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2020 Monthly Updates & Annual Report

Idaho Policy Institute’s Update reports provide a summary of the organization’s activities and achievements on a monthly basis.

January 2020 is included in the 2019 Annual Report

2020 Annual Report

2020 was a year like no other. Like many, IPI was presented with plentiful challenges, but also a tremendous amount of opportunity, which leads into my optimistic outlook for 2021. Although we bid adieu to our founding director, Greg Hill, and our amazing administrative guru, Tasha Smagula, we welcomed new members to the IPI team, including an undergraduate graphic design student, Melanie Hernandez. In addition, McAllister Hall, a graduate student with IPI, joined the staff as a research associate after graduating in May. Our research in 2020 was more collaborative than past years. IPI was recently awarded its first National Science Foundation grant, a collaborative project with the Peregrine Fund. In addition, research associate Lantz McGinnis-Brown joined the board of Valley Regional Transit and Vanessa Fry now serve on the board of the Red Cross of Greater Idaho. Students had exceptional challenges in 2020. Despite this, IPI’s partners continued to be impressed with the quality of the student work. This past summer, a group of students worked with the Idaho State Bar to examine bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace, the results are being utilized to help inform the practice of law across the state.

Read the 2020 Annual Report
Idaho Policy Institute By the Numbers

2020 Infographic

Idaho Policy Institute (IPI) By the Numbers 2020 describes numerical accomplishments of IPI in 2020. The IPI team consisted of 1 interim director, 5 full-time researchers, 2 part-time research associates, 3 graduate student workers and 4 undergraduate student workers. IPI completed 16 projects in 9 research areas. The projects included 12 projects sponsored by 30 different organizations amounting to $231,250 in sponsored public support. Projects covered topics such as education, property taxes, housing and homelessness, nonprofits, transportation, cluster analysis, public television, census response, and COVI-19 tracking. IPI published 4 interactive dashboards and MPA students completed 7 capstone projects.

IPI engaged with the community by participating in 23 presentations or panel discussions and distributing 12 surveys, collecting a total of 4,464 responses. IPI was also mentioned in the press 67 times and published 9 articles.

Looking forward to 2021, IPI has 13 projects in progress, 11 sponsored by 10 different sponsors.

Read the 2020 Infographic

November 2020

In the November monthly update, IPI reflects on what they are grateful for. This year some of the largest and highest profile projects have been completed and IPI has been able to expand their work.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • Literacy Program Evaluation
  • West Central Mountains Regional Creative District Pilot
  • State of Local Government Survey
  • Econometrics Workshop Series

VIP, the Vertically Integrated Project, brings together students from across disciplines to address affordable housing. They presented on what affordable housing really means on October 19th at the City of Boise’s Neighborhood Interactive.

IPI welcomed two new members, Cathe Scott and Valerie Hayes. They are not new to SPS but they are new to IPI.

Downloadable a printable PDF of the Nov. 2020 newsletter

October 2020

IPI works hard to translate their findings into reports and other platforms that make the information the most actionable. More dynamic reporting is in demand so IPI continues to improve.

Student involvement highlighted their questioning of local option sales tax and its implementation. The students are looking to answer five key questions outlined in the section.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • MEM Needs Assessment
  • Peer Counties Compensation Analysis
  • Census Response Rates

The American Planning Association awarded the Outstanding Plan Award to the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Mountain Home.

Downloadable a printable PDF of the Oct. 2020 newsletter

September 2020

Students in the Public Administration Capstone and Housing Opportunities for All Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) are analyzing many different topics including housing, Covid-19 and local jurisdictions revenue generation.

This month’s project spotlight is the Idaho Public Television attitudinal awareness survey.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • MPA Capstone YMCA Project
  • Housing Opportunities For All VIP Class
  • IDaho Public Education Policy Review
  • Idaho Policy Institute Strategic Planning

For the last year IPI has been reviewing Idaho’s transportation infrastructure and their analysis is being shared with different groups.

Downloadable a printable PDF of the Sept. 2020 newsletter

August 2020

IPI highlights their team and desire to move onto campus. They believe that moving onto campus will help strengthen relationships with colleagues and students. They will be setting up shop in the Environmental Research Building, second floor.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • Literacy Intervention Program Evaluation
  • Idaho Eviction Study
  • State of Local Government Survey

Capstone classes for this summer worked on two client projects. One was with the Idaho State Bar to determine the prevalence of bullying, harassment and discrimination in Idaho law practices. The second client was ADU Simplified and determined how ADUs could become more widespread in the City of Boise.

Downloadable a printable PDF of the Aug. 2020 newsletter

July 2020

Fall semester will be starting soon. IPI will welcome student workers and those in the classroom. Students will be focusing on affordable housing this semester.

The issue’s spotlight project is Idaho’s Transportation Infrastructure. It outlines the amount of money that is needed for preservation and restoration as well as the amount needed for transportation equipment and infrastructure. The report sheds light on how important these systems are and how there needs to be enough money to maintain them.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • Idaho Public Television Attitudinal Awareness Survey
  • Master of Environmental Management Workforce Analysis
  • City of Boise Peer Cities Analysis
Downloadable a printable PDF of the July 2020 newsletter

June 2020

Vanessa Fry has become the interim director as Greg Hall moves to South Korea for a new job opportunity. The team is able to stay connected through the pandemic by Thoughtful Thursday meetings.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • Idaho Public Television Attitudinal Awareness Survey
  • Master of Environmental Management Workforce Analysis

Vanessa Fry advocates for the donation of plasma. She reflects on her experience with Covid-19 and the desire to help after recovering. The information to schedule convalescent plasma is provided for those interested.

The team spotlight for this month’s issue is Tasha Smagula. She is the Administrative Assistant for IPI and supports the team and facilitates team building.

Downloadable a printable PDF of the June 2020 newsletter

May 2020

Greg Hill is stepping down as Director of the Idaho Policy Institute. He will be moving into the role of Chief Administrative Officer and Dean of Faculty at the University of Utah. IPI will be moving their offices to the Environmental Research Building. Dr. Cheong Kim and McAllister Hall both have moved into new positions within IPI.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • City of Boise Mode Shift
  • City of Boise Peer Cities

City of Boise Mode Shift looks at the modes of transportation and looks at other cities best practices.

City of Boise Peer Cities looks at cities with similar demographics.

Downloadable a printable PDF of the May 2020 newsletter

April 2020

Covid-19 does not get in the way of IPI performing meaningful research. New reading is implemented at IPI, having staff take an hour every Thursday afternoon to read and tweet about something unrelated to their research projects.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • New Path Housing Evaluation
  • Charter School Program Evaluation

The issue’s month in review includes:

  • New Path Presentations
  • Strategic Planning
  • 2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase
  • Guinness World Record Holder
  • Workshop on Tableau
  • Fry Family on Idaho Matters
  • Reading Hour
  • Chess Tournament

This issue’s team spotlight is on Gabe Osterhout. Gabe has his master’s degree and enjoys working with the team at IPI.

Downloadable a printable PDF of the April 2020 newsletter

March 2020

Covid-19 has brought with it a “work from home” policy but has not kept IPI from their work. There are 24 projects being worked on this month with only one coming to a close. Not only is IPI doing outside analysis but they are also working on strategic planning internally.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • Transportation Mode Shift
  • Diagnostic Site Visit Research Plan
  • Idaho’s Transportation Infrastructure Funding

The issues month in review includes:

  • Working Remotely
  • Vanessa Fry Featured on Two Housing Panels
  • Survey Elevator Pitch
  • Changes in Boise’s Supportive Housing Development
  • Idaho Press Article on Latino Voting Behavior
  • 2020 Census Response Rates in Idaho
  • Public Service
  • Covid-19 Resources
Downloadable a printable PDF of the March 2020 newsletter

February 2020

Work is being turned in to the Legislature this month and it is a busy time for presentations. Presentations were given on Boise Public Radio and to Boise City Council. Lantz McGinnis-Brown and Gabe Osterhout worked together in creating a census prediction map that will assist the Census Bureau.

The issue also updates several projects including:

  • Peer Cities Analysis
  • Statewide Survey
  • IDHW Program Evaluation
  • State Board of Education

The issue’s month in review includes:

  • A Night at Neckar Coffee
  • Idaho Association of Counties Annual Conference
  • Public Service
  • Big Tent Radio Episode
  • Property Tax Presentations
  • McAllister Hall Defended Her Thesis
  • United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Presentation
Downloadable a printable PDF of the Feb. 2020 newsletter

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