About Us

The Northeast-Midwest Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research, education, and policy organization based in the nation’s capital.  Our mission is to promote economic vitality, environmental quality, and regional equity for the 18 Northeastern and Midwestern states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Since our formation in the mid-1970s, we have carried out this mission through conducting research and analysis, developing and advancing innovative policy, evaluating key federal programs, disseminating information, and highlighting sound economic and environmental technologies and practices. Working in concert with our sister organizations, the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition and the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, the Institute partners with public officials and community leaders to address some of the most pressing problems facing the region. We implement issue-based programs that seek solutions applicable to all 18 states, e.g. contaminated sites, water pollution, sprawl, and place-based programs that focus on specific vital resources within the region, e.g. the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay.


MISSION

The Northeast-Midwest Institute is a Washington, D.C.-based, nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization committed to economic vitality, environmental quality, and regional equity for the 18 states of the Northeast and Midwest. As a policy-focused institute with a 40-year track record of producing first-rate research, developing policy options, and building and supporting regional coalitions, the Institute has unique standing in that it was founded in response to calls by the Congressional Northeast-Midwest Coalition for a stable and trusted source of regional data and research as well as policy options and analysis.  It is precisely these roots and relationships on Capitol Hill which now position the Northeast-Midwest Institute to chart a future that encompasses an expanded agenda of critical regional issues and to embark on a strategy to achieve increased impact.


OUR WORK

There are three dimensions to the Northeast-Midwest Institute’s current work:

  • Conducting research to build knowledge that informs the policy-making process focused on critical issues confronting the region, especially relating to economic vitality, including cities, vacant and abandoned property, manufacturing, and employment, as well as the environment, conservation, and sustainability, including the Great Lakes and riverways, invasive species, agriculture, water quality, and safe drinking water.
  • Developing policy options, incubating new policy directions, and analyzing the implications of alternate policy directions, all in service to addressing the critical problems and issues confronting the northeast and midwest, with the ultimate objective of advancing a sound and effective policy agenda for the region and the nation.
  • Developing and providing policy education to the Congressional coalitions and task forces committed to the regional agenda of the northeast and midwest, and extending to the larger network of states and other governmental entities, committed organizations, and informed and active individuals, creating the foundation and capacity for developing and enacting sound policy directions for the region and when appropriate for the nation as well.

The research and policy education agenda at the Northeast-Midwest Institute currently includes work related to:

  • Legacy cities.
  • Vacant and abandoned properties.
  • Water quality.
  • Safe drinking water and lead in drinking water.
  • The Great Lakes and invasive species.
  • The Mississippi River and agricultural management practices.
  • The Susquehanna River and shale gas development.
  • Good government and governmental reform.

HISTORY

The states of the Northeast and Midwest parts of the country enjoy numerous assets: plentiful water and other natural resources, distinguished universities and research institutions; significant financial centers and cultural institutions; a skilled workforce; and a history of entrepreneurship. At the same time, the region lacks traditional energy supplies, is burdened by a disproportionately large share of toxic contamination, and suffers from long-standing federal disinvestment. While national policies are vitally important to the Northeast-Midwest states, the region’s priorities also are shaped by unique demographic, geographic, and economic circumstances that require special attention by policymakers and legislators. The Northeast-Midwest Institute—along with its sister Congressional coalitions—works to protect the region’s assets by developing policy options to improve the region’s situation in the areas of economic development, environmental quality, energy efficiency, and regional equity.

The Institute owes its existence to the elected officials of the region – particularly those who held office in the mid-1970s. U.S. Representatives from the Northeastern and Midwestern states shared many of the same positions on federal issues, yet had no organized structure to assure that their voices and votes were united. After losing several battles over the apportionment of federal funds, these legislators decided to form such an organization.

The result was the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition. Formed in 1976, the Congressional Coalition began life as a caucus of the House of Representatives – a voluntary organization whose membership consists of members of Congress from eighteen states of the Northeast and Midwest. As such, it does not have an explicit basis or direct recognition in House or party rules, but serves the Northeast-Midwest region by: compiling, analyzing and distributing information; developing and mobilizing support for legislative proposals; advocating positions and issues; and providing representation on issues critical to constituents of those 18 states.

Shortly after the Congressional Coalition became active, the Senators from the same states created an analogous Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition to parallel the work of the Congressional Coalition in the U.S. Senate.

In 1977 – with the support of the two coalitions and at the urging of the governors of the 18 states – the Northeast-Midwest Institute came into being as a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization responsible for providing policy guidance to the coalitions in order to craft sound federal legislation. The mission of the Institute is threefold: to protect the environment, enhance the economy, and ensure regional equity for the member states.