Policy Influence: What Foundations Are Doing and Why

FavoriteFoundations’ engagement in public policy has contributed to advances in society in areas from civil rights to consumer protections to public health. At the same time, and with greater intensity in recent years, the role of philanthropy in influencing policy has been the subject of scrutiny. And yet little data is available about how many foundations engage in efforts to influence public policy, why they undertake this work, and how they approach it. So CEP studied the perspective of foundation leaders across the country on this topic. This report seeks to provide foundation staff, leaders, and boards with data and Read more

Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing and Civic Engagement in the Gulf/Midsouth Region

FavoriteThis report looks at how 20 nonprofits in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and their allies helped improved their communities and amplified the voices of underserved residents in the democratic process through policy engagement. These nonprofits leveraged foundation grants that generated a $114 return for every dollar spent.

Setting the Table for a Sustainable and Just Food System

FavoriteThe Diversifying Leadership for Sustainable Food Policy (DLSFP) initiative sought to build the advocacy capacity of ten people of color led organizations to address food and agriculture systems issues and broaden the diversity of the sustainable agriculture and food movement. Describes some of the findings of the initiative such as: limited civic and leadership capacities of their constituencies, lack of inclusiveness into the agricultural food sector. The lessons learned from the initiative suggest a new theoretical model for building advocacy in people of color-led organizations.

Turning the Ship: Moving From Clinical Treatment to Environmental Prevention: A Health Disparities Policy Advocacy Initiative

FavoriteThe California Endowment’s Community Action to Fight Asthma Initiative (CAFA) took a non-traditional approach to reducing asthma disparities that funded treatment programs. CAFA fostered community activity to effect change in the areas of education, housing and environmental policy. In this article, authors discuss the CAFA’s theory of change and grant making strategy included assistance in 1) Local, regional, and state-level coalition building 2) Prevention concepts, environmental asthma policies, policy advocacy 3) Evaluation, using continuous feedback to fine-tune strategy.

Tools to Support Public Policy Grantmaking

FavoriteThis article provides guidance on how foundations can frame, focus, and advance efforts to achieve public policy reforms. Five essential steps for developing public policy strategy are described: choosing the public policy goal, understanding the challenges, identifying influential audiences, determining how far those audiences must move, and deciding how to move them.  

Proving Foundation Impact on Public Policy Empirically: The Case of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Consumer Choice for Adults With Developmental Disabilities

FavoriteThis is a case study of how the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s initiative to support choice of program provider for developmentally disabled adults uses some advanced statistical techniques to demonstrate the impact of the foundation’s funding. This study suggests that to get the greatest impact on policy change, foundations should consider offering modest competitive grants to governmental departments; spending the funds in regional groupings; and focus on jurisdictions that have demonstrated interest in the policy area by spending their own funds.