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CRC Column

The right to criticize government is also an obligation to know what you are talking about. 
-Lent Upson, 1st Executive Director of CRC  

Welcome to the state's oldest and regarded as the most respected public policy research organization.

  • Founded in 1916
  • Established to bring about sound governmental policy through factual research
  • Respected for independent, nonpartisan approach
  • Noted for factual, objective issue analysis
  • Credibility to address controversial issues
  • Extensive institutional knowledge accumulated in virtually every facet of government
  • Supported by charitable contributions of Michigan businesses, foundations, and individuals

About the Citizens Research Council ...

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is a privately funded, not-for-profit public affairs research organization, founded in 1916. For over 80 years, the objective of CRC has been to provide factual, unbiased, independent information on significant issues concerning state and local government organization and finance. CRC believes that the use of this information by policymakers will lead to sound, rational public policy formation in Michigan.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is noted for the accuracy and objectivity of its research. Over the years, CRC has made significant contributions to the ongoing debate over the appropriate role of government and has gained vast experience in virtually every facet of state and local government.

CRC does not lobby, support or oppose candidates for public office, or take positions on ballot issues. Instead, CRC relies on the presentation of its research findings to bring about sound public policy on state and local issues. The hallmark of CRC is timely, reliable information researched in an independent, nonpartisan manner. As a result of the credibility earned by CRC, it is often the only organization that can address controversial issues in an objective fashion.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is supported primarily by the charitable contributions from businesses, foundations, and individuals. It is a tax exempt organization and contributions are tax deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. CRC has 7 full-time staff members and operates two offices -- one in Livonia and the other in Lansing.

The Mission of the Citizens Research Council ...

The goal of CRC is to secure good government for the citizens of Michigan -- government that is representative of and responsible and accountable to the public; effective in carrying out its responsibilities and providing services; and efficient in the use of its resources. Research Council activities focus on four areas:

  1. Monitoring trends in state and local finances;
  2. Analyzing the structure and organization of government;
  3. Conducting in-depth studies of major public policy issues; and
  4. Assisting public officials and concerned citizens to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability in governmental operations.

Core Values of the Citizens Research Council ...

The single most distinguishing attribute of the work of the Citizens Research Council CRC is credibility. Credibility is achieved and maintained over time by adherence to three principles: accuracy, objectivity and independence.

Accuracy. Research Council staff strive to assure that every fact and every statement in a CRC report is accurate and reliable in every respect. It is recognized that one small error in an otherwise well-researched report can cast doubt on the entire report and that a succession of such errors can destroy the credibility of the organization.

Objectivity. Although many of the analyses have political overtones, CRC analyses are noted for their balanced, unbiased approach to such issues. The Citizens Research Council attempts to analyze and reflect as many responsible points-of-view as possible in the conduct and presentation of its research results.

Independence. The Citizens Research Council attempts to define and represent the broader public interest in any given issue. It was not established to represent any special interest or set of special interests. Its value derives in large measure from its independent stance on issues of public importance.

Over the years, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan has adhered to these three principles and has developed and maintained a high degree of credibility with both public officials and citizens. In fact, it is only by following these principles that the Citizens Research Council has become the most respected voice on state and local governmental organization and finance in Michigan.

The People of the Citizens Research Council ...

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan is an organization of Michigan citizens with a 75-member Board of Trustees, which comprises the membership of the nonprofit corporation. The Board of Trustees annually elects a Board of Directors of up to 27 members, which is the active policy-making body of the organization. The Board of Directors adopts policies, selects the President, establishes the research agenda, approves the budget, and exercises general oversight.

The Research Council has a full-time staff, under the supervision of the President, which is responsible for carrying out the research, public information, and educational activities.

The Citizens Research Council offers internships to undergraduate Political Science students (call 734/542-8001 or inquire at and a fellowship to graduate students in Public Administration or its equivalent in fields such as Political Science, Public Policy, or Economics (Download application, call 734/542-8001, or inquire at

How the Citizens Research Council Works ...

Through its research and publications, the Citizens Research Council provides an independent, nonpartisan, and objective source of factual information on state and local public policy issues. It identifies problems, prepares the factual information necessary to define and understand those problems, and develops and evaluates alternative solutions.

Research is conducted in cooperation with public officials, often with the assistance of individuals from the private sector and universities. Over the years, the Research Council has established excellent working relationships with a wide variety of public officials, civic agencies, and citizen groups.

In order to encourage public understanding and discussion of state and local government issues, the results of all Citizens Research Council projects are available to the public.

Areas of CRC State And Local Government Expertise

CRC has researched virtually every aspect of state and local government including:

  • State and Local Tax Policy Issues
  • State/Local Government Relationships
  • Statewide and Local Ballot Issues
  • Education Governance
  • Governmental Structure & Organization
  • State Budget Process and Issues
  • Highway Administration & Finance
  • Public Education
  • Local Governmental Consolidation and Cooperation
  • Public Health
  • Medicaid
  • Health Care Finance
  • Mental Health and Other Healthcare Issues
  • Higher Education
  • Corrections

Users of CRC Research ...

The primary user groups for the research products of CRC include:

  • Business Leaders
  • Government Officials
  • Media
  • Trade Associations
  • Policymakers
  • Colleges and Universities




Last Updated April 3, 2014