OGF members engage in policy
“It comes down to a simple equation: limited resources + calculated risk = big potential impact.” That is how Marcia Egbert, senior program officer at The George Gund Foundation in Cleveland, answers the question of why the organization funds public policy work. She goes on to explain the connection between investing in public policy and the foundation’s mission, “to contribute to human well-being and the progress of society.” Essentially, funding advocacy is one of the full range of grantmaking strategies the Gund Foundation brings to bear on complex community issues.
Marcia is one of 5 foundation leaders who discuss their organizations’ public policy work in the summer edition of OGF Connection, available online and just recently mailed to members. The others are:
The foundations have used advocacy funding – within the legal boundaries established in federal law – to impact a wide range of social issues, including early childhood education, immigration, public school reform and community revitalization.
The level of involvement of Ohio foundations in policy work has increased dramatically in recent years, as witnessed by the 25 organizations that have engaged in OGF’s Education Initiative, the number of people who attend Foundations on the Hill and in-district meetings OGF arranges and the 16 foundations participating in OGF’s Health Coalition.
The foundation leaders engaged in the myriad policy opportunities understand the importance of policy work. Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronn Richard expresses it well when he says that “If The Cleveland Foundation can invest in creating a healthier and supportive public policy environment that is responsive to long-term community needs, then we can also work towards long-term, at-scale, systems-based change.”
Read the full Conversations with Colleagues article online, along with its sidebar list of resources for those considering how engaging in policy work can help achieve their missions.