A guest post from Ronna Brown, Philanthropy New York that originally appeared in the New York PhilanthroPost
When is a freezing hotel ballroom in Chicago during the final week of the summer the place to be? Well, never, but still, this year’s Joint Policy Institute of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the National Council of Nonprofits was a valuable opportunity for building national and local partnerships across the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.
The Forum’s annual PolicyWorks Institute has been an important gathering for regional association staff and their volunteer leaders to learn about policy strategies that work and to share with colleagues their approaches to common challenges. This year, however, it was not just the RA community – but the RA community with our nonprofit colleagues. The conference was the first Joint Policy Institute. The National Council of Nonprofits teamed up with the Forum of Regional Associations to bring members together to work on pressing issues that impact both the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. The convening was an unparalleled opportunity for RAs and state nonprofit associations to learn and plan together. And New York’s contingent took full advantage of it.
Philanthropy New York’s team included our Public Policy Committee Co-Chair (Clark Foundation’s Doug Bauer, who also serves on the board of the National Council of Nonprofits) along with our two Public Policy Fellows, our SVP for public policy and myself. The rest of the New York delegation included leaders from the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York City and the New York Council on Nonprofits. While PNY has worked with NPCC and NYCON, as well as many other nonprofit advocacy organizations in the city and across the state, on nonprofit capacity building, OMB Guidance on Indirect Costs and many other issues, the Joint Policy Institute put us together for three days of concentrated learning and strategizing.
We started the conference with the entire NY delegation sitting at one big table, so we got down to work right away. Over the course of the conference we changed tables and learned from others around the country, but throughout the programming, we continued to come back together and shared our thinking. In the last two hours of the conference, the NY delegation decided to break from the pre-scheduled programming and sit together to outline productive and concrete strategies for working together over the coming year.
In the coming months, PNY’s Public Policy Committee will be talking about the issues we identified with our partners, along with other topics identified by PNY members, to develop a slate of issues that will help guide our policy work this coming year. The Joint Policy helped us better understand the priorities of our nonprofit sector partners.
We know that strong and successful networks can make a positive difference in our work. The Joint Policy Institute of the Forum and the Council provides a great example of the value of how a relatively small amount of resources can have a big impact. So, THANK YOU, to all of the foundation supporters of the conference, to our members for supporting our work, and to our nonprofit colleagues for their commitment to working together.