Advocacy: A Compass for Today’s Terrain

Friday, March 31, 2017 -
8:30am to 4:30pm EDT
Philanthropy New York, 1500 Broadway, 7th Floor, NYC
Members of PNY & Partner Orgs: 
Add to Calendar

Join us for a full-day conference to strengthen your foundation’s voice and impact. Learn how to navigate the legal, strategic, and governance activity necessary to incorporate advocacy and amplify your work.

Philanthropic organizations – whether private foundations, community foundations, public charities, corporate foundations or family foundations – have considerable legal rights to exercise their voice in public policy discussions. Even if your foundation makes the legitimate choice to remain silent on policy concerns, it is important for every person in your organization to know your rights, as well as your limitations. Those boundaries are complicated, in part because there are significant differences between federal laws and New York State and City laws that could necessitate burdensome reporting requirements.

Program Agenda

This in-depth program is structured to allow people at different levels of knowledge and responsibility to engage as they choose. The first part of the day concentrates on the basics and laws governing foundation limitations. The second half of the day focuses on complex contemporary scenarios and allows participants to probe on the policy-in-practice topics that are most relevant to their foundations.

Morning Sessions

The first half of the day will guide participants in how to use advocacy as a strategy for achieving impact. We encourage program officers and grant managers who are responsible for both the strategy around grantmaking and the due diligence for grants and programs to attend.

Introduced by:

  • Doug Bauer, Executive Director, The Clark Foundation

9:00 – 10:20 AM: What You Can and Cannot Do: Legal Boundaries & Opportunities

Upon completing this session, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize relevant legal issues surrounding funding advocacy work
  • Discuss ways to fund advocacy and identify ways to take part in advocacy as a foundation

10:35 – 12:25 PM: Advocacy as a Funding Strategy

Upon completing this session, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the specific skills, knowledge, and resources needed for effective advocacy
  • Practice effective communications response strategies for advocacy organizations
  • Recognize the intersectionality of movement-building and advocacy when considering your approach

12:30 – 1:30 PM: Lunch

Afternoon Sessions

The afternoon will invite participants to build advocacy as a part of your board’s culture, as well as understand the factors in the current landscape that will impact your philanthropic work. We encourage those members of foundations who work with the board and provide overall strategic leadership for a foundation’s programs to attend this session. CEO’s and VP’s of Programs as well as trustees will all benefit from the afternoon’s workshops.

1:30 – 3:00 PM: Aligning Leadership & Advocacy

  • Vernetta Walker, VP of Programs and Chief Governance Officer, BoardSource

Upon completing this session, participants will be able to:

  • Practice building a shared vision for what the future would look like if your foundation’s mission was achieved
  • Identify external and internal factors that can have a positive or negative impact on your advocacy work or strategy

3:15 – 4:30 PM: Federal & State Policies Affecting the Philanthropic & Nonprofit Community

Upon completing this session, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the policy issues facing the nonprofit community today, including top-down (federal) and bottom-up (local) impact
  • Discuss the spending priorities of the new administration
  • Discuss potential tax reform policies

Designed for

All interested funders.

Participants are encouraged to take advantage of the entire day’s events. Should you be unable to commit to an entire day, we have broken the program into a morning and afternoon session with guidance for your foundation’s leadership as listed above.


8:30 AM- 9:00 AM   Check-in and Networking Breakfast
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM  Program (includes lunch)

Registration is currently closed. Please email to get on the waitlist. Note: Please indicate if you're registering for the full day or either the morning or afternoon sessions.

PNY Members: To register yourself and/or a colleague at your organization, please log in, choose your desired registration and click the Register Now link above.

Non-member Funders: Log in, choose your desired registration and click the Register Now link above.