What are the Goals of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan?

CRC seeks to bring about government in Michigan that is more efficient, more accountable, and more equitable.

Does CRC Lobby?

No. CRC does not lobby, support or oppose candidates for public office, or take positions on ballot issues.

If CRC Doesn’t Lobby, How Does It Achieve Its Goals?

CRC believes that better information leads to better decisions, which, in turn, leads to better government. Through the dissemination of factual, nonpartisan research, CRC points out problems and alternatives for dealing with those problems. These analyses form the basis for the formation of sound public policy.

What is the Most Important Attribute of CRC?

Credibility. CRC is widely recognized as the most credible public policy research organization in Michigan. Credibility is earned by adherence to three basic principles: 1) Accuracy; 2) Objectivity; and 3) Independence.

How is CRC Governed?

CRC governance begins with the Board of Trustees, which consists of up to 75 members and which constitutes the legal membership of the nonprofit corporation. Each year at the annual meeting, the trustees elect a Board of Directors, which may have up to 27 members. The Board of Directors is the active policy-making body of the Research Council.

What is the Role of the Board of Directors?

The CRC Board of Directors has five functions: 1) Overall policy development and oversight; 2) Approval of significant research projects; 3) Approval of the annual budget; 4) Assuring financial support adequate to support the research program; 5) Selection of the CRC president.

How Large is the CRC Staff?

CRC has a staff of eight; six in its headquarters office in Livonia and two in Lansing. There is usually at least one graduate student intern, as well.

How are CRC Research Projects Generated?

There are three ways that a project can be on the CRC research agenda. 1) Recurring projects. Certain projects are done on a continuing basis. These include updating of CRC’s popular Outline of the Michigan Tax System; monitoring of the State of Michigan budget; and analysis of all statewide ballot issues. 2) Outside requests. Requests for projects come from many sources: Associations, government agencies, elected officials, foundations, and business and labor. 3) Internally generated projects. CRC prides itself on its understanding of what is important in state and local government and will frequently place projects on the agenda.

What Criteria are Used in Choosing Among Proposed Projects?

Any proposed project is scrutinized by the staff and the Board of Directors to assure that it meets certain criteria. The project must be: 1) within the scope of the mission of CRC; 2) of general public interest; 3) a significant issue; 4) amenable to factual research; 5) capable of being performed within existing CRC resources or reasonably available outside resources; and 6) of a nature that will not compromise the independence or credibility of CRC.

What is the Involvement of the CRC Board in the Research Program?

Any project that results in a significant allocation of CRC resources must receive approval by the CRC Board of Directors. Once approval is granted, it becomes the responsibility of the staff to produce analysis that meets CRC standards. The Board does not participate in the conduct of the research, although Board members with particular expertise may be consulted during the conduct of the project.

How are CRC Research Results Disseminated?

At one time, all CRC publications were printed and distributed by mail, and that still happens with a few CRC reports. Currently, however, the primary medium for distributing CRC research results is our website, www.crcmich.org. The Internet is a much more powerful medium, permitting CRC to release reports in a more timely fashion, include large data bases that would be cumbersome and expensive to print, and include links to other sources of information on a given subject.

CRC also participates in numerous public presentations, either initiated by CRC or by other organizations. CRC staff average 1-2 presentations per week. These occur all over the State of Michigan.

Finally, CRC enjoys good relations with the media, especially the press. Press coverage is important in informing citizens and policy makers of the work of the Council.

Does CRC Charge for Access to Its Publications?

No. There is an educational aspect to the CRC mission, which would be compromised by limiting access to the results of its research. All CRC publications going back to 1990 are available on the CRC website. Some reports from earlier years are also available online because each time a request is received for an older report, it is scanned into the website.

How is CRC Supported?

CRC is supported 1) by the charitable contributions of business and industry, foundations, and private citizens to its annual unrestricted operations; 2) special project funding, normally financed by foundation grants; 3) earnings from CRC investments.

Are Contributions to CRC Tax-Deductible?

Yes. Contributions to CRC are deductible from federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.