From Cautious to Courageous: How Foundations Can Step up Advocacy & Invest in Change (Session 1 of 2)

Thursday, September 29, 2022 -
2:00pm to 3:30pm EDT
Webinar - Register by 9/28
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In just the past few months, we’ve seen an unprecedented assault on reproductive rights, the heart-breaking need for stricter gun control policies, and cruel efforts to harm trans people and walk back LGBTQ+ protections. These headline-churning developments come on top of ongoing efforts to undermine climate action, criminalize poverty and further erode civil liberties. All too often, philanthropy likes to stay above the political fray. But philanthropic foundations have tremendous leverage – especially when it comes to their ability to invest in social welfare organizations pushing for racial, social, environmental and economic justice.

Private and public foundations can play an important role in advocacy by engaging in advocacy themselves and funding their grantees to advocate on critical issues. Whether your mission focuses on voting rights, police accountability, access to healthcare or any of the myriad challenges we face in bringing about a just society, it is critical that you use all available (and legally permissible) tools to enact change at the local, state and federal levels. By bringing key constituencies to the policy table, particularly those with a real stake in the outcome, we have a better chance of creating impactful systemic change.

While the tax code provides simple methods for foundations to fund 501(c)(3) public charity grantees, there are often questions about how (and when) a foundation can fund non-public charities such as 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. This session will unpack the reasons your foundation should consider funding 501(c)(4) advocacy work and offer a deeper understanding of federal tax and election law.


What will we learn together?

  • Why public and private foundations should support 501(c)(4) organizations
  • How public grantmaking institutions, such as community foundations, can make lobbying (or non-lobbying) grants to 501(c)(4) groups
  • How private foundations can utilize expenditure responsibility to support the work of 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations
  • Lessons learned and key takeaways from grantmakers who have successfully sought buy-in from foundation decision-makers to engage with social welfare organizations; and

Who should attend?

All interested funders in grantmaking roles. What to expect: breakout discussions followed by Q&A.

How do I sign up?

Members and Non-Members: Please click the Register Now link above (no fee).

Guests of Organizers and Collaborators: Please email with your name, title, organizational affiliation, business mailing address, and phone number. Please indicate by which organizer you were invited. (no fee)

Registration is required by September 28th.

Registrants will receive the webinar link a day prior to each session.

Please email with questions or for further information on this program or on eligibility.

What else should I know?

This session is the first in a two-part, funder-only webinar series exploring the benefits of supporting 501(c)(4) organizations, also known as social welfare organizations, as powerful drivers of policy reforms and systemic change. Register for the second session below: 

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