Public Interest Research Group
|Motto||Standing up to powerful interests|
Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) are a federation of U.S. and Canadian non-profit organizations that employ grassroots organizing and direct advocacy with the goal of effecting liberal political change.
The PIRGs emerged in the early 1970s on U.S. college campuses. The PIRG model was proposed in the book Action for a Change by Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Ross helped students across the country set up the first PIRG chapters, then became the director of the New York Public Interest Research Group in 1973.
The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, founded in 1971, was the first state PIRG to incorporate. It was followed by Oregon (OSPIRG) and Massachusetts (MASSPIRG). The PIRGs were supportive of container deposit legislation in the United States, popularly called "bottle bills".
PIRGs on college campuses have historically been funded with a portion of student activity fees. The PIRGs now rely on a variety of funding models, including member donations.
U.S. PIRG lobbied for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent U.S. government agency which was founded as a result of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the wake of the late-2000s recession and the financial crisis.
The PIRGs have worked to make same-sex marriage legal, to increase the minimum wage, to enact increased environmental regulations, to oppose Voter ID laws in the United States, build high speed rail in California, defend solar net metering in California, increase food labeling, expand open educational resources on campus, expand campus food pantries, and ban pesticides linked to colony collapse.
Some PIRGs are members of a larger network of non-profit organizations called The Public Interest Network. In the past, they have also helped to launch a number of other independent public interest non-profits, including:
State PIRGs include:
- Arizona PIRG
- CalPIRG (California)
- Colorado Public Interest Research Group
- Connecticut Public Interest Research Group
- Florida PIRG
- Georgia PIRG
- Illinois PIRG
- Iowa PIRG
- Maryland Public Interest Research Group
- Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group
- PIRGIM (Michigan)
- Minnesota Public Interest Research Group
- MoPIRG (Missouri)
- Montana PIRG
- New Hampshire PIRG
- New Jersey Public Interest Research Group
- NCPIRG (North Carolina)
- Ohio PIRG
- Oregon PIRG
- Rhode Island PIRG
- Penn PIRG
- TexPIRG (Texas)
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- Ali, Ambreen (September 15, 2011). "Liberal, Conservative Groups Join to Find Spending Cuts". Roll Call. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
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