2015 Better Government Competition Awards Gala 


Wednesday June 24, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:15 PM EDT
Add to Calendar 


Seaport Boston Hotel 
1 Seaport Lane
Boston, MA 02210

Driving Directions 

Click to learn about Sponsorship Opportunities.


Shawni Littlehale
Pioneer Institute 
617-723-2277 ext 207



Please join Pioneer Institute at an awards gala recognizing the winner and finalists of the 2015 Better Government CompetitionThis year’s contest sought proposals to improve public safety and control costs in America’s criminal justice system.

The Keynote Address will be delivered by Edward F. Davis, former Boston Police Commissioner, and Massachusetts Governor Charles D. Baker will provide welcoming remarks.

Davis was Boston's police commissioner from 2006 to 2013 and earned national recognition for his leadership in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. During his tenure, Davis emphasized community policing, a strategy of building neighborhood partnerships, and led successful efforts to drive down the City's violent crime rates.

The winning proposals will be determined by a judges’ panel of local leaders active in criminal justice issues, including Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond and Suffolk County District Attorney, Dan Conley. 

Register Now!                       Learn about Sponsorship Opportunities.

The 2015 Better Government Competition attracted nearly 150 proposals from around the country. The entries address a broad spectrum of criminal justice-related issues. Some of the most prominent topics this year were community re-entry initiatives, restorative justice policing models and job training programs for offenders. Many submissions also recommended innovative uses of technology to make correctional systems and law enforcement more effective and cost-efficient.

A distinguished panel of judges, listed below, will select the winner and four runners-up:

James L. Bush, Principal, Bush & Co.

Jamie Bush has been a life insurance broker for over 35 years. He provides clients a holistic approach to financial preparedness working as a team, whenever possible, with their tax, legal and other advisors. A graduate of Boston College, Jamie holds designations as a Chartered Life Underwriter, Family Business Specialist and a Chartered Special Needs Consultant from The American College. Jamie has served on multiple nonprofit boards in the areas of healthcare and elderly housing as well as urban and suburban education.

Daniel F. Conley, Suffolk County District Attorney

Dan Conley is the chief law enforcement officer for the cities of Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, responsible for the prosecution of more than 40,000 criminal cases every year in the state's most densely-populated county. He was appointed in February 2002, and elected four times since. Previously, Conley served for eight years on the Boston City Council, including several terms as chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee. A career prosecutor before seeking public office, Conley served as an assistant district attorney for nine years in the office he now leads, prosecuting homicides and other serious felonies including drug trafficking, non-fatal shootings, and intimate partner violence.  In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was one of a handful of state prosecutors named to Massachusetts' first anti-gang violence task force.

Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond, Pastor, Bethel AME Church and Chairman & Co-Founder of the Ten Point Coalition

Pastor Ray Hammond was born and raised in Philadelphia, the eldest son of a Baptist preacher and a schoolteacher. After graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, he completed his surgical residency at the New England Deaconess Hospital and joined the Emergency Medicine staff at the Cape Cod Hospital. Pastor Hammond accepted the call to the preaching ministry in 1976 and completed his Master of Arts degree in the Study of Religion at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1982. In 1988 he was called to be the founder and pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Boston.

Pastor Hammond has a long history of involvement with youth and community activities. He is Chairman and Co-Founder of the Ten Point Coalition—an ecumenical group of Christian clergy and lay leaders working to mobilize the greater Boston community around issues affecting high-risk youth; Executive Director of Bethel's Generation Excel program; Executive Committee Member, Black Ministerial Alliance; Chair of the Boston Opportunity Agenda; a member of the Strategy Team for the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization; and a trustee of the Yawkey Foundation, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, BMC Health System, Inc. and the MATCH School. He is a former chairman of the Boston Foundation. He continues to work in local and district youth activities in the AME Church. Pastor Hammond is the author of several papers and articles on a range of issues including academic achievement, diversity, and violence prevention. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is also the recipient of numerous honors and including honorary doctorates.

Jeff Jacoby, Op-Ed columnist, The Boston Globe, and syndicated columnist

Jeff Jacoby has been an op-ed columnist for The Boston Globe since 1994. Seeking a free-market conservative voice to balance its famously liberal roster of commentators, the Globe hired him from the Boston Herald, where he had been the chief editorial writer since 1987. A native of Cleveland, Jeff is a graduate of George Washington University and Boston University Law School. He briefly practiced law at the national firm of Baker & Hostetler, and in the mid-1980s was an assistant to Dr. John Silber, the president of Boston University. As the son of a Holocaust survivor, Jeff came to understand early on that few things are more threatening than a too-powerful government, and that the blessings of liberty are an inestimable prize. Those have been frequent themes in his columns.

John Kingston, III, Chairman and CEO, Sword & Spoon Group

John Kingston is the Chairman and CEO of the Sword & Spoon Group. John formerly served as the Vice Chairman and General Counsel for AMG, a global asset management company with more than $600 billion in assets under management. John serves on the boards of the Pioneer Institute, The Veritas Forum, Guard Support of Massachusetts, Patheos, and Lattice, and is Chairman of the Board of Sword & Spoon Foundation, SixSeeds and Ottauquechee Farm. He is a member of the Committee to Fix the Debt, the American Enterprise Institute National Council, the National Republican Senatorial Committee Majority Makers, and the Republican Governor’s Association Executive Roundtable, and is a founding supporter of Boston 2024, the organization working to bring 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to Boston. John received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Tracy Palandjian, CEO of Social Finance US

Tracy Palandjian is Co-Founder and CEO of Social Finance, a nonprofit organization which is leading the development of Social Impact Bonds, a recent innovation to the impact investing field. Previously, she was a Managing Director at The Parthenon Group where she established and led the Nonprofit Practice. Tracy also worked at Wellington Management Co. and McKinsey & Co. Tracy is co-author of Investing for Impact: Case Studies Across Asset Classes and serves as Co-Chair of the U.S. National Advisory Board to the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force. She is a member of the Board of Overseers at Harvard University, and a Director of Affiliated Managers Group. She also serves on the boards of the Surdna Foundation and Facing History and Ourselves. Tracy is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School where she was a Baker Scholar.

Peter N. Ubertaccio, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs and Director, Martin Institute for Law & Society, Stonehill College

Peter Ubertaccio is the Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs and Director of Joseph Martin Institute for Law & Society at Stonehill College in Easton. An expert on American political development, political parties, and institutions, his scholarly work has been featured in the Routledge Handbook of Political Management, Winning Elections with Political Marketing and the Routledge Handbook of Political Marketing. With Brian Cook of Clark University he contributed to the centennial issue of the American Political Science Review with an analysis of Woodrow Wilson’s contribution to the field of political science, “Wilson’s Failure: Roots of Contention About the Meaning of a Science of Politics.”  He is an often-quoted source on national and state politics and received his Ph.D. in Politics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. A resident of Cape Cod, he is on the Board of Directors of the OpenCape Corporation and the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum Foundation.  He is also a member of the Program and Academic Council of the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College.

The Better Government Competition winner and runners-up will be announced on May 22, 2015. Winning entries will be published in a compendium to be released at the Better Government Competition awards dinner on June 24, 2015, and will be distributed to policy makers and opinion leaders.

Since 1991, the Better Government Competition has served as a way to crowdsource powerful new ideas and best approaches to improve public policy. The Competition seeks proposals from experts as well as ordinary citizens to make government more effective and efficient, protect individual liberties and make our communities safer.