Started in 2011, the Forum's PolicyWorks for Philanthropy initiative aims to build the capacity of regional philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) and their philanthropic members to engage in public policy, in order to enhance and advance foundations’ impact on the issues that they fund. In 2017, we will be expanding PolicyWorks to include national PSOs. PolicyWorks seeks to prepare PSOs for individual, collaborative and collective policy work at the local, state, regional and federal levels.
Purpose and Scope
Building and maintaining relationships with policymakers is essential to the philanthropic sector’s ability to: educate policymakers about the work, value and impact of foundations; advise policymakers about potential legislation or regulation that could harm the sector and decrease much needed philanthropic dollars; gain policymakers’ support for legislation that could support the growth and effectiveness of philanthropy; and build partnerships with policymakers to achieve policy reforms that improve the quality of life for those that foundations seek to serve.
The Forum provides a wide range of services to help our members build their capacity for engaging in public policy and government relations work. This includes regular educational programming, ongoing technical assistance, annual capacity profiles to help them track their public policy capacity and compare it to their PSO peers, an annual PolicyWorks Institute, and in-depth sharing and networking among PSO leaders engaged in policy and government relations work.
The PolicyWorks initiative has resulted in some dramatic gains in Forum members' public policy capacity. A few examples,
- The percentage of regional PSOs that have designated staff for policy work has increased from 48% to 81% since the start of the initiative six years ago.
- The percentage of regional PSOs that have worked to help their philanthropy members engage with policymakers increased from 41% to 72% over the same time period.
For more information on the Forum's PolicyWorks for Philanthropy initiative, please contact Maggie Osborn, (202) 386-6426.