New Orleans, LA: New Orleans Firefighter Pension Reform
Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Nashville, TN: Municipal Boundaries in Tennessee: Annexation and Growth Planning Policies After Public Chapter 707

Most Distinguished Research Award

Bureau of Governmental Research, New Orleans, LA: Beneath the Surface: A Primer on Stormwater Fees in New Orleans
Utah Foundation, Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Priorities Project
Certificate of Merit
Washington Research Council, Seattle, WA: The Growth Management Act at 25 Years

Most Effective Education Awards

Louisiana Association of Business and Industry: Louisiana Business Tax Policy: Research, Awareness, and Advocacy
Public Policy Forum, Milwaukee, WI: The Last Mile: Connecting Workers to Places of Employment
Certificate of Merit
Citizens Research Council of Michigan, Detroit, MI: Detroit Public Schools' Legacy Costs and Indebtedness

2016

Frederick P. Gruenberg Award Winner

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James Williams

Executive Director of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) from its founding in 1988 until his retirement in 2015, James Williams led PARCA’s study of state and local government and public education, winning nine national awards for research excellence.

Outstanding Policy Achievement Award

Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, Birmingham, AL: Alabama Education Studies
Bureau of Governmental Research, New Orleans, LA: Safeguarding School Funding in New Orleans

Most Distinguished Research Award

Certificate of Merit
Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University, Denver, CO: Measuring the Impact of Tax and Expenditure Limits on Public School Finance in Colorado

Most Effective Education Awards

EducationNC, Raleigh, NC: EdNC's Architecture of Participation