About NPI

The Northwest Progressive Institute was founded on August 22nd, 2003 to raise America’s quality of life through innovative research and imaginative advocacy. We believe that America can only move forward if we work to expand our freedoms – as opposed to allowing them to contract.

NPI is a strategy center. Think think tank meets tech startup. NPI is an institution created to research progressive ideas and promote progressive values and solutions to elected officials, opinionmakers, and the American people.

We’re not your typical think tank: we don’t have a multimillion dollar budget, a grand office building, or a paid staff (although we’re working towards ultimately having those things) but we believe we can be effective even without them. We value time and people over money. We exist to organize and mobilize progressive thinkers, and give grassroots activists an outlet to make their voices heard.

What is NPI’s mission?

Raise America’s quality of life through innovative research and imaginative advocacy.

What is NPI’s philosophy? What’s NPI’s culture like?

Our philosophy is best summed up by our creed – a statement describing how we carry out our work that we ask new staff, board members, and members to sign.

I will train myself to think long term and look at the big picture. I will always keep an open mind and be willing to embrace new ideas and techniques. I will organize for change offline as well as online. Whenever possible, I will give young progressive activists and new progressive activists an opportunity to step up and make a difference. I will challenge and confront intolerance without allowing myself to become intolerant. I will speak out for those who have no voice, no lobbyist, and no advocate. As an activist with an audience, I will help preserve the art of storytelling. I will never pass up an opportunity to reframe and help teach others about the logic of America’s progressive values, especially empathy and responsibility. As a thought leader, I will help lead my fellow citizens to new positions, not follow polls, for that is what real leadership is. I will help maintain a strong first line of defense against threats to our Constitution, our common wealth, and our vital public services. No matter how depressing and hopeless circumstances may seem, I will keep putting one foot forward every day, working cheerfully for a more peaceful future for the Pacific Northwest, the United States, and this diverse planet we call Earth.

Who is NPI?

NPI is a strong and dynamic team of progressive leaders committed to revolutionizing grassroots politics.


Andrew Villeneuve, Founder and Executive Director

Andrew Villeneuve Founder and Executive Director

Rennie Sawade

Rennie Sawade Operations Director

Dominic Barrera

Dominic Barrera
Staff Writer

Patrick Stickney

Patrick Stickney


Robert Cruickshank

Robert Cruickshank

Gael Tarleton

Gael Tarleton
Vice President-Secretary

Essie Hicks

Essie Hicks

Ralph Gorin

Ralph Gorin

Rick Hegdahl

Rick Hegdahl

Mario Brown

Mario Brown

Advisory Council

  • Steve Zemke
  • Rob Dolin
  • Martin Chaney
  • Luis Moscoso
  • Kim Villeneuve
  • Carol Eugene
  • Becky Lewis
  • Kathleen Reynolds
  • Kim Allen
  • Steve Fields

What does NPI do?

  • Train young progressives to be effective activists
  • Respond early and often to right wing misinformation (like Tim Eyman’s), and teach others to do the same
  • Provide a first line of defense against right wing initiatives, especially initiatives attempting to defund or dismantle vital public services
  • Research and define progressive policy directions, frame those policy directions in the language of progressive values, and make this research available to progressive elected leaders
  • Analyze current events and attempt to discern their long-term impact
  • Make information about what our government is doing more accessible to more people
  • Evaluate good-intentioned legislation and look for ways to improve it to make it stronger and sounder

NPI is a multifaceted organization – like a Swiss Army knife for the progressive movement. Research and reframing are at the heart of what we do, but we also work to revolutionize grassroots politics through newsgathering, advocacy journalism, and leadership development. Our publications provide a progressive perspective on current events and give activists an opportunity to share their ideas with a bigger audience.

Our projects and publications include:

  • Cascadia Advocate – NPI’s primary publication is the Cascadia Advocate, a daily weblog that was begun in March of 2004. The Advocate has been named one of The Washington Post’s Best State Political Blogs and is indexed by Google News, Bing News, Topix, and Newstex.
  • Pacific NW Portal –A regional start page and online news center. The Portal aggregates hundreds of progressive and traditional media sources and maintains a directory of local progressive blogs.
  • Permanent Defense – NPI’s first project, which actually precedes NPI. Founded in 2002, Permanent Defense fights right wing initiatives, particularly those sponsored by Tim Eyman.
  • In Brief – NPI’s microblog, begun in April 2009. In Brief is where the NPI team posts recommended links, shareable photos and GIFs, blogworthy quotes, and asides or very short posts.
  • Olympia Newsriver – An experimental bill tracker intended to help activists keep track of legislation moving in Washington’s state capital.

We are committed to creating, maintaining, and expanding a significant online presence where we can present progressive ideas, amplify progressive voices, and take on the right wing… and using our online presence to coordinate offline action.