Successful Advocacy -- and Its Challenges: What's "Public" About Public Education?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 -
2:45pm to 5:00pm EDT
Philanthropy New York, 79 Fifth Ave., 4th floor, NYC
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MEMBERS: To register yourself and/or a colleague at your organization, please click on the link above (visible through May 16th).
NON-MEMBERS: To register, please fill out this online form.  Non-members will receive a confirmation by email no later than two business days before the event.

A program presented by Philanthropy New York’s policy committee Philanthropy Connects, in its new series Foundation Advocacy 2011, in conjunction with the Donors’ Education Collaborative.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:  CEOs, trustees, program officers, and other funders interested in education, civic engagement, community development, social justice, and/or policy advocacy as a tool to further their mission.


On April 1, Albany cut education aid by nearly $1.3 billion.  Many - including Governor Cuomo - believe that without strong public outcry the cuts would have been even larger.  Throughout the state, school boards and superintendents are warning of the potential impact of these cuts: larger class sizes; less support for students; narrowed curricula.  One superintendent told the New York Times that even keeping track of "violent and disruptive incidents" had become a burdensome state mandate.  Here in New York City, the Department of Education is planning to cut more than 6,000 teaching positions.

Parents, students, community members, and elected officials throughout the state are looking closely at proposed cuts, examining whether current plans embody their priorities.  In New York City, the City Council has issued a statement urging the fewest possible cuts to the classroom.  And parents across the City are wondering whether their children’s favorite programs – or maybe their favorite teachers – will return in the fall.

The session will highlight – and exemplify – advocacy in action.Its speakers include parents and other advocates who have been working to ensure that 1) the education budget gives districts the resources to provide students with the sound basic education the state constitution mandates and 2) districts, including NYC, target those resources to classrooms and services and approaches proven to work, especially for the most vulnerable students. 

Given the state cuts, the fiscal challenges today are stark - and the deadline for the City budget is June 30th.  The speakers at this program will talk about their vision of how to move forward, including laying out their view of

  •  The likely impact of cuts on what schools can offer - and the services your grantees currently provide to the schools and students.
  • Actions that can be taken to prevent the most devastating cuts.



Advocacy 2011 is a four-part series designed by Philanthropy New York to engage our members in cutting-edge conversations on why and how foundations can engage in advocacy and/or public policy issues.  Not so long ago, many of the foundations that supported advocacy did so because of how much government could do to move foundations’ respective agendas forward.  Today, a broad national debate is raging about what government can – or should – do, and more foundations may want to support advocacy—and organizations that do it well—in order to have a voice in this debate.  Advocacy 2011 will give you the tools to figure out whether participating in the debate makes sense for your foundation and, if so, how to do it effectively.

The series will inform you about what foundations legitimately can (and cannot) do – what’s licit and what’s not.  We think many foundation staff and board members will be surprised by just how much advocacy we can do.  Along the way, the series will highlight two broad examples of successful advocacy, illuminating both the victories and the ongoing challenges faced by each.  It will also introduce you to local, national, and international funders who believe their advocacy has brought them closer to achieving their objectives.

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