The BGA's Civic Engagement Program informs the public and encourages meaningful participation in civic activities. Four programs are designed to deepen the discourse about important civic issues and provide the public with the knowledge and know-how they need to access public information and effectively express their concerns about government.
Since the BGA's Civic Engagement Program began in 2010, we have engaged face-to-face with 13,000 people and informed tens of thousands more online.
All Civic Engagement programs are free and open to the public.
BGA Watchdog Training teaches people the tools of journalism so they can keep an eye on local governments. Veteran investigative journalists and expert attorneys teach watchdogs how to use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act to ensure government agencies are open and transparent.
BGA FOIA Clinics offer individuals one-on-one meetings with FOIA experts and attorneys. These sessions go beyond Watchdog Training and dig deep into specific issues and challenges individuals have with FOIA requests.
Candid Conversations bring together prominent public figures and BGA’s President & CEO Andy Shaw for conversations about good government issues. It's one of the ways the BGA holds public officials accountable for their promises and actions. Guests have included: Governor-elect Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and 2015 Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.