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2018 PolicyWorks Institute Agenda

Publication date: 
November, 2017

Sunday, March 11, 2018

12:00 - 7:00 pm

Registration Open

Liason Hotel, The Metropolitan Room Lobby (Main Lobby)

2:00 pm

PolicyWorks Institute Opening

Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan Center Room (Main Level)

2:00 - 3:00 pm

Welcome & Keynote
The Vital Role of Philanthropy in Advocacy and Public Policy

Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan Center Room (Main Level)
Candice C. Jones, President & CEO, Public Welfare Foundation

Candice C. Jones, the new leader of the Public Welfare Foundation, will be our opening keynote speaker to set the tone for #FOTH18. She will share a message of urgency and purpose for our work in policy, noting that we are in a specific moment in our nation’s history that calls for courageous and focused action on key issues that are fundamental to our democracy and are grounded in our shared values. We are the right people at the right time to make a difference in the policies of our country to care for the most vulnerable among us and to continue to move philanthropy towards deeper impact.

The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need and has done so for its 70-year history. These efforts honor the foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being and fundamental fairness for all. The foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. Its main programs are Criminal JusticeYouth Justice, and Workers’ Rights, with a special initiative on Civil Legal Aid for the poor.

3:00 - 3:15 pm

Transition Break

3:15 - 5:15 pm

Breakout Sessions

  • Breakout 1 –  Building an Effective Policy Program for Your PSO

    Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan East Room (Main Level)
    David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, United Philanthropy Forum; Dawn Roberts, Consultant for Forum’s PolicyWorks for Philanthropy Initiative; Erin Skene-Pratt, Founder and Principal Consultant, Momentum Associates

    Is your regional or national PSO at the early stages of building up a policy and government relations program, or working to go from the beginning states to more intermediate stages? Then this session is for you. Learn about the essential building blocks for an effective policy and government relations program at a regional or national PSO, and key lessons learned, culled from seven years of evaluation and experience with the Forum’s PolicyWorks capacity-building efforts.

    Session Materials:

  • Breakout 2 – Advanced PolicyWorks

    Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan West Room (Main Level)
    Rob Collier, President & CEO, Council of Michigan Foundations and Sally Ehrenfried, Senior Manager, Philanthropy & Volunteer Engagement, Blackbaud, Inc.

    This session is designed for PSOs that are steeped in policy work and looking for a 2.0/3.0 conversation among peers. Questions to be discussed in the conversation will include:

    • What questions keep you up at night?
    • We don’t know what we don’t know about our sector
    • Public-private partnerships—why bother?
    • Dating policymakers—it’s all about relationships
    • Maximizing the charitable dollar
    • How many of our grantees have been UBITized?

5:15 - 5:30 pm

Transition Break

5:30 - 7:30 pm

Clips, Conversation and Cocktails

Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan Center Room (Main Level)

Join Vince Stehle, Executive Director of Media Impact Funders, in a conversation with Norah Shapiro, director of the documentary  Time for Ilhan, for a special preview of her extraordinary film that chronicles the 2016 Minneapolis race for State Representative in a District that is home to the nation’s largest Somali population. The race resulted in Ilhan Omar becoming the first Somali-American, Muslim legislator elected to political office in the United States— an especially dramatic win given the anti-Muslim rhetoric that brewed during the 2016 Presidential race. We will share cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres over clips and conversation with Norah and Vince.

The film follows rising political star Ilhan Omar, a proud hijab-wearing, one-time refugee Somali-American mother and community activist, as she seeks to unseat the long-time incumbent who served in the legislature for 43 years.   Ilhan Omar’s story presents a counter-narrative to the pervasive negative portrayal of both politics and Muslim immigrants and women in America. It also raises questions about barriers to access to the political process in this country, and offers a refreshing and inspiring example of overcoming them.

7:30 pm

Dine Arounds

Enjoy a relaxing dinner with your PolicyWorks friends at a nearby restaurant or retreat to your room for recuperation. Sign up for a Dine Around at the registration desk by 7:00 pm.

Monday, March 12, 2018

7:00 am - 7:00 pm

Registration Open

Liaison Hotel, The Metropolitan Room Lobby (Main Level)

7:30 - 8:30 am


Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan Center Room (Main Level)

8:30 - 10:00 am

Plenary Session: What's Race Got to Do With It?: How Public Policy Fuels the Racial Divide

Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan Center Room (Main Level)
Susan Taylor Batten, President & CEO, ABFE

Over generations across America, public policies have been created either intentionally or with unintended consequences that have fueled the racial inequity in our communities. Join Susan Taylor Batten as she leads a conversation about the impact of public policy on communities of color. Together we will explore philanthropy’s role in making things right and preventing future policy that exacerbates racial inequity in America.

Session Materials:

10:00 - 10:30 am


10:30 - 11:45 am

Plenary Session: The Role of Philanthropy in Public Policy Campaigns

Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan Center Room (Main Level)
Ellen Buchman, Vice President, The Opportunity Agenda and Bob Tracy, Director of Government Relations & Public Policy, Minnesota Council on Foundations

How does philanthropy invest and engage along the continuum of a public policy campaign and why should it? Join this conversation led by Ellen Buchman along with Bob Tracy, who will share their experiences and learning.

Session Materials:

11:45 am - 12:00 pm

Transition Break

12:00 - 12:45 pm


Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan Center Room (Main Level)

12:45 - 2:00 pm

Policy Roundtables: Regional-National Partnerships for Greater Policy Impact

Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan East and West Room (Main Level)

Philanthropy’s voice can be important for a broad range of community and social issues beyond the regulation, protection and growth of philanthropy. From the environment to immigration to aging, philanthropy can bring a trusted, independent and powerful perspective to critical policy discussions at the state and federal level. In this session, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in roundtable discussions with the leaders of several issue-focused national PSOs who are members of United Philanthropy Forum. You’ll learn about these national PSOs’ critical policy issues and engage in a discussion of how philanthropy can help advance these issues at both the national and regional level. Note: participants will have an opportunity to engage in 30-minute conversations with two different roundtable leaders.

Roundtable leaders:

  • Amanda Andere, CEO, Funders Together to End Homelessness: Discuss how philanthropy has taken a leadership role in advocacy and policy at the local, state and national level around affordable housing and ending homelessness.


  • John Feather, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Grantmakers in Aging: Grantmakers in Aging is an inclusive and responsive membership organization that is a national catalyst for philanthropy, with a common dedication to improving the experience of aging. GIA members have a shared recognition that a society that is better for older adults is better for people of all ages.

  • Aryah Somers Landsberger, Director of Programs, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees: GCIR works with a growing network of member foundations, as well as the greater philanthropic community, on a wide range of immigration and immigrant integration issues, including education, health, employment, civic participation, racial and economic justice, and other concerns affecting immigrant children, youth, and families.

  • Abbie Nissenson, Program Associate, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders (SAFSF): Come learn about the myriad issues that fall under the umbrella of SAFSF on topics ranging from air and water quality to health equity, from land access to farmworker housing to child nutrition, and beyond. Over 60% of members in SAFSF's network fund policy at the local, state, tribal and/or national levels. Together we will discover where our work intersects with yours and how we can serve to strengthen one another in advancing policy goals.

  • Kathy Sessions, Executive Director, Health and Environmental Funders Network: Policy opportunities for discussion will include work on drinking water and children's environmental health, air quality, toxics, environmental justice, land use, healthy housing, fracking, and climate change.

2:00 - 2:15 pm

Transition Break

2:15 - 3:15 pm

Plenary Session: Census 2020: What’s at Risk and What Can Philanthropy Do Now?

Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan Center Room (Main Level)
Cecilia Chen, Director, Public Policy, Northern California Grantmakers; Joan Gustafson, External Affairs Officer, Michigan Nonprofit Association; Debbie McKeon, Senior VP, Member Services, Council of Michigan Foundations; and Karla Mercado, Manager, Public Policy & Philanthropy California, Southern California Grantmakers

The 2020 census is a top-priority policy issue for United Philanthropy Forum and many Forum members. Learn from PSO colleagues about where things stand right now to ensure a fair and accurate census count in 2020 and the critical points of intervention to keep the census from being completely at risk in 2020.

Session Materials:

3:15 - 3:30 pm

Transition Break

3:30 - 5:00 pm

Breakout Sessions

  • Breakout Session 1: Creating Unlikely Alliances for Action

    Liaison Hotel, Metropolitan Center Room (Main Level)
    Moderator: Rob Fersh, CEO, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution
    Speakers: Stuart Butler, Senior Fellow – Economic Studies, Brookings Institution; Romanita Hairston-Overstreet, Program Director, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust; and Shelley Waters Boots, Senior Consultant, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

    Our country is facing serious challenges in the active engagement of our citizens in civic life and the resolution of major pressing issues including recidivism rates, immigration, educational attainment and many other challenges. We have great leaders in every sector who are pulled away from the table based on political divides. How do we find the spaces where our values or ideas align and enable us to put the brain power and leadership muscle to work on these critical issues?

    Helping us answer this question will be project stakeholders from the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, which has developed a process to bring together people with varying perspectives and political ideologies and help them find solutions across these differences. We will participate in a dialogue with leaders who have agreed to participate in the Convergence process, focused on the following questions:

    • What motivated them to come to the table?

    • How did they learn from the process and how have they changed from the process?

    • What were the long-term external results or unexpected results from the process and relationships that continued?

    • What were their expectations going into their project? Were these expectations met? How did they change as the project continued?

    • What should we learn that can help us bring together philanthropy and other sector leaders in divisive times?

    • What do you wish you had known at the beginning of the process that you would offer as advice to those participating in collaborative stakeholder processes?

    Session Materials:

  • Breakout Session 2: Foundations on the Hill Orientation

    Liaison Hotel, The Hill Room (Main Level)

    Note: This is a joint Institute session and Foundations on the Hill pre-session

    Is this your first time doing Hill visits, or are you looking for a quick refresher on working the Hill? If so, join us for this FOTH orientation session. Among the topics to be covered:

    • What to Expect on the Hill
      Moderator: David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, United Philanthropy Forum
      Presenter: Mark Ratner, Legislative Director, Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI)

      So you’re sitting across from your Congressperson and/or his or her legislative aide, and you’ve never met them before. What are they thinking? What do they want to hear from you? How can you get them to understand your message in a few short minutes? You’ll get the scoop from a seasoned Hill staffer.

    • How to Run Effective Hill Meetings
      Moderator: Nina Stack, President, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers
      Panelists: Seyron Foo, Director, Public Policy and Government Relations, Southern California Grantmakers; Will Kauffman, Senior Associate, Programs & Partnerships, Southeastern Council of Foundations; John Mullaney, Executive Director, Nord Family Foundation

      What’s the secret sauce to having a good Hill meeting? You’ll get important tips and advice from some seasoned FOTH participants.

    • FOTH Q&A
      Last chance to get answers to your burning FOTH questions!

5:00 pm

PolicyWorks Institute Closing

5:00 - 7:00 pm

Foundations on the Hill Welcome Reception

Special Opportunity

National Museum of American History Tours

Constitution Avenue, NW
Between 12th and 14th Streets
Washington, D.C

Join Dr. Amanda Moniz, David M. Rubenstein Curator of Philanthropy, at the National Museum of American History for a tour of the Giving in America exhibit and learn about the Smithsonian’s new curated collection of artifacts around charity, volunteerism and giving in America. There are two tours scheduled, which require advance registration and are limited to 20 people for each tour. Each tour should last no more than an hour, but you are of course welcome to stay and enjoy more of the museum before our evening receptions or visit the exhibit on your own anytime your schedule allows. Tour groups will be instructed where and when to meet Dr. Muniz for the start of their tours. The museum is a 30-minute walk or 8-minute ride from Hotel Liaison.

Tour  Dates and Times:

  • Monday, March 12th at 2:00 pm
  • Wednesday, March 14th at 3:00 pm


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