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Rich Tafel
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Rich Tafel is the founder of Public Squared a public policy training program for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs.

For the last decade Rich has provided strategic policy advice to nonprofits on a variety of causes, including, AIDS programs for Africa, civil rights programs Latin America; and education and health care reform in the United States. He is a guest lecturer at Johns Hopkins University for the Urban Health and Advocacy.

Prior to this, Rich founded the national office of Log Cabin Republicans in 1993. At the height of the culture wars he debated the likes of the Reverend Jerry Fallwell on Larry King Live and other opponents of gay equality. He has appeared on most major political TV programs and fought for appropriate AIDS funding and equality for gays and lesbians. He testified before Congress on the need to support the Ryan White Care Act. In 1999, he authored "Party Crasher: A Gay Republican Challenges Politics as Usual," (Simon & Schuster).During his tenure, Log Cabin Republicans went from an unknown entity to a well known brand in American political life.

Prior to his work at LCR, Rich was appointed by Governor Weld (R-MA) to manage the adolescent health programs of Massachusetts. Rich's work in the public policy arena for social justice causes is inspired by his faith. After graduating from Harvard Divinity School he served at the University Chapel. He is an ordained minister in the Swedenborgian Church. He is a certified coach through Franklin Covey and certified through the International Coaching Association. He's an alumni of the Prince of Wales, Business and Sustainability Program, Cambridge College.

Entries by Rich Tafel

The Only Upside to the Shutdown: Realizing We Need a New Political System

(1) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 10:50 PM

There's an upside to the first-in-17-years U.S. government shutdown: It is forcing Americans to wake up to the reality that our current political system doesn't work and we need to create a new one.

This breakdown -- striking proof that America's win-lose, two-party system no longer serves our needs...

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Making Politics Good Again

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2013 | 3:13 PM

"Is it really that bad?"

This is the question I keep getting from friends about politics in D.C.

As someone active in Washington politics for the past twenty years, I understand the question. Polls show that many Americans are asking the same thing.

In fact, according to a recent...

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Justice Begins Within the Social Entrepreneur Organization

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2012 | 10:25 AM

Social change organizations should focus on creating a just organizational culture for themselves before bringing about global justice.

Before social change organizations can really change the world, many of them will first need to change themselves. We need to invest the effort in creating just organizations that respect and cultivate...

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Social Entrepreneurs Must Achieve Not Survive

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 6:29 PM

The sector needs to shift the definition of success from organizations that survive to organizations that actually achieve their missions.

Every week, I read about another social entrepreneur contemplating closing down business due to the recession. Imagine a world where that could be good news. In fact, imagine a...

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Becoming the Sustainabilitity We Seek

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2012 | 11:13 AM

So focused on short-term funding for survival, the nonprofit sector is losing its ability to implement innovative solutions to the world's problems.

"When you're up to your ass in alligators, it is hard to remember that your original intention is to drain the swamp."

That quote, attributed to former Atlanta...

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Winning Back America

(4) Comments | Posted February 7, 2012 | 1:20 PM

America's greatest threat is our failed democracy.



That's the conclusion shared by a former Secretary of State, the new head of the IMF and our former Secretary of Defense. Corporate CEOs admit they're sitting on their cash because they don't see any certainty coming from...

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Crash The Parties

(4) Comments | Posted September 20, 2011 | 11:30 AM

2012 is emerging as another anti-incumbent election year. However, swinging back and forth between two parties won't bring the change voters seek.

Instead, it's time for the frustrated American electorate to dump our two-party system.

When I made this suggestion on a political panel discussion last summer, an established Washington...

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Want to Lead? Learn to Influence -- Eight Steps to a Successful Policy Pitch

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2011 | 5:10 PM

To be a champion for those without a voice, world-changing leaders need to perfect the art of influence, and no arena is more challenging than Capitol Hill.

Staffers on the Hill typically hear pitches in about 100 meetings a week and can only support a few of these requests. The...

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Nudge the Market, Change the World

(1) Comments | Posted May 20, 2011 | 5:34 PM

"It's sort of the worst of times and the worst of times."

This quote from Irv Katz, president of the National Human Services Assembly, a coalition of nonprofit organizations, sums up the state of nonprofit organizations' funding cuts in the public policy arena. Nonprofit organizations that survived the budget...

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Knowing Who You Know

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2011 | 2:00 PM

As Washington's policy environment becomes more combative, knowing who you know on Capitol Hill and within government agencies can be the crucial factor in whether you succeed in changing public policy.

A nonprofit CEO, frustrated by his lack of access on the Hill, once told me, "We don't know anyone...

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At the Table, Off the Menu: Nonprofit Advocacy in an Age of Budget Cuts

(1) Comments | Posted March 15, 2011 | 12:21 PM

"If you are here to ask for more money, you are in the wrong office!"

These words, posted on the door of Dan Benishek, a freshman Republican congressman from Michigan, who represents the new "normal" for nonprofit programs in Washington, D.C.

The...

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The Hard Work of Democracy

(1) Comments | Posted February 11, 2011 | 3:35 PM

"For 18 days we have withstood teargas, rubber bullets, live ammunition, Molotov cocktails, thugs on horseback, the skepticism and fear of our loved ones and the worst sort of ambivalence from an international community that claims to care about democracy. But we held our ground. We did it."

These are...

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A Bipartisan Strategy for Sharpening U.S. Foreign Aid

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2011 | 11:50 AM

In the hyper-partisan pitched battles in the new Congress, between the Republican House and the Obama Administration, there's one area where both parties can join forces and help both America's workers, and our allies around the world -- foreign aid.

America gives the bulk of our international aid through the...

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The Real Health Deal Begins

(4) Comments | Posted December 9, 2010 | 4:26 PM

If you thought America's health reform debate ended with Vice President Biden's now famous, "This is a big f...ng deal!" comment to the President at the White House signing of the health care reform bill last May, guess again.

The really big deal of health reform in America is just...

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Memo to the President: Learn How to Speak "Republican"

(5) Comments | Posted November 8, 2010 | 3:59 PM

The liberal blog Daily Kos headline sums up the feeling of many Democrats following last week's elections: "Midterms: A Failure to Communicate -- Not a Failure to Govern."

Many Republicans see this as further proof that Democrats just can't see how wrongheaded their policies --...

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