Public Policy

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It’s On Us: The Nonprofit Voter Empowerment Project

Published: 
June 2022
empowerpic.png The answer is simple: It’s On Us as nonprofits to use our voting power to fulfill our missions of promoting public good. The 2020 election yielded unprecedented levels of voter turnout that helped to reduce participation disparities nationwide. This historic victory was accomplished in the midst of significant uncertainty, including a global pandemic that prompted a series of changes to state and local election laws. Research indicates that voter engagement conducted by charitable nonprofits made it easier for new and existing voters to navigate a wide range of policy changes...
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Practical Guidance: What Nonprofits Need to Know About Lobbying

Published: 
May 2022
This resource is designed to help your nonprofit organization determine if state or local regulations might apply to your existing or proposed advocacy work. The answer is surprisingly often yes, but there are also often many advocacy activities that do not require state lobbyist registration or reporting.
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Philanthropy’s Necessary Role in Advancing an Inclusive, Multiracial Democracy

Published: 
March 2022
gtown.png This essay focuses on several areas where contemporary American democracy can deliver on its promises, and philanthropy’s necessary role in advancing this vision for an inclusive, multiracial democracy. We profess no cure-alls to what ails us. Many projects that build our democracy are worthy of philanthropic engagement and support. We argue that more funders need to understand how the threats to inclusive, multiracial democracy are connected to the increased challenges we face in advancing our causes and changing systems. We suggest a starter course of actions funders can take if...
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Seize the Initiative: A Legal Guide on Ballot Measures for Nonprofits and Foundations

Published: 
February 2022
seizepic.png Seize the Initiative: A Legal Guide on Ballot Measures for Nonprofits and Foundations offers clear and concise information on the range of legal questions that could arise when nonprofits consider working on a ballot initiative, including: An explanation of the different types of ballot measures and the relevant rules for each Guidance on what activities 501(c)(3) organizations may engage in without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status Information that addresses the concerns of private and public foundations interested in supporting ballot measure work by public charities.
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Trust in Civil Society

Published: 
July 2021
Public trust is the currency of the nonprofit sector. The public’s belief that nonprofits will “do the right thing” is one of the central reasons the sector exists. Communities have relied upon nonprofits to provide trusted sources of information, life-sustaining services, environmental stewardship, and places of refuge for centuries. In today’s highly polarized environment, understanding and managing trust has never been more important for organizations to own their license to operate, lead, and succeed. Given the outsized importance of trust, it is imperative to assess the status of that...
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Advocacy Field Guide for Lean Funders: How Small and Place-Based Foundations and Donors Can Make Big Change with Little Money

Success in the advocacy and policy arena depends on knowing who the decision-makers are, what motivates them, the best arguments and supporting data to use, the most effective voices and champions, and the best timing. These will be specific to every issue and will vary in every town, city or state. Therefore, to apply the principles and practices in this guide, you first need to choose a focus for your policy work — usually one or two issues you care deeply about — and then you need to learn everything you can about that issue. This, then, is the essential preparation for advocacy — focus...
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The Costs of Political Violence in the United States: The Benefits of Investing in Communities

The insurrection at the United States Capitol occurred while this report was being prepared for publication. As more details emerge, it will be some time before the lead-up to the violent insurrection, the insurrection itself, and its aftermath can be fully analyzed. However, this event certainly illustrates many of the types of costs of political violence that this paper details. There are the immediate economic costs of shutting down the Capitol complex and repairing the damage that incurred. There are costs in increased security; 25,000 National Guard troops were brought into Washington, D...
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Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook: Leveraging Your Dollars

PAP.png Philanthropy Advocacy Playbook: Leveraging Your Dollars is designed to provide foundations with the information they need to both fund and conduct advocacy. The Playbook provides examples of how foundation investments have generated meaningful policy change, as well as links to other publications and fact sheets that will allow foundation leaders to quickly answer their questions and access additional information.
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Advocacy Funding: The Philanthropy of Changing Minds

Grantmakers tend to be cautious about funding advocacy, and for good reason - yet advocacy can play a crucial role in advancing a foundation's mission. In this guide, contributors explain that advocacy includes a lot of opportunities to improve public policy through work that is well within the limits of the law. Whether your purpose is to advance an idea, argue a position, or enrich the policy debate, the guide offers resources and strategies for planning your work, reaching your audience, assessing impact, and more.
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