Apply to the Women's Policy Institute-State, Class of 2018

Training DetailsCriteriaIssue AreasHow to Apply

WPI-STATE is a policy advocacy and leadership training program for women and trans people who want to build their skills to influence public policymaking at the state level.

Carefully read the application instructions (PDF) and then start your online application!


Who We Are

The Women’s Foundation of California’s Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) is a renowned year-long program 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, their organizations and their communities so that they can become actively involved in shaping and implementing policies that affect the lives of women, trans people and their families and communities.

Widely recognized as one of the most successful policy advocacy training programs on the West Coast, the WPI-State fellowship was launched by the Women’s Foundation of California in 2003. In the last fourteen years, the courageous efforts of our fellows have contributed to the passage of 29 new state laws. These laws have drastically improved the health, safety and economic well-being of Californians, and even more state and local policy has been created or impacted by our alumni.

Since 2003, we’ve trained more than 400 grassroots leaders throughout California in public policy advocacy at the state level. The vast majority of these leaders continue working in policy long after their fellowship ends: Our alumni are advocates, lawyers, direct service providers, executive directors, public officials, educators and organizers, and collectively they constitute one of the most powerful voices fighting for the health and well-being of disadvantaged communities in California.

Each year the Women’s Foundation of California chooses specific focus areas that will improve the health, safety and economic security of California’s women, trans people and their families and communities. This year WPI plans to receive applications in the following four issue areas: criminal justice, economic justice, health, reproductive justice and trauma justice.

Because WPI-State is an experiential training fellowship, our teams will learn about the policy process and research and develop a policy advocacy project (usually a state bill) of their choosing, all the while supported by a mentor who is an expert in public policy work. The fellows will develop relationships with key state policymakers, government employees and allied advocates; select a bill to support or develop; and implement an advocacy plan to move the bill through the legislature.

This year we are accepting individual applications only. Individual applicants selected for the WPI will be placed in teams of five based on overlapping areas of interest, varying levels of policy experience, differing forms of issue area expertise, and other related criteria. If you are aware of other applicants in your issue area with whom you would like to be placed on a team if you are both accepted into the program, you will be given the opportunity in the application to list those individuals.

What You Will Learn and Do

By participating in the WPI-State program, our fellows will:
• Develop legislative and administrative policy advocacy skills;
• Learn how to conduct policy research using an intersectional lens and how to develop policy using an anti-oppression and gender justice framework;
• Gain knowledge and information about California’s policy landscape, including legislative and administrative policy processes;
• Overcome perceived barriers and increase their confidence in participating in the policy process;
• Develop the relationships necessary to do coalition work that advances public policy;
• Produce state policy that reflects the needs of California’s women, trans people and their families and communities;
• Increase their participation in state policy