Public Policy: Offerings

Foundations on the Hill

Presented in partnership with the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Council on Foundations, Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) is the highest-profile opportunity of the year for SECF members to connect with members of Congress and discuss policy issues of importance to the philanthropic community. The purpose of Foundations on the Hill is to: 

  • Inform and educate Congress about philanthropy
  • Create visibility for foundations and philanthropy on Capitol Hill
  • Advocate on issues affecting foundations
  • Encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues

Foundations on the Hill is also a great opportunity to connect with fellow grantmakers from the Southeast and from across the country and participate in policy conversations that will help guide your advocacy in the year ahead.

Foundations 101/201

Lawmakers and their staff members are busy people dealing with a wide array of issues. While some have strong relationships with the philanthropic sector in their states or districts, others may not be aware of the foundations they represent, the laws and regulations that govern the behavior of foundations or the ongoing debates over how to regulate the sector without discouraging giving.

This makes educating lawmakers and legislative staffers an essential part of your advocacy – and SECF’s Foundations 101/201 programs represent the most effective way to ensure policymakers are informed and aware.

Foundations 101 is primarily directed at legislative staffers whose portfolio includes issues that impact the philanthropic community. By hosting a Foundations 101 session and inviting influential staff members, you’ll have the chance to provide an overview of charitable giving, foundations and the philanthropic sector.

Foundations 101 can involve the local staff members of federal lawmakers, as well as staff members of state lawmakers, federal and state agencies, and Attorneys General offices. Participants will learn what foundations are and how they operate. Foundations that help present Foundations 101 will also have the chance to share with participants stories of philanthropic impact in their own communities.

Ready for a deeper dive and stronger connections? Host a Foundations 201 session. Foundations 201 provides a deeper understanding of how public policy impacts philanthropy. Public policy professionals will become familiar with issues of deep concern to foundations, as well as with proposals that could undermine or discourage charitable giving.

Foundations 201 fosters a better understanding among public policy professionals of the effects that potential policy changes would have on philanthropic efforts in their communities. It also provides concrete examples of public-private partnerships as a tangible way for government and philanthropy successfully collaborate.

Participants in Foundations 201 will gain a more sophisticated understanding about the opportunities for foundations and government to work together and learn about ways to offer appropriate expectations and roles for such partnerships.

Foundations 201 can serve as a follow-up session for the staff members who participated in your 101 session. It can also be targeted at high-level staff members (like a legislative director or chief of staff) or even legislators themselves.

Interested in hosting a Foundations 101 or 201 session? Contact Matthew L. Evans, SECF’s Director of Public Policy & Special Projects, to get all the help you need in tailoring a session to the unique needs of your state and your representatives in the state capitol or Washington.

Public Policy Institute

What will be your public policy agenda for the upcoming year? What is your foundation allowed to do with regard to lobbying and advocacy? Where can you find partners to help you advance your shared interests?

These questions and more are answered every year at SECF’s Public Policy Institute, now offered as a pre-conference immediately before the Annual Meeting.

The Public Policy Institute includes, as its foundation, a session that will give you the knowledge, tools and skills needed to be an effective advocate on behalf of your organization and the broader philanthropic sector. The Institute is about much more than that, however. You’ll also have the chance to discuss public policy issues and advocacy with fellow philanthropic leaders and hear from thought leaders and experts in the field.

This intimate gathering is also an opportunity to build strong alliances and share common strategies that are integral to the success of your advocacy.

It’s not too late to sign up for this year’s Public Policy Institute: If you have suggestions for a session at a future Public Policy Institute, please contact Matthew L. Evans.

Public Policy Webinars

The unpredictable pace of public policy developments means you may not always be able to convene an in-person discussion on issues or your approach to advocacy. SECF helps fill that gap through its Public Policy Webinars. Offered throughout the year, these interactive online sessions connect you to experts and thought leaders who will share their knowledge and wisdom and take questions from participants. Just as importantly, you’ll have the chance to share your own thoughts with colleagues, receive valuable feedback and make connections.

Schedule a Public Policy Webinar: Contact Matthew L. Evans for more information on how to schedule a
public policy webinar focused on an issue that’s important to you and your foundation.