Leading with Our Values

////Leading with Our Values

If you follow our work at CPPP, then you may have had the good fortune to get to know some of our talented and committed staff. From our health care and education experts to our fundraisers, communications experts and finance whizzes, our CPPP staff are our greatest strength. We like to say that our CPPP staff are people who know a lot, and people who care a lot.

To better support the phenomenal people of CPPP, the CPPP staff and management team jointly announced this week the staff’s formation of a union, CPPP United. Reflecting how deeply CPPP values and supports workers, our management team and board of directors are proud to have voluntarily recognized the staff union.

We held a party yesterday to celebrate this historic moment for CPPP, enjoyed a potluck lunch, and gave a champagne toast. I am proud of the CPPP workers who organized this union, and excited to work together as we continue to learn and grow as an organization.

CPPP staff and management celebrating the official recognition of its staff union, CPPP United.

Speaking of our values, our new staff union is very much in line with our core values, which we worked together to update recently. These values reflect who we are and our vision for Texas:

Community: We believe in the power of community and a responsibility to care for one another.

We believe that everyone benefits when more Texans can fulfill their potential. That’s why we support revenue systems that support public education for every Texas student. We advocate for food assistance for hungry families. And we believe that every Texan should be able to go to the doctor when they are sick, without risking the loss of a day’s pay. Here at CPPP, we work together as a community, and strive to support our colleagues so we can all do our best work and support ourselves and our families.

Equity: We pursue fair policies that lead to more equitable outcomes.

We believe that whether a student gets a good public education should not depend on their ZIP code or their background. Historic and current policies have discriminated against people of color, women, immigrants and other disenfranchised Texans, and we have an obligation to address those inequities. We must directly confront current and past inequities to achieve our vision of a Texas where people of all backgrounds can thrive. For that reason, CPPP continues to deepen our commitment to racial equity internally and externally in our work, and to make changes and learn together as we integrate our equity framework throughout the organization’s work and processes.

Grit: We work steadily with passion, conviction, and perseverance. We are unshakable.

Grit sounds like a word invented in Texas. When Rachel Cooper testifies on behalf of hungry Texans in front of hostile lawmakers who don’t share our values, she brings grit and dedication to her work. Dick Lavine and Anne Dunkelberg are still fighting after 25 years for better health coverage and rational tax policies – now that’s grit. I see grit in the persistence and dedication of everyone here at CPPP. It takes Texas grit to build a strong and vibrant organization, and it takes grit to stand strong and keep fighting amid challenging political times in our state and country.

Vision: Our day-to-day work is grounded in a unified, long-term vision for Texas.

We want to make Texas the best state to live in, where people are recognized as the state’s greatest resource. Through the ups and downs of specific bills or legislative sessions, we keep our eyes on that long term vision. As we strengthen public policy, we are powering systemic change across our great state. Internally our strategic plan is focused on strengthening the impact of our advocacy, engaging more Texans in policy change, and expanding equity. The result will be a state where Texans of all backgrounds have a fair opportunity to thrive.

Learning: We foster a culture of learning, evaluation, and knowledge sharing.

We are deeply committed to a culture of learning and growth at CPPP. That means we take advantage of the expertise on our squad through brown bag learning sessions on school finance, the state budget, lobbying skills and more. It means we comb through newly released data sets with wide eyes and an insatiable curiosity. And it means we are on a learning journey to deepen our understanding and to dismantle oppressive systems, white privilege and other barriers to opportunity.

Truth: We tell the unvarnished truth based on well-researched facts and unbiased data.

We don’t shy away from the hard facts, whether it’s in front of a committee at the Capitol or in front of a group of students learning about Texas policy. Lawmakers, their staff, and our partners rely on CPPP for our credibility and expertise, knowing they will get the very best information. Common-sense policy solutions are not constrained to political party lines; we will support any solid policy idea that will improve the lives of every Texan, and we will oppose plans by either party if they don’t go far enough.

Having a unionized workplace will give us another important opportunity to live our values, and to learn together and strengthen our organization so we can achieve our vision for Texas. I know 2020 will be a big year of positive change for CPPP and for Texas, and I look forward to sharing more exciting news soon.

A renowned social justice lawyer, former philanthropy executive, and frequent public speaker and writer, Ann Beeson joined the Center in 2013. She was previously the Executive Director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations, where she promoted human rights, justice, and accountability nationwide. Beeson was the national Associate Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked from 1995-2007. She argued twice before the U.S. Supreme Court, litigated numerous cases around the country, and launched groundbreaking programs to stop the erosion of civil liberties in the name of national security and to protect free speech and privacy on the Internet. Beeson has been recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers by American Lawyer Magazine and the National Law Journal. A proud Texan, Beeson has embraced a wide range of innovative strategies to advance social change. Before joining the Center, she launched a new non-profit to involve the creative sector in social change. In 2012-13, she was a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas, where she co-produced a public media series to inspire more people to get engaged in their communities. She grew up in Dallas, Texas, and received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Texas. Beeson obtained her law degree from Emory University School of Law, and served as law clerk to the Honorable Barefoot Sanders, then chief judge of the Northern District of Texas.