100th Anniversary

The Public Policy Forum is a small, non-partisan and independent non-profit organization that for 100 years has promoted efficient government and conducted influential public policy research that has improved the lives of residents across the Milwaukee region.

The group was founded as the Milwaukee Citizens’ Bureau of Municipal Efficiency on May 26, 1913, by several of the city’s top businessmen. Today, the Forum remains one of the nation’s oldest and continuously operating independent government research groups.

The Forum traces its roots to the national “efficiency bureau” movement of the early 20th century. It still adheres to its original goals: Promoting the use of scientific methods to make government more efficient and publicizing facts about how government is administered.

Starting in 1913 through today, its researchers have issued literally thousands of studies, reports and white papers, and attended hundreds of public governmental meetings – sometimes serving as the sole representative of an indifferent public.

The Forum has studied topics ranging from the very mundane – such as budgeting methods, boiler inspection services and the city’s charter – to the global and far-reaching – such as economic development, school choice and regional cooperation.

Over its 100 years, the Forum helped establish modern budgeting practices in local government, county operation of most parks and the airport, creation of the county executive position, reduction in the number of municipalities, and improved regional cooperation, to name just a few achievements.

As it enters its second century, the Forum is actively expanding its legacy with even more informed analysis, unbiased perspectives and objective policy recommendations to help make government as effective and cost-efficient as possible.