Award-winning writer/editor/researcher with expertise in local government, political reform, civic engagement and urban policy. His writings have appeared in newspapers, magazines, books and blogs.
Mike McGrath joined the National Civic League as communications associate in 1994, as the organization was launching a national initiative to raise public awareness about cutting-edge examples of community building and civic engagement. The job marked a new career direction. During the 1980s and early 1990s, he worked as an editor and staff-writer for newspapers and alternative weeklies in California and Colorado, winning awards for investigative journalism and public policy reporting.
As editor of the National Civic Review, a quarterly journal founded in 1913, Mike has written and edited hundreds of articles on civic engagement, comprehensive community-building initiatives and local government innovation. In the late 1990s, He served as policy analyst for the league’s New Politics Program, co-authoring a report on local campaign finance reform and helping to overseeing a project to revise the Model City Charter. In 2009, he was asked to author a report on civic innovation in local governments for Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE). In 2011, he joined the research team of the Southern California Fiscal Sustainability Project, a three-year joint effort with USC and the University of San Francisco. Thanks to his comprehensive knowledge of local government and the history of municipal reform, Mike was asked to contribute the official entry on political patronage for the Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Blackwell Publishing) in 2014.
Recent presentations and publications:
- “Beyond Distrust: When the Public Loses Faith in American Institutions, National Civic Review.
- “Bridging Divides and Bringing Communities Together,” Government Finance Review.
- “Framework for Financial Sustainability,” (co-author) a research paper for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
- “Decatur, Georgia: Diversity, Gentrification and the Art of Community Conversation,” National Civic Review.
- “Hampton, Virginia: Civic Engagement as a Management Strategy,” National Civic Review.
- “Fiscal Sustainability Case Studies: Santa Ana, California, and City of South Gate, California” National Civic Review.
- "Fiscal Sustainability and Bottom-Up Change in Brea, California,” National Civic Review.
- “Fiscal sustainability and political culture in Long Beach, California,” National Civic Review.
- “Potholes and PDAs,” Intergovernmental Solutions Newsletter, U.S. General Services Administration.
- Master of Journalism, U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, 1983.
- Bachelor of Arts, Plan II Honors Program, University of Texas, 1976.