The Peter G. Peterson Foundation

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The Peter G. Peterson Foundation
PGPF LogoMain FL.jpg
The foundation's logo
Founded 2008
Founder Peter G. Peterson
Type foundation
Focus Fiscal and economic challenges of the United States[1]
Key people
Peter G. Peterson, Founder and Chairman[2] Michael A. Peterson, President and Chief Operating Officer[2]
Endowment US$1.0 billion
Mission To increase public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America's future and to accelerate action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is an American foundation established in 2008 by Peter G. Peterson, former US Secretary of Commerce in the Nixon Administration and co-founder of the Blackstone Group, an American-based financial-services company. With an endowment of $1 billion, it focuses on raising public awareness about the need for long-term fiscal sustainability related to federal deficits, entitlement programs, health care and tax policy and supporting the development of policy solutions to these challenges.


In 2008, Peter G Peterson committed $1 billion to create the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an organization dedicated to addressing economic and fiscal "sustainability challenges that threaten America's future."[3] Peterson recruited David M. Walker, then-Comptroller General of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office, as the foundation's first president and chief executive officer.

In 2010, the foundation launched an annual Washington, D.C. event aimed to draw attention to America’s long-term fiscal issues. The now annual Fiscal Summit brings together top U.S. leaders, such as Bill Clinton, Chris Christie, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan, and Patty Murray, to discuss challenges and solutions to U.S. fiscal sustainability.

In October 2010, David M. Walker stepped down as President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to establish his own venture, the Comeback America Initiative with funding provided by the Foundation.


According to the Peterson Foundation website, the mission is the following:

"to increase public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America's future and to accelerate action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results."[2]

In an editorial in Newsweek, Pete Peterson describes his inspiration for starting the Foundation, and his goals:

So I started looking at the lives of other billionaires. Almost all the ones I most admired were major philanthropists: Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, George Soros, Eli Broad—each with a passion to do good, each getting so much pleasure from giving their money away. I decided that's what I wanted to do. But to which worthy cause would I direct my money?

For the first time in my memory, the majority of the American people join me in believing that, on our current course, our children will not do as well as we have. For years, I have been saying that the American government, and America itself, has to change its spending and borrowing policies.[4]


Board of Directors:

Advisory Board:

  • Sen. Bill Bradley, Managing Director: Allen & Company LLC; Former United States Senator
  • Gov. Mario Cuomo, Of Counsel: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP; Former Governor of New York
  • Barry Diller, Chairman, IAC/InterActiveCorp
  • Harvey V. Fineberg, President: Institute of Medicine
  • Sec. Robert Rubin: Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Former United States Secretary of the Treasury
  • Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer: Facebook
  • Sec. Donna Shalala, President: University of Miami; Former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Sec. George Shultz, Thomas W & Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow: Hoover Institute – Stanford University; Former United States Secretary of State
  • Paul Volcker, Chairman: Economic Recovery Advisory Board; Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve[6]

Ongoing activities

The Peterson Foundation publishes ongoing research and analysis on long-term fiscal issues in the form of reports, statements, blog posts, data visualization, and info-graphics.

Fiscal Confidence Index (FCI)

In 2012, the Peterson Foundation launched its Fiscal Confidence Index, a monthly measure of public attitudes about the nation's long-term debt and the efforts elected leaders are making to address the debt.[7] It is modeled after the Consumer Confidence Index and surveys public opinion on the level of concern about the debt, the importance of addressing the debt as a policy priority, and expectations about the debt over the next several years.[8]

Morning Money Breakfast Briefings

The Peterson foundation partners with POLITICO to present the Morning Money Breakfast Briefing series which hosts elected officials and administration figures for one-on-one conversations on fiscal policy and economic issues.[9] The series is hosted by Ben White, POLITICO's Chief Economic Correspondent. Past guests have included Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray, Representative Steny Hoyer, and Senator Rob Portman.[10]

Up to Us Campus Competition

The Peterson Foundation partners with Clinton Global Initiative University and Net Impact to sponsor and manage an annual nationwide campus competition called Up to Us, in which participating student teams design and execute campaigns to raise awareness among their peers of long term fiscal challenges facing the nation. At the conclusion of the campaigns, the winning team is recognized by President Bill Clinton at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University.[11]

Annual fiscal summits

Starting in 2010, the Peterson Foundation has convened an annual Fiscal Summit in Washington, DC.

