Mission, Vision, and History

National Priorities Project (NPP) makes our complex federal budget transparent and accessible so people can exercise their right and responsibility to oversee and influence how their tax dollars are spent.

We are the people's guide to the federal budget.

In 2014, NPP was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of our pioneering work to track federal spending on the military and promote a U.S. federal budget that represents Americans' priorities, including funding for people's issues such as inequality, unemployment, education, health and the need to build a green economy.

Vision for Change

National Priorities Project is the only nonprofit, non-partisan federal budget research organization in the nation with the mission to make the federal budget accessible to the American public. We believe that everyone can and should understand and participate in critical debates about federal spending and revenue. Our team takes a complex federal budgeting process and cracks it open for ordinary folks – providing the information, tools, and motivation necessary to catalyze strategic citizen action around fiscal issues that affect us all.

NPP envisions a nation where all Americans understand the federal budget choices made by our lawmakers – and where all people, as well as public-serving community and national organizations, have the power and inclination to influence our nation's revenue and spending decisions.

Unlike other think tanks and watch-dog groups that focus solely on providing information, NPP turns knowledge into action to build a powerful movement toward positive social change. First, we provide real-life context by localizing and personalizing federal budget data, illustrating the ways in which the federal budget affects all Americans. At the same time, we foster a growing sense of agency by helping people understand how they can influence budget decisions and by demystifying federal legislative complexities. Finally, NPP makes information actionable by facilitating data-boosted advocacy and engagement in political debate around budget issues.

Our Work Includes:

Our History

NPP's story started in 1983, when four friends from Springfield, MA, dug into dusty federal budget tomes at a local university library in a quest to save their city from economic ruin. They needed to understand why so many vital social programs were closing.

What they found stunned them. During the first two Cold War-focused years of the Reagan Administration, federal funds for cities like Springfield plummeted – and local economies, jobs, schools, and public health suffered.

Led by National Priorities Project founder, Greg Speeter, the friends set out to change these destructive and misguided budget priorities. Armed with irrefutable data directly from our nation's budget, they convinced their U.S. Representative, Silvio Conte (R), then the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, to change his stance on federal spending.

Emboldened by this experience, Greg formulated a radical vision: a federal budget by and for the people – with spending priorities that reflect the interests of all Americans. NPP still operates under the very same moral imperative that inspired Greg, with a healthy mixture of urgency, impatience, and unwavering faith in the absolute necessity of our efforts.

In 2013, we honored this 30-year legacy with a gala celebration in our hometown of Northampton, MA, and the awarding of 30+ national Democracy Champions.

More about NPP founder, Greg Speeter: