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2017 PolicyWorks Institute Agenda

PolicyWorks Institute: Wednesday, July 19, 2017

2:00 - 6:00 pm

Registration Open on 25th Floor

2:30 - 3:35 pm

PolicyWorks Institute Opening

Bay View (25th Floor)

Welcome to the PolicyWorks Institute! We will open the event spending time getting to know each other and learning about exciting policy work within the Forum network.

Welcome: Dave Biemesderfer, President and CEO, Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers

Speakers: William Engel, President, Union Foundation and Seyron Foo, Director Public Policy and Government Relations, Southern California Grantmakers

3:35 - 3:45 pm

Transition Break

3:45 - 5:00 pm

Navigating the Road Ahead

Bay View (25th Floor)

Fred Ali, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation, will lead off this session with his thoughts on the role of foundations in advocacy and policy work. How much do we stay the course and how much do we find alternative routes given the current political atmosphere?  Who should our partners be in this work and how might we engage new collaborators and champions? How should foundations think about measuring their impact from advocacy and policy investments?  Then the conversation will open up to a discussion featuring the voices of Jose Quiñonez, Founder and CEO of Mission Asset Fund and Eric Weinheimer, President and CEO of Forefront moderated by Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California. The conversation will focus on responding to Mr. Ali’s comments and also to the question of what the future holds for philanthropy and how we might prepare for and respond to changes in the field that will impact our work in policy.

5:00 - 6:00 pm


Golden Gate (25th Floor)

Network with peers from across the country during some well-deserved downtime.

6:30 pm

Dine Arounds

Enjoy a relaxing dinner with your PolicyWorks friends or retreat to your room for recuperation.

PolicyWorks Institute: Thursday, July 20, 2017

7:00 am - 3:30 pm

Registration Open on 25th Floor

7:30 - 8:00 am


8:00 - 10:00 am 

The Insiders Perspective on Key Federal and State Policy Issues

Bay View (25th Floor)

Join national policy experts to hear the latest on federal policy issues and strategize on opportunities for individual and collective action. During this engaging session you will hear the latest on policy issues threatening democracy such as voting rights and the census; regulations and legislation impacting philanthropy; and state and federal budget trends. After brief presentations, you will have the opportunity to choose which issue to explore further and delve into effective strategies and tactics for addressing these policy concerns.

  • Threats to Democracy
    Golden Gate (25th Floor)
    Alexis Anderson-Reed, Deputy Director + Program Director, Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation and Corrine Yu, Senior Counsel and Managing Policy Director, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

  • Regulation and Legislation Impacting Philanthropy
    Peninsula (25th Floor)
    Wendy Garen, President and CEO, The Ralph Parsons Foundation and Debbie McKeon, Senior Vice President, Council of Michigan Foundations

  • State and Federal Budget Trends
    Bay View (25th Floor)
    Chris Hoene, Executive Director, California Budget and Policy Center; Emily Katz, Director of Policy and Communications, Northern California Grantmakers and Erica Williams, Deputy Director of State Fiscal Research, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

10:00 - 10:15 am

Transition Break

10:15 - 11:15 am

Framing Our Issues in the New Political Environment

Bay View (25th Floor)

Why are we not listening to each other? Communications is key to successful policy campaigns and yet you may feel that we are talking past each other more frequently these days. The session includes a presentation and interactive discussion with Joe Grady, co-founder of Topos Partnership, whose mission is to explore and ultimately change the landscape of public understanding where public interest issues play out. As a cognitive linguist whose academic research and publications have focused on the role of metaphor in thought and communication, Joe will shed light on how to improve your policy-focused communications so that you are heard. 

Speaker: Joe Grady, P.h.D., Partner, Topos Partnership

Introduction: Claudia Herrold, Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Policy, Philanthropy Ohio

11:15 - 11:45 am

Break and Pick up Boxed Lunch

11:45 am - 12:45 pm

Breakout Sessions

Grab a lunch and choose a breakout session to explore lessons learned from successful policy campaigns led by national and regional philanthropy serving organizations. Topics to be explored include effective partnerships with governmental agencies and efforts to ensure a fair and accurate census. The sessions will include brief “ted-style” talks by national and state experts and will also include time to explore how to apply effective strategies in your own policy efforts.

  • Effective Partnerships with Governmental Agencies
    Golden Gate (25th Floor)
    Presenters: Rob Collier, President and CEO, Council of Michigan Foundations and Seyron Foo, Director Public Policy and Government Relations, Southern California Grantmakers

  • Efforts to Ensuring a Fair and Accurate Census
    Peninsula (25th Floor)
    Presenters: Daranee Petsod, President; Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) and Alfonso Wenker, Vice President, Minnesota Council on Foundations

  • Framing Your Issues for Successful Policy Campaigns – Workshop
    Bay View (25th Floor)
    Building on the communications framework explored during the last session, this workshop will provide you with an opportunity to explore the Topos Partnerhip’s unique and innovate approach to developing communications strategies that further your philanthropy serving organization’s policy work.  You will leave this interactive session with practical communications tools that go beyond conventional research and strategy.
    Presenters: Axel Aubrun, P.h.D, Co-Founder, Topos Partnership and Joe Grady, P.h.D., Co-Founder, Topos Partnership.

12:45 - 1:00 pm

Transition Break

1:00 - 2:15 pm

Laying the Groundwork for Action

Time to sharpen your skills and choose a breakout session that will focus on building your organizations’ capacity.  Sessions will be driven by attendees and provide an opportunity for discussion and knowledge sharing with your peers.

  • Engaging Your Board in Policy Work
    Bay View (25th Floor)
    Facilitator: John Mullaney, Executive Director, Nord Family Foundation

  • Policy Positions and Policy Agendas
    Golden Gate (25th Floor)
    Facilitator: Michael Remaley, Senior Vice President, Public Policy & Communications, Philanthropy New York

  • Effectively Building and Maintaining Relationships with Policymakers
    Peninsula (25th Floor)
    Facilitator: Remy Trupin, Advocacy Catalyst Fellow, Philanthropy Northwest

2:15 - 2:30 pm


2:30 - 3:30 pm

Closing Session: Philanthropy & Media: Forging New Partnerships in Turbulent Times

Bay View (25th Floor)

As philanthropy looks to have a stronger voice in policy and advocacy work, the media can play a critical role in helping to give voice to the issues we care about and engage in the civic life of our democracy–at the local, state and national level.

However, the news media ecosystem today is in a period of dramatic change and many bulwarks of journalism–especially the daily newspaper–are facing major challenges for survival. In this closing session, a panel of for-profit and nonprofit media representatives will engage in a lively discussion of how philanthropy and media can work together to forge a different type of partnership in today’s complex and rapidly changing times to strengthen coverage of critical community issues, combat the increasing prevalence of “fake news” and ensure a vibrant and healthy democracy.

Moderator: Mike Smith, Director of Communications, James Irvine Foundation

Speakers: John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor, San Francisco Chronicle; Ethan Lindsey, Managing Editor of News, KQED Public Media and Laurel Rosenhall, Reporter, CalMatters.

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