Keynote Speaker

Keynote Address by Katherine McFate,
President & CEO, Center for Effective Government
Read Katherine’s blog posts at

Katherine McFate is the President and CEO of the Center for Effective Government, a nonpartisan policy and advocacy organization whose mission is to build an open accountable government that invests in the common good and advances the priorities of an active, informed citizenry. Among its efforts, the Center for Effective Government advances Americans’ right to know about toxic chemicals in their communities and seeks to ensure that state and federal governments require meaningful disclosure of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing (or natural gas “fracking”). McFate co-chairs the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, which brings together more than 100 public interest organizations working to protect and improve the public health and environmental standards that secure our quality of life.

McFate assumed leadership of the 30-year-old research and advocacy organization in July 2011, OMB Watch. After a strategic planning process with staff and board, the organization revised its mission and changed its name. Its new organizational objectives are: to improve public understanding of the vital role of government and how it works; to ensure our regulatory system has the resources and authority required to protect national health and well-being; to advocate for open government reforms; and to sustain investments in the public structures that undergird the American quality of life. The Center conducts research and policy analysis, develops policy proposals and tools to encourage citizen engagement, and builds strategic partnerships and broad-based coalitions.

At the Ford Foundation, McFate led a grantmaking program on Transparent, Effective and Accountable Government that supported efforts to make government more accountable to the needs and priorities of ordinary people. At her previous job at the Rockefeller Foundation, she directed a research and policy program to strengthen the economic resiliency of American workers in the face of globalization and outsourcing. In both philanthropic positions, she supported networks of state and local organizations working to promote a more equitable, inclusive, and democratic America. With substantive expertise in social policy and strategic communications, McFate directed social policy programs for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, authored numerous reports on income support, employment, and criminal justice policies in the U.S., and co-authored Poverty, Inequality and the Future of Social Policy with William Julius Wilson and Roger Lawson.

McFate has graduate degrees from Yale University and serves on the boards of the Gamaliel organizing network, Public Works, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the Coalition on Human Needs, and V-Day.


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