Policy in Action is a comprehensive suite of programs and services that empowers SECF members to defend and promote Southern Philanthropy through advocacy and collaboration involving state and federal policymakers.

Through unique, targeted Policy in Action programming and education, foundation staff and trustees learn how to advocate on behalf of the sector – highlighting the impact foundations have on improving communities across the South.

Policy in Action has three main objectives:

  • Champion the legitimacy and independence of foundations
  • Facilitate balanced discussions between foundations and policymakers on significant issues facing philanthropy in the South
  • Build a deeper appreciation for philanthropy among policymakers 

Policy in Action programs include:

Foundations 101: A two-hour seminar, offered in partnership with SECF members, provides the chance for foundations to provide the staff members of policymakers with 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.

Foundations 201: Building on the success of the 101 program, 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. 

Public Policy Institute: Offered each year as a pre-conference to SECF’s Annual Meeting, this dynamic and informative session provides SECF members with the knowledge, tools and skills needed to be effective advocates on behalf of their own organizations and the broader philanthropic sector.

Public Policy Webinars: Offered throughout the year as events warrant, these interactive webinars provide an opportunity for SECF members to share insights on specific topics, including policies at both the state and federal levels. Led by SECF staff, webinars provide an opportunity for members to share examples of successful collaborations with public officials, strategize on approaches to public policy and consider different perspectives on issues facing philanthropy. 

Public Policy Digest: This quarterly update, prepared by SECF staff and distributed electronically, provides a comprehensive overview of the policy landscape. The Public Policy Digest includes a recap of recent activity in Congress, a summary of new or proposed federal regulations and an update on legislation impacting the sector in all 11 states that comprise SECF’s footprint.