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Our work is your work—the public work of building the commons.

We help organizations and communities of all types realize their civic mission, or as we call it, their enterprise ideal: their potential to grow and thrive while also tending the common goods and spaces they share with others. This unity of civic and productive effort is the essence of public work.

Public work is not charity. Nor is it “civic engagement” conceived as a discrete initiative or “extra” bonus. Public work is work that builds capacity—your own and that of your fellow citizens—to advance both individual and common interests. It is everybody’s work, and we support it in four major ways.


Consulting for

Civic Capacity

When businesses, non-profits, governments, community organizations, and other institutions understand their work in public terms, both their internal cultures and their surrounding communities can be transformed.


Enlarging Educational Horizons

K-12, vocational, and higher-education institutions occupy a unique place in the social matrix.


Nothing that a democratic society achieves—growth, prosperity, justice, beauty, or freedom—can be preserved or improved upon without our educational institutions. All, therefore, must find ways to meet immediate social and economic needs while also developing civic identities and capacities.


Research for

Public Impact

Each civic enterprise is unique, but each can learn from the work of others.

IPLW scouts and studies models of public work in local communities, as well as government, education, business, and nonprofit sectors.


Organizing for


Our vision is one of “We the People” working out our common lives and destines together. We cannot realize that vision alone. IPLW works to promote and enrich the concept and culture of public work however we can.

Additional Services

Contact us to discuss other services that foster learning, dialogue, and action to foster public work, including:

  • public lectures

  • participatory workshops

  • curriculum design

  • design of organizing processes to embed public work principles in institutions and communities

  • design and facilitation of public deliberations

  • training of public work organizers and facilitators

We need a breakthrough from left versus right in politics...The Public Work approach is perfect for our time because it transcends those stale categories and empowers ordinary citizens to take responsibility for solving problems and building a common life--a democratic, public life.


Bill Doherty, Ph.D.

Director, Citizen Professional Center, University of Minnesota

Co-Founder, Braver Angels

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