Reformer Steers Casey to Help Children and Families

Published November 1, 2006

“Big money relating to the problems of the disadvantaged is already in government,” said Gary MacDougal, the driving force behind Casey Strategic Consulting’s aid to state and local youth and family services agencies.

MacDougal is a member of the Annie E. Casey Foundation board of trustees, director of United Parcel Service (UPS), former CEO of Mark Controls Corporation, and former partner with McKinsey & Co., an international management consulting firm.

“As long as that money is there, we may as well do what we can to produce results,” said MacDougal, who four years ago won approval for his idea to have Casey offer its service free to human services agencies in crisis. “It’s not easy for these government agencies to find outside objective analysis that cares about the people they’re trying to help. That’s where Casey comes in.”

Led Illinois’ Successful Reform

MacDougal has long been concerned about the lives of children and disadvantaged families. He is the architect of Illinois’ welfare reform program, which has resulted in a remarkable 86 percent drop in welfare enrollment and better lives for thousands of former Illinois welfare recipients.

MacDougal has written a book about his work in Illinois, Make a Difference: A Spectacular Breakthrough in the Fight Against Poverty. A limited number of copies are available for free to elected officials. It can also be ordered through The Heartland Institute’s online store at

“There is about $400 billion there (in family services funding in the 50 states),” MacDougal said. “Illinois had about $10 billion budgeted when I started working on welfare reform [in the mid-1990s] at the request of then-Gov. Jim Edgar, and it wasn’t producing any results.”

MacDougal continued, “Out of that experience I got the idea that most governors and legislators don’t have the resources to call on what is knowable in terms of getting accountability, integrating services, and measuring outcomes. I said, ‘Let’s take some of Casey’s money and provide free consulting to people who want to fix these dysfunctional state systems.’ The idea was approved, and the results have been good.”

Steve Stanek