Public, Society Benefit

Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama

  • Birmingham, AL
  • http://parca.samford.edu

Mission Statement

To provide objective, nonpartisan information that will lead to the improvement of state and local government in Alabama.

 Where "improvement" is defined as:


Increased capacity to make sound and reasonable decisions


Delivery of high-quality services at reasonable cost

Our "customers" are those who can profit from the information we provide:


 Public officials and agency leadership at the state and local levels


 Business, professional, and civic leadership of the state


 Citizens who want to be informed about their government

Main Programs

  1. SMART Planning
  2. Improving School Performance
  3. Improving State Government
  4. PARCA Annual Meeting & Survey
  5. Civic Education
  6. PARCA Evaluations
Service Areas

Self-reported

Alabama

PARCA serves citizens and public officials throughout the the State of Alabama.

ruling year

1988

Executive Director

Self-reported

Mr. Jim Williams

Research Coordinator

Self-reported

Joe Adams Ph.D.

Keywords

Self-reported

Alabama, public affairs, government, research

Notes from the Nonprofit

PARCA also assists in the evaluation of programs provided by nonprofits and foundations that seek to improve the educational outcomes and economic development of the state in coordination with government, to support public-private partnerships where such endeavors would improve the outcomes of government programs. These include the Summer Adventures in Learning program designed to reduce 'summer loss' for students in the Birmingham area, Teach for America, Red Mountain Park, and the Birmingham School's Aspire program for school administrators.

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EIN

63-0972435

 Number

8232732145

Physical Address

800 Lakeshore Drive

Birmingham, AL 35229

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Government and Public Administration (W20)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (B05)

Management & Technical Assistance (S02)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Our research is quoted often by the media and has achieved improvements as PARCA’s founders envisioned. To cite two examples: PARCA's research laid the foundation for Alabama’s "SMART Governing" initiative, and with private and public support PARCA now serves as the lead consultant in its development. With PARCA support, purchasing consortia have been created and developed among local governments in the Huntsville-Decatur, Birmingham, Anniston, and Mobile areas; and another is in the process of forming. These consortia improve procurement practices and save taxpayer dollars.

 

PARCA has also helped to establish SMART budgeting for state and local governments.  SMART means:

Specific results
Measureable key goals
Accountable to stakeholders
Responsive to customers
Transparent to everyone

PARCA has also developed a color-coded system for analyzing student test scores and has engaged severl Alabama school systems in using test scores to benchmark and improve their performance (see http://parca.samford.edu/education/SystemsTestScores/Systems.html(http://parca.samford.edu/education/SystemsTestScores/Systems.html) ).

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

SMART Planning

The purpose of SMART planning is to develop agency-specific plans that integrate performance management with financial and human resources.  The SMART acronym stands for:

Specific results
Measureable key goals
Accountable to stakeholders
Responsive to customers
Transparent to everyone

Category

Public, Society Benefit

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

$50,000.00

Program 2

Improving School Performance

PARCA has developed a "Think Green" approach in collaboration with "Yes We Can" several school systems and partner agencies (see website at http://parca.samford.edu/education/SystemsTestScores/Systems.html(http://parca.samford.edu/education/SystemsTestScores/Systems.html) ).

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$50,000.00

Program 3

Improving State Government

Governor Bentley signed Executive Order Number Four creating the Alabama Commission on Improving State Government on January 25, 2011. The duty of the Commission is to work with the Legislature and the Governor’s Policy Office to analyze and explore new ways to reduce government spending with minimal or no reduction to essential state services.

Category

Public, Society Benefit

Population(s) Served

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

$50,000.00

Program 4

PARCA Annual Meeting & Survey

Each year, PARCA hosts an annual meeting in Birmingham.  In recent years, PARCA has conducted citizen surveys on current issues, using the Survey Research Center at Samford University.  The results of the survey are presented at the meeting for the purpose of soliciting reactions and input from public officials.

Category

Public, Society Benefit

Population(s) Served

Adults

Budget

$15,000.00

Program 5

Civic Education

PARCA publishes the PARCA Quarterly, and provides guest lectures to civic organizations, industry association conferences, and university classes on matters pertaining to government finances, operations, and performance.  Many of these engagements pertain to school finance and performance.   PARCA also serves as the Secretariat for the Governmental Research Association.  These activities take staff to locations across Alabama.

Category

Public, Society Benefit

Population(s) Served

Adults

Budget

$150,000.00

Program 6

PARCA Evaluations

Evaluation services include test score analysis for public schools and foundations; usage and benefit analysis for public services, and third-party reviews of program effectiveness.

Category

K-12 (5-19 years)

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Young Adults (20-25 years) -- currently not in use

Budget

$100,000.00

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    To inform Alabama residents about their government and its performance.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Public analyses of government finances and performance for state and local units of government in Alabama.

    Assist Alabama state and local governments in adopting and implementing performance-based budget and management systems as indicated by measures of output, impact, efficiency, and quality.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    PARCA maintains a website to provide reports and information and has access to office space, library, and administrative support from Samford University, as well as interns, external subject matter experts, programming and technical expertise. PARCA utilizes Samford's human resources department to staff surveys and paid internships to generate maps and other information products. PARCA staff are experienced researchers with government experience and advanced training in statistics and government finance. PARCA has also developed software and database tools that allow staff to produce analyses of school finances, administrative procedures, state and local governments, as well as a database of local legislation..
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Indicators of success include:
    1. Adoption of recommendations for improving government
    2. Use of PARCA products by policy makers, public administrators, and the media.
    3. Professional recognition of PARCA's work by peer organizations.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Areas of progress include:
    1. The use of PARCA test score analyses by school systems and education foundations to improve performance in Dothan and Mobile.
    2. The use of SMART budgeting and financial analyses by officials in state government, Jefferson County, the City of Montgomery, the City of Decatur, the City of Mobile, and Montgomery County.
    3. The use of PARCA evaluations by state agencies and foundations to improve public education and public services.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Alabama

PARCA serves citizens and public officials throughout the the State of Alabama.

Funding Needs

PARCA needs to provide assistance to more school systems in low-performing areas.  Support for on-site engagement with school faculties and administrators is needed.

External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS RESEARCH COUNCIL OF ALABAMA
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Mr. Jim Williams

Research Coordinator

Joe Adams Ph.D.

BIO

Under Jim's direction, the PARCA staff has won nine national awards for research excellence.

Jim has provided research support for a number of statewide commissions on tax reform, education reform, and economic development.  He was instrumental in the initiation of the state's “SMART Governing” initiative and worked with the Finance Department thereafter to implement the program.  In addition, he has worked with various state agencies on their planning structures and processes. 

PARCA also works with local governments seeking improvements. Currently the staff is working with the cities of Montgomery, Mobile, and Decatur to implement its “Smart Budgeting” methodology, which incorporates techniques of performance management.  PARCA analyzes school performance and publishes statewide test results annually.  Using these data, the staff consults with local school systems and local education foundations.  In recent months, presentations have been made in Montgomery, Birmingham, Dothan, Mobile, and Huntsville.

Before coming to Alabama in 1988, Jim worked for 16 years in nonprofit governmental research agencies located in Texas and Michigan.  He is a past president of the Governmental Research Association of the United States, a professional organization of individuals in the governmental research field.  He is a native of Mineola, Texas, and holds a bachelor's degree from Baylor University and a master's degree from the University of Michigan, both in political science.

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"PARCA is a good government think tank, not a policy think tank devoted to a particular point of view. We believe that government ought to operate in a businesslike manner and provide taxpayers with the best possible return on their investment of tax dollars. We believe that taxes ought to be balanced, fair, and adequate to the task. We believe that the constitution ought to be a blueprint for a functional and efficient system of government. We believe that our tax dollars ought to be spent in ways that provide the best possible services for the people of Alabama, now and for the long-term, and that a representative system of government is the best method of making such policy choices. We believe that objective research considering all reasonable options is the best way to apply these general principles in given circumstances. Our fundamental goal is to improve state and local government in Alabama for the benefit of all its people."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Neal Wade

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?