Back to top
Back to top

2017 PolicyWorks Institute

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 to Thursday, July 20, 2017
San Francisco, CA
Add to Calendar

The Forum’s PolicyWorks Institute is the one opportunity each year for regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations to take a “deep dive” together to strengthen your policy and advocacy work. You'll learn from your peers, engage in hands-on skill-building sessions and hear from thought leaders. For 2017, the Institute will have a bigger focus on sessions to engage not just staff of philanthropy-serving organizations but also your volunteer philanthropy leaders.

Please use #PolicyWorks17 for any social media posts around the conference. 


Registration is now open! Volunteer leaders, and other Institute participants not attending the Forum’s full annual conference, are also invited to register for the last day of the Forum's Annual Conference on Wednesday, July 19 or for just the closing lunch on Wednesday. 

Registration Rates: 

  • PolicyWorks Institute Only- $125
  • PolicyWorks Institute & Forum Conference (Wednesday)- $300
  • PoilicyWorks Institute & Forum Conference (Closing Lunch)- $200

Please see our registration tips for help registering.

Who Can Attend

Forum members (regional and national PSOs) and their volunteer philanthropy leaders. See who is registered to attend (the event roster is visible to all members of the Forum and non-members who are already registered for this event).


Please contact Erin Skene-Pratt with any questions about the event.

Schedule at a Glance

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

2:00 - 6:00 pm: Registration Open on 25th Floor

2:30 - 3:45 pm: PolicyWorks Institute Opening

3:45 - 5:00 pm: Navigating the Road Ahead

5:00 - 6:00 pm: Reception

6:30 pm: Dine Arounds

Thursday, July 20, 2017

7:00 am - 3:30 pm: Registration Open

7:30 - 8:00 am: Breakfast

8:00 - 10:00 am: The Insiders Perspective on Key Federal and State Policy Issues

10:15 - 11:15 am: Framing Our Issues in the New Political Environment

11:15 – 11:45 am: Break/Grab Lunch

11:45 am - 12:45pm: Policy Peer Community: Strategies that Work

1:00 - 2:15 pm: Laying the Groundwork for Action

2:30 - 3:30 pm: Closing: Speaking Through Media

Check out the full agenda
Find More By:
Event type: 
Geographic Location: 

Who is Speaking

Fred Ali,  Weingart Foundation,

He will lead off the Navigating the Road Ahead session with his thoughts on the role of foundations in advocacy and policy work. How much do we stay the course and how much do we find alternative routes given the current political atmosphere?  Who should our partners be in this work and how might we engage new collaborators and champions? How should foundations think about measuring their impact from advocacy and policy investments? Fred was elected president of Weingart Foundation in June 1999 and named chief executive officer of the Foundation in 2006. He more than 35 years of senior management experience with nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and government. 

Joe Grady, P.h.D., Topos Partnership

The Framing Our Issues in the New Political Environment session will include a presentation and interactive discussion with Joe Grady, co-founder of Topos Partnership, whose mission is to explore and ultimately change the landscape of public understanding where public interest issues play out. As a cognitive linguist whose academic research and publications have focused on the role of metaphor in thought and communication, Joe will shed light on how to improve your policy-focused communications so that you are heard.

About San Francisco

San Francisco- Cable CarsSan Francisco is best known for its scenic beauty, cultural attractions, diverse communities, and world-class cuisine.  Measuring 49 square miles, this walkable city includes landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Alcatraz and the largest Chinatown in the United States.  A stroll of the city's streets can lead from Union Square to North Beach to Fisherman's Wharf, with intriguing neighborhoods to explore.  


San Francisco is one of the easiest cities in the world to navigate. Because the city is so compact, there are plenty of transportation options abound, including its world-famous cable cars, public transportation and ride-sharing. Find out more


Each of San Francisco's major neighborhoods has its own district culture and charm - from shopping around Union Square to dim sum in Chinatown. Check out an introduction to the city's most prominent locales.


San Francisco has more restaurants per capita than any other major city in the U.S. Local chefs combine the best of local ingredients with authentic international flavors. Every day, fishing boats supply the freshest seafood in the world. Local farms provide produce and meat stock that is unparalleled. 

Conference Hotel

Hotel Nikko Lobby

Hotel Nikko

222 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Located just steps from Union Square in the heart of San Francisco, the Hotel Nikko is an urban retreat with easy access to plenty of dining, nightlife and shopping options. Hop on the cable cars a block away and explore the city sights and nearby museums. Stroll along Fisherman's Wharf and marvel at the famous sea lions that lounge on Pier 39, or hop on the bus and plan a picnic in Golden Gate Park. Located in the midst of Union Square, our hotel gives you instant access to San Francisco's most iconic destinations.

Visit Hotel Nikko website for details
Benefits for Our Guests

Attendees who book a room at the discounted rate in our block at the Hotel Nikko will also receive:

  • complimentary wi-fi in your sleeping room
  • complimentary access to the hotel's 10,000 sq ft health club accessible 24/7 ($25 value)

Book Your Room

Our block of rooms at the Hotel Nikko is now full. If you'd like to add your name to the waiting list, please email Courtney Moore. An overflow block has been secured at the nearby Serrano Hotel for attendees at the discounted rate of $215/night. Reservations can be made online or by calling 866-575-9941 and referencing our group name, “Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers”. This rate will be available until June 23, 2017 but may sell out earlier. We encourage to make your reservations as soon as possible. 

    Planning Committee

    • Seyron Foo, Southern California Grantmakers (Chair)
    • Kari Boutell, Iowa Council of Foundations
    • Delia Coleman, Forefront
    • Bill Engel, Hyde and Watson Foundation
    • Theresa Jacks, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers
    • Karla Mercado, Southern California Grantmakers
    • Michael Remaley, Philanthropy New York
    • Ellah Ronen, California Community Foundation
    • Christopher Wilbanks, Robert and Polly Dunn Foundation