Policy Research Associates was formed in 1987 in the spirit of the mission “Creating positive social change for people and communities through technical assistance, research, and training.” In 2020 we decided to expound on our established values of “Doing good work, at a fun place, with a hard-working bunch, to make an impact.” This values message highlighted our company culture and lightly touched on what we bring to our work, but it did not capture the full breadth of how we operate. In concert, we decided to state our guiding principles so that our partners, collaborators, and employees know exactly what we stand for and how we approach our work. Developing a comprehensive set of values and guiding principles took many iterations and much thoughtful input from an inclusive group of PRA staff. After many rounds of review, deliberate discussion, editing, and internal comment to integrate and honor a wide range of perspectives, we are proud to release our values and guiding principles to the field.

Our values and guiding principles intentionally and comprehensively address our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; highlight our business goals; and underscore our company culture. They ground us in how we approach our work, the work that we take on, and how we interact with each other inside and outside of the organization. We are proud to share them with you and look forward to practicing what we preach to continue to create positive social change. 

Our Core Values


Our staff is committed to creating positive social change, and we are deeply passionate about our work. We foster a supportive, collegial environment full of opportunities for learning and professional development to support each employee’s growth and success. 


Our many lived and learned experiences shape who we are and what we aim to achieve. We value the diverse ideas, perspectives, backgrounds, and values of our staff, partners, and the communities we serve. This contributes to our high-quality work in research, technical assistance, training, and policy evaluation. 


We treat everyone inside and outside our organization with respect and fairness. The fairness and equity of our policies, practices, and procedures highlight our care and concern for each other. Our culture of mutual respect is demonstrated by our efforts to cultivate a healthy work-life balance for our staff. 


Our work is grounded in sound science and is informed by the history of the systems within which we work. With this foundation, we can have a positive impact on systems and advance the field. We pride ourselves on being good colleagues to collaborators and clients, and we exhibit integrity in all we do. 

Guiding Principles

  • We are a small, mission-focused, women-owned business. Our work is primarily focused on supports and systems that serve people with behavioral health needs. 
  • We rely on science, research, and critical thinking to enhance services and systems. 
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of our practices, principles, and procedures. We recognize the impact of conscious and unconscious bias and strive to dismantle negative impacts through our work. 
  • We strive to create more equitable and just services and systems. We understand that we cannot, alone, wholly address all the challenges embedded in various services and systems, yet we purposefully act to contribute to and facilitate change. 
  • We know that impact matters more than intent in a society that does not provide equal access and fair treatment for allWe consider the impact our work, policies, and practices will have on our staff and the people and communities served by our work. 
  • We foster a community and culture of well-being that supports and nourishes our employees. Though we work hard, we value the critical importance of wellness and work-life balance so our staff can stay healthy and focused. 
  • We are socially responsible corporate citizens and regularly participate in community service and giving. 
  • We seek out learning opportunities, including uncomfortable conversations, to further mutual growth and accountability, and we translate our learnings into meaningful action. This applies internally, with our staff, and externally, with our partners and in our work. 
  • We practice transparency and integrity by communicating openly with staff and sharing documented policies and procedures. We actively solicit staff input on policies and procedures and incorporate their feedback to create a better working environment for all. 
  • We hold ourselves and each other accountable for success and failure. We set actionable goals, measure our progress toward those goals, and assess our impact.