The Northwest Progressive Institute was founded on August 22nd, 2003 to raise America’s quality of life through insightful 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, activists, and the public.

We’re not your typical think tank: we don’t have a multimillion dollar budget, a big 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? What does NPI do?

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

Here is a quick visual overview that explains what we do.


NPI analyzes problems using the logic of progressive values to find & advance ideas that will improve lives.

NPI boardmembers doing researchFlipboard at NPI retreatAtlas and BlackBerry Passport with compass


NPI builds support for causes like revenue reform and transit for all, while fighting right wing initiatives.

When will children be a priority? Scenes from an Olympia rallyLink at Angle Lake StationNO on I-1366: For Our Sakes


NPI captures moments that matter, from the Democratic National Convention to New Year’s at the Needle.

Mount Rainier above Tipsoo LakeHillary Clinton speaking at DNCNew Year's at the Needle


NPI brings together progressive activists, elected leaders, and engaged citizens to discuss the issues.

NPI President Robert Cruickshank speaking at NPI's Thirteenth Anniversary PicnicCrowd at NPI's 2014 Spring Fundraising GalaJoni Earl speaking at NPI's 2013 Spring Fundraising Gala

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/Executive Director
Rennie Sawade
Rennie Sawade Operations Director
Dominic Barrera
Dominic Barrera
Staff Writer
Patrick Stickney
Patrick Stickney


Rick Hegdahl
Rick Hegdahl
Diane Jones
Diane Jones
Vice President-Secretary
Garrett Havens
Garrett Havens
Ralph Gorin
Ralph Gorin
Gael Tarleton
Gael Tarleton
Robert Cruickshank
Robert Cruickshank
Essie Hicks
Essie Hicks
Mario Brown
Mario Brown

Advisory Council

  • Steve Zemke
  • Rob Dolin
  • Martin Chaney
  • Steve Fields
  • Kim Villeneuve
  • Carol Eugene
  • Becky Lewis
  • Kathleen Reynolds
  • Kim Allen
  • Peggy Maze Johnson
  • Marisa Peloquin

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.

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.