WPI-LOCAL is a new and improved year-long policy advocacy and leadership training fellowship for teams of three community leaders who are looking to learn how to engage in policy advocacy at the local level.
WPI is inclusive of all communities affected by gender-based oppression, violence, and discrimination, including cisgender and transgender women; genderqueer, gender variant and nonbinary individuals; and trans men. The 2018-19 program is open to teams from any county in California. The fellowship is bilingual (English and Spanish).
Read the application instructions carefully and then start your online application!
Who We Are
The Women’s Foundation of California’s Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) is designed to train community-based leaders in California in public policy advocacy. The goal of WPI is to increase the number and capacity of visionary leaders and organizations so that they can become actively involved in shaping and implementing policies that affect the lives of all people affected by gender-based oppression, violence, and discrimination, as well as their families and communities.
In 2003, the Women’s Foundation of California launched WPI-State, a fellowship focused on state-level policy advocacy. Over the last fourteen years, we’ve trained more than 450 community-based leaders throughout California in public policy advocacy at the state and local levels. WPI-State fellows travel to Sacramento throughout the year to work on issues ranging from economic security to reproductive justice and criminal justice. Their courageous efforts have contributed to the passage of 32 new state laws. One such law, the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, extended legal labor protections to 100,000 low-wage workers in California, the majority of whom are women. Today, California’s domestic workers can earn overtime pay, a right they had been denied for decades.
In 2015, we created a new WPI program focused on local government. We piloted it in Riverside County and then in the second year, we expanded to four counties. Now, in our fourth year, we are able to accept applications from all 58 counties in California! Fellows will work to develop policies at any level of local government (county, city, special district, etc.) based on the problem they are trying to solve and which local government is best positioned to solve the problem. This landmark transition to a more impactful program structure is reflected in the fellowship’s new name: WPI-Local Government.
The WPI-Local cohort will be made up of pre-formed teams, each team based in one county, but teams coming from across California. By pre-formed, we mean that teams should form before applying and apply to the fellowship together, as a team. Individuals on the same team must work or live in the same county and should represent different organizations that are already working together or want to start working together.
WPI-Local team projects will focus on developing local solutions to local challenges in the areas of criminal justice, economic justice, environmental justice, health, trauma justice, and reproductive justice. To learn more about our principle issue areas, click here.
Because WPI-Local is an experiential training fellowship, our fellows and their teams will be researching, developing and pursuing policy advocacy projects addressing an issue of concern of their choosing. Teams will be supported by Foundation staff and receive consultations from preeminent experts in public policy work. The fellows will meet with and develop relationships with key policy makers, government employees and allied advocates in their region; speak with people affected by the problem they seek to address; produce a policy brief analyzing the problem and offering policy solutions for the issue they’re focusing on; and create and begin to implement a community organizing plan to move their policy solutions onto their target’s policy agenda. The training is designed to help fellows advance a specific public policy change while they are in the fellowship and, if necessary, continue to do so after the fellowship ends. Applicants of varying degrees of past policy experience – from none at all to a lot – will be considered for the program.
What You Will Learn and Do
By participating in the WPI-Local program, our fellows will:
- Learn the history and context of local governments in California and understand the role and authority of the different governing bodies, their services and responsibilities, and their budgets and budget processes;
- Understand how local governments interrelate with each other;
- Understand how state government, including the state budget, impacts local governments and understand when to use state policy advocacy to push or leverage local policy;
- Develop relationships with key local policy makers, government employees and allied advocates;
- Conduct policy research and produce a Policy Brief analyzing the problem, policy solutions and political will of the issues they’re focusing on;
- Create and begin implementing a Community Organizing Plan—including working with grassroots communities and coalition building—to move their policy solutions onto the policy agenda;
- Create a statewide peer learning environment among local-level advocates;
- Join a network of more than 450 community and nonprofit leaders who have already graduated from WPI-State and WPI-Local Government and are currently working in public policy at the local and state levels.
The WPI-Local fellowship will encourage the fellows to continue working together after the program ends on their policy projects.
Application Release: Friday, January 5, 2018
Online Application Due: Tuesday, February 13, 2018, Noon PST
Application Status Notification: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Informational Webinars: Please RSVP by clicking on the date & time you wish to attend a webinar and entering your registration information.
Before starting your WPI-Local application, please read the full application instructions (PDF).
We encourage you to contact Senior Program Associate Elizabeth Ayala with any questions or concerns and to discuss your team’s application.