2014 Fiscal Summit

On May 14, 2014, the Peterson Foundation hosted the 2014 Fiscal Summit: Our Economic Future. The summit convened top lawmakers and policy experts to discuss the connection between the nation's long term debt and economic growth, opportunity, and mobility. Participants included President Bill Clinton, Governor Chris Christie, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Rob Portman, and Alan Greenspan.[12]

2013 Fiscal Summit

On May 7, 2013, the Peterson Foundation hosted the 2013 Fiscal Summit: Facing the Future. The summit convened leading thinkers to discuss evolving trends and challenges facing the U.S. on issues such as demographics, immigration, education, and national security. Participants included President Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Senator Patty Murray, Representative Paul Ryan, Co-Founder of Synthetic Genomics Inc. Juan Enriquez, National Council of La Raza CEO Janet Murguia,Admiral Michael Mullen, and Institute of Medicine President Harvey Fineberg.[13]

2012 Fiscal Summit

On May 15, 2012, the Peterson Foundation hosted the 2012 Fiscal Summit: America's Case for Action. the summit gathered leaders from government, policy, academia, and the media to explore how to forge the political will necessary to achieve lasting fiscal reform. Participants included President Bill Clinton, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Senators Rob Portman and Chris Van Hollen, House Speaker John Boehner, California Representative Xavier Becerra, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.[14]

2011 Fiscal Summit

On May 25, 2011 the Peterson Foundation hosted the 2011 Fiscal Summit: Solutions for America’s Future. Building on the previous year’s Summit, the event brought together six think tanks from across the ideological spectrum to propose plans to address America’s long-term debt and deficits as part of its Solutions Initiative.[15]

In addition to representatives from the think tanks, participants included President Bill Clinton, who delivered keynote remarks, House Budget Committee Chairman Representative Paul Ryan, Obama administration economic advisor Gene Sperling, Co-Chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Senator Alan K. Simpson, Honeywell International CEO David M. Cote, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, members from the Gang of Six, PBS NewsHour correspondent Gwen Ifill and The New York Times columnist David Brooks.[16][17]

2010 Fiscal Summit

On April 28, 2010, the Peterson Foundation hosted the 2010 Fiscal Summit: America’s Challenge and A Way Forward. The summit, held one day after the first meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, brought together political leaders and economists from both parties to address the urgency of the nation’s fiscal challenges.

The summit featured a keynote speech by President Bill Clinton. Other participants included former Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, Center for American Progress CEO John Podesta, Senator Judd Gregg, founding CBO Director Alice Rivlin, Co-Chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Erskine Bowles, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Director Robert Greenstein, and Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel.[18][19]

Past activities

Solutions Initiative

In January, 2011, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation launched the $1.2 million Solutions Initiative grant program. As part of this program, the American Enterprise Institute, Bipartisan Policy Center, Center for American Progress, Economic Policy Institute, Heritage Foundation and Roosevelt Institute Campus Network each received grants of $200,000 to develop comprehensive plans for long-term fiscal sustainability. Grantees had complete discretion and independence to develop their own fiscal goals or targets and to propose recommended packages of solutions and timeframes for achieving them.[20]

The six Solutions Initiative plans contained specific policy recommendations, reflecting the groups’ unique perspectives and priorities, and looked out 10 and 25 years into the future.[21] To make the plans more easily comparable, the Solutions Initiative program required that they be developed from a common starting point based upon the Congressional Budget Office’s long-term projections. The Peterson Foundation also asked the Tax Policy Center and Barry Anderson (former acting director at CBO) to serve as independent scorekeepers, reviewing the plans and applying consistent analytical techniques to all of the proposals.[22]

The six Solutions Initiative plans were released at the 2011 Fiscal Summit.

(2012) Post-Election: The Fiscal Cliff and Beyond

On November 16, 2012, the Peterson Foundation hosted Post Election: The Fiscal Cliff and Beyond, which convened elected officials and policy experts to discuss implications of the impending fiscal cliff and potential paths forward within the context of the nation's political and economic challenges.[23] Participants included former Chairmen of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling, Representatives Peter Roskam and Chris Van Hollen, former acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office Donald Marron and former Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orzag.[24] Policy analysts from the five think tanks that participated in the Solutions II Initiative took part in a panel in which they reviewed their plans and budget priorities.[25]

(2011) Republican Primary Debate Sponsorship

The Peterson Foundation was the official broadcast sponsor of the 2011 Bloomberg/Washington Post Presidential Debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.[26] The debate, the first of the 2012 presidential election season to focus entirely on the economy and fiscal issues, was moderated in a roundtable format by PBSCharlie Rose, Washington Post political correspondent Karen Tumulty and Bloomberg TV White House correspondent Julianna Goldman.[27]

As part of its sponsorship, the Foundation aired a series of informational advertisements during the debate.[28] The ads featured children speaking to specific long-term fiscal challenges and the future effects of failing to address the U.S. debt.[29] The final ad concluded with a message from former Sens. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) and former Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) encouraging congressional leaders to work together and develop a bipartisan plan that addresses the national debt.[30]


In November 2010, the Peterson Foundation launched a $6 million national campaign to raise awareness about the U.S. debt titled "OweNo."[31] The campaign featured nationally broadcast television ads starring satirical presidential candidate named Hugh Jidette, (a play on “Huge Debt”).[32][33]


In August 2008, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation purchases the rights to I.O.U.S.A., a documentary that examined the history and events behind America’s rapidly growing national debt.[34]

I.O.U.S.A. began nationwide showing at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha, Nebraska, on 21 August 2008, with a live discussion among Warren Buffett, Pete Peterson, David Walker, William A. Niskanen, and Bill Novelli following the screening. The film opened in over 300 theaters, followed by private showings on college campuses, in corporate media rooms and at community clubs.[35] The film was also broadcast on CNN on January 10, 2009.[36]

The film made Roger Ebert’s list of the five best documentary films of 2008.[37]

Partnerships, grants and sponsorships

The Peterson Foundation supports numerous organizations, programs, and campaigns through event sponsorships, grants and various partnerships,[38] including:

See also


  1. "Issues". The Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Retrieved 19 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "About Us: PGPF Highlights". Peter G. Peterson Foundation. 2012-11-08. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. The Peter G. Peterson Foundation (15 February 2008). "Peter G. Peterson Commits $1 Billion Toward Solving America's Most Significant Economic Challenges" (Press release). New York: PR Newswire Association LLC. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Peterson, Peter G. (May 29, 2009). "Why I'm Giving Away $1 Billion". Newsweek.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "About Us". Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Foundation Advisors". Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Peter G. Peterson Foundation Launches New "Fiscal Confidence Index" To Measure Public Opinion About America's National Debt". 2012-12-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Peterson Foundation's Fiscal Confidence Index More Cause for Action". The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "POLITICO Event Series - Morning Money Breakfast Briefing Series". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Morning Money Breakfast Briefing with Sen. Rob Portman". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Up To Us Campus Competition — Net Impact". Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Coy, Peter (2014-06-13). "Bill Clinton and Chris Christie Go Back to Back With Deficit Speeches". Business Week. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Grim, Ryan (2013-05-07). "Bill Clinton At Deficit Summit: 'Paul Krugman Is Right In The Short Run'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Good, Chris (2012-06-15). "Bill Clinton At Deficit Summit: 'Paul Krugman Is Right In The Short Run'". ABC. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Gleckman, Howard (2011-05-26). "Areas Of Agreement On Tackling The Budget Deficit". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "SUMMARY AND HIGHLIGHTS: 2011 Fiscal Summit, Solutions for America's Future" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Peter G. Peterson Foundation. May 25, 2011<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Seabrook, Andrea (2011-05-25). "Lawmakers Meet To Discuss Deficit". National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Killian, Linda J. (2010-04-29). "To Fix the National Debt, 'Everything Is On the Table'". Thomas Jefferson Street blog. U.S.News & World Report. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Weinberg, Ali (28 April 2010). "Attendees agree to disagree on deficit". First Read. Retrieved 19 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Paletta, Damian (2011-01-20). "Peterson Foundation Makes $1.2 Million in Grants for Debt-Reduction Proposals". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Wessel, David (2011-05-26). "Plans to Cut Deficit Reveal Varying Visions". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Gleckman, Howard (May 25, 2011). "Six Think Tanks Tackle the Budget Deficit". Blog. Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Peterson Foundation Convenes Nation's Lawmakers and Policy Experts to Discuss Solutions to the Fiscal Cliff and Long-Term Fiscal Challenges". PR Newswire. 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Peterson Foundation Holds Fiscal Cliff Forum Today — Brings Together Lawmakers and Policy Experts to Discuss Solutions to Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Challenges". The Peter G. Peterson Foundation. 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Payne, Amy (2012-11-16). "Morning Bell: The Fiscal Cliff and Beyond". The Daily Signal. Retrieved 2014-06-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Bloomberg & The Washington Post Present 1st GOP Economic Debate" (Press release). New York: Bloomberg. 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Rucker, Philip; Gardner, Amy (2011-10-12). "Mitt Romney solidifies his front-runner status in Republican debate". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "PETER G. PETERSON FOUNDATION TO BE BROADCAST SPONSOR OF BLOOMBERG/WASHINGTON POST REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE ON THE ECONOMY, OCTOBER 11 IN NEW HAMPSHIRE" (Press release). New York: Peter G. Peterson Foundation. 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Rothstein, Betsy (2011-10-10). "Foundation Uses Kids to Make Pols Feel Dumb – FishbowlDC". Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Peter G. Peterson Foundation (October 8, 2011). "Conclusion". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Wessel, David (2010-11-05). "Peterson Foundation to Launch 'OweNo' Anti-Deficit Ad Campaign". Real Time Economics. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. Smith, Donna (2010-11-09). "Peterson Foundation launches OweNo campaign on U.S. debt". Tales from the Trail. Reuters. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Hugh Jidette for President". YouTube. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. I.O.U.S.A. (2008) on IMDb
  35. "IOUSA". Peter G. Peterson Foundation. 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. CNN (15 December 2008). "CNN to Air Timely Documentary and Discussion About U.S. Economic Challenges: U.S. Broadcast Premiere of Critically Acclaimed Film I.O.U.S.A. Included in Exclusive Televised Event" (Press release). Archived from the original on 13 July 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Ebert, Roger (December 5, 2008). "The best films of 2008... and there were a lot of them". Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. "Our Projects & Grants". Peter G. Peterson Foundation. 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2012-11-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

External links

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