It all started with a vision—and a vacation.
FGA President and CEO Tarren Bragdon had a vision for tangible, nationwide change. Based on his years of public service as a member of the Maine Legislature and involvement with state-based think tanks, Bragdon knew that nationwide change would begin in the states. After a family vacation (or two) to Southwest Florida, he saw an opportunity. An opportunity to make a big impact in an even bigger state. His vision carried his family from Maine to Florida, where, with the help of several policy-minded friends and supporters, the Foundation for Government Accountability was born.
Just six years since its founding, the Foundation for Government Accountability has grown into one of the nation’s leading public policy organizations, passing reforms in 34 states that seek to free individuals from the trap of government dependence and to let them experience the power of work.
Though FGA was originally founded with a sole focus on reform in Florida, Bragdon quickly realized that the problems facing Floridians were the same problems facing citizens in every other state: increasingly unaffordable health care costs. Broken state budgets. Families trapped on welfare, unable to free themselves from government dependency.
Rather than utilize the one-size fits all solutions that policymakers were offering for these problems plaguing the nation, FGA saw another way—reducing government dependency through the power of work.
By adapting proven reforms to a multistate model, FGA was able to equip states with best-practice policies that would improve the lives of citizens and strengthen communities across the nation.
And the idea worked.
Over the past six years, FGA has helped 4.5 million people in 34 states, but has never lost sight of its goal: to give individuals the opportunity to experience the freedom of work.
In some states, this means stopping dysfunctional welfare that traps people in dependency. In others, it means working to remove barriers for people who want to work. But it always means using work to lift people out of dependency, to restore dignity and self-sufficiency, and to empower them to take control of their futures.
We’re driven by the proven results of the power of work. By the individuals whose lives have changed after being freed from the welfare trap. By the future generations who will succeed as a result of escaping the cycle of dependency.
Safe Families Update:
In 2015, following a successful partnership with Safe Families for Children, FGA’s President and CEO Tarren Bragdon launched FlourishNow, a private sister charity focused on building work, marriage, and the family by equipping and supporting people to overcome poverty, life crises, and dependency to achieve success and stability. The Safe Families law is currently helping families in 15 states, with twelve of those as a direct result of FGA’s leadership and efforts, and is now a key piece of FlourishNow’s mission to empower individuals through work and healthy relationships.