On October 26, just ahead of Nevada Day celebrations across the state, the Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities hosted its first open house to commemorate its new location inside the historic Southside School building in Reno’s Midtown district.
The Guinn Center, a nonpartisan, statewide policy research nonprofit working to advance evidence-based policy solutions for Nevada, was founded in 2013 by a group of Nevadans who believed the state needed data-driven, nonpartisan policy solutions to address Nevada’s key challenges. The center was named in honor of late Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn. Members of the Guinn family, including Kenny Guinn’s wife, First Lady Dema Guinn, were in attendance as Executive Director Jill Tolles and First Lady Guinn unveiled the Governor’s official portrait, generously donated to the center by the Guinn family. During her opening remarks, Tolles described finding inspiration in the late governor’s time in office.
“Kenny Guinn didn’t really see himself as a Republican or a Democrat but as a Nevadan who was here to put people and policy first,” Tolles said.
Chair of the Guinn Center Board of Directors Phil Satre, Lt. Governor Stavros Anthony, and University President Brian Sandoval also spoke at the event, honoring the Guinn legacy and noting the value of the Guinn Center’s affiliation with the University of Nevada, Reno, which was formalized in 2021.
Several elected officials, University leaders, members of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents, and other supporters were in attendance to celebrate and meet the Board, Advisory Council and members of the Guinn Center Team.
Since naming Jill Tolles as Executive Director in January 2023, the team has added several new positions including Research Director Michael Stewart, Assistant Director Kristine Caliger, and Director of Education Policy Anna Dreibelbis-Colquitt as well as several interns; Cal Boone, Kaiden Majia-Amaya, Lizzie Tokarski and Hannah Jackson. In 2023, this new team, which grew from three full-time employees to eight, has published six research projects and added five new board members.
Additional updates from 2023 include launching the Gallagher Dialogues at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas featuring a conversation with Governor Christine Todd Whitman and hosting a webinar for legislators on the analysis of the 2023-2025 budget. Below are several Guinn Center research highlights from 2023:
- Southern Nevada Human Sex Trafficking Gap Analysis 2023
- Out-of-School Youth in Southern Nevada: A Focus Group Analysis on Challenges Faced by Out-of-School Youth and Service Providers
- Analysis of the Legislatively Approved Budget for the State of Nevada: 2023-2025 Biennium
The Guinn Center is currently running a community survey to determine policy priorities to pursue next year.
“We are often asked how we choose our research topics,” Tolles noted in a recent Guinn Center newsletter. “Some of our research comes from grants with specific policy questions to research and analyze. Others come from legislative requests, board and advisory council input, and responses to pressing issues in Nevada. To determine which policy priorities to pursue next year, we want to hear from you.”
To learn more about the Guinn Center, visit GuinnCenter.org.