Who We Are

The Center for Progressive Reform is a network of more than 60 acclaimed scholars from across the United States who work with a professional staff of policy analysts and communications experts to change public policy for the better.

CPR's Vision

Thriving communities on a resilient planet.

CPR's Mission

Educate, Advocate, Collaborate: CPR drives policy reform with rigorous and accessible legal analysis designed for changemakers.

Statement on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Pursuing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) is a moral imperative for CPR. Inadequate regulatory safeguards and disparities in implementation and enforcement of public interest laws disproportionately harm vulnerable communities, especially people of color and low-wealth families. We recognize these injustices are born of longstanding systemic inequalities, and are forms of continued systemic oppression.

CPR is committed to working with communities that experience disproportionate harm from existing and emerging environmental hazards, from climate change to workplace safety risks. Their lived experiences, CPR’s analytical capabilities, and our collaborative advocacy can enhance federal, state, and local government responses to those hazards. Since the government has failed to provide the necessary access, information, and resources for these communities to influence policy development and legal implementation, CPR is also committed to identifying legal reforms that enhance their influence in government and access to the courts.

By incorporating JEDI principles into CPR’s work, we will position ourselves to most effectively and thoughtfully protect and strengthen health, safety, and environmental safeguards and empower the people whose lives depend on them.

What Brings Us Together

CPR’s Member Scholars and staff believe sensible safeguards serve important shared values, including doing the best we can to prevent harm to people and the environment, especially in socioeconomically vulnerable communities. We reject the view that the economic efficiency of private markets should be the dominant value used to guide government action. Rather, we support thoughtful government action and reform to advance the well-being of human life and the environment. Additionally, we believe people play a crucial role in ensuring both private and public sector decisions that result in improved protection of consumers, public health and safety, and the environment. Accordingly, we support ready public access to the courts, enhanced public participation, and improved public access to information.

Current laws and the civil justice system have substantially enhanced protection of people and the environment. But flagging enforcement of regulations and increasing restrictions on people’s rights to seek redress for their injuries in the courts have significantly undermined many of these protections. Many serious threats remain largely unaddressed. In addition, novel technological developments present potential new dangers that must be managed. We therefore seek to restore and preserve existing regulatory and common law methods of protection that are under attack by regulated industries and the think tanks and lobbying organizations they support. In addition, we support developing new or revised ways to protect people and the environment. Such reforms include providing individuals with more and better information about health, safety, financial and environmental risks, and holding companies responsible for the full range of their risk-producing actions through new forms of corporate governance. We also work to open the regulatory process to greater public scrutiny, particularly by facilitating the participation of groups representing the public interest that are often hobbled by restrictions on their ability to access information upon which decision-makers rely.

CPR's Issues

CPR’s core issue areas are health, safety and the environment. Member Scholars’ work in this area touches on such topics as:

  • Energy and the Environment, including clean energy; climate change; restoring the Chesapeake Bay and others of the nation’s Great Waters to health; clean air and water; enforcement of the nation’s environmental laws; environmental justice; disaster planning and response; toxics; natural resources; wildlife and nature; and next generation environmental policies).
  • Consumer Protection, including safe food, drugs and products; and our Truth About Torts series focusing on the importance of access to the courts and a level playing field.
  • Workers’ Rights, including federal and state safeguards for safe workplaces; whistleblower protection; wage theft; and CPR’s groundbreaking database tracking prosecutions of employers who endangered their employees lives at work.
  • Regulatory Policy, including the Trump and Congressional Assaults on Our Safeguards; cost-benefit analysis; the economics of regulation; and ensuring that regulatory policy follows the standards established in law for protecting health, safety and the environment.

Who and How

Founded in 2002, CPR is a network of university-affiliated Member Scholars with expertise in legal, economic, and scientific fields. Scholars are not paid for their contributions to CPR’s work, but rather donate their time and expertise to the organization. CPR Member Scholars and staff prepare studies, reports, articles, and other analyses, and participate in educational forums and conferences to promote informed and effective public policy.

CPR has more than 60 Member Scholars around the nation, working academics teaching at colleges and universities. They represent diverse research agendas, areas of expertise, and geographic location. Member Scholars work together and with staff in working groups organized around issue areas, as well as in ad hoc groups organized around specific topics or research papers. CPR is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

CPR has a ten-member Board of Directors, led by CPR President Robert R.M. Verchick (Loyola University, New Orleans). The board includes Gilonne D'Origny (Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington), Robert L. Glicksman (The George Washington University Law School), Michelle Janin (community leader and volunteer), Alice Kaswan (University of San Francisco School of Law), Thomas O. McGarity (past president of CPR, University of Texas Law School), Joel A. Mintz (Nova Southeastern University), Laurie Ristino (Strategies for a Sustainable Future), Sidney A. Shapiro (Wake Forest University School of Law), and Amy Sinden (Temple University Beasley School of Law). (Affiliations are for purposes of identification only.)

CPR also benefits from the wisdom and experience of its Advisory Council. Members include Patricia Bauman (Bauman Foundation), Frances G. Beinecke (former President, Natural Resources Defense Council), W. Thompson Comerford, Jr. (Senior Partner, Comerford & Britt, L.L.P.), Sally Greenberg (Executive Director, National Consumers League), John Passacantando (Executive Director, Ozone Action and Former Executive Director, Greenpeace USA), former U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, and Robert Weissman (President, Public Citizen). (Affiliations for purposes of identification only.)