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2020: Year in Review

President's Message


This is a time of deep crisis for California. Multiple challenges, from the ongoing pandemic to economic and political turmoil to a long-overdue reckoning with racial injustice, have rocked our state. I hope that you are doing well under these difficult circumstances.

The pandemic touched every aspect of life in 2020. Students, agricultural workers, health care practitioners—Californians from all walks of life struggled to adjust to enormous changes in their responsibilities and daily routines. At PPIC, we have been working remotely and holding virtual events for most of the year. We focused on providing objective facts and information during a time of great fear and uncertainty. We explored the pandemic’s effects on those facing the greatest adversity: communities of color disproportionately affected by the crisis, seniors living in areas with sparse medical care, children receiving free or reduced price lunches, essential workers struggling to stay above the poverty line. And we grieved the loss of more than 25,000 of our fellow Californians to this terrible virus.

In the midst of the pandemic, the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers was a shocking illustration of the long history of violence against Black people in this country. It unleashed a wave of pain and rage that has engulfed our communities. Our experts examined the deep inequities that exist in California, the nation’s most diverse state, and that are clearly visible in all areas of our research—from criminal justice to education to health to the environment. This was also a time for PPIC to reaffirm our commitment to diversity and to take action to create a more inclusive organization.

During these unprecedented times, PPIC’s work has never felt more relevant or necessary. In the year ahead, we will pursue a variety of urgent topics, including forest management in a time of increased fire risk, public opinion in the wake of a highly significant election, and strategies for improving—and more equitably distributing—economic opportunity across our state. We will continue to promote constructive, respectful dialogue through public events and engagement with emerging leaders across the state.

We cannot do this work alone. PPIC relies on our board and an extensive network of advisors and other engaged Californians to ensure our relevance, expand our reach, and increase our impact. Our colleagues in local, state, and federal government inform our research and put it into practice. We thank our board of directors, statewide leadership council, advisory groups, and members of the business and nonprofit communities for their guidance and for helping us understand the policy landscape by sharing their knowledge.

Thank you also to the individuals and organizations providing PPIC with financial support. Your generous contributions allowed us to innovate and adapt to meet the needs of this moment. This 2020 Year in Review highlights some of those activities and accomplishments.

In closing, I want to share my hopes and wishes for a better future for Californians as we look forward to 2021. We will be working for it. Please continue to share your perspectives and suggestions with me and lend your support to our efforts in the crucial year ahead.

Thank you, happy new year, and stay safe and healthy!

Mark Baldassare
President and CEO

By the Numbers

Infographic: Number of visitors to the PPIC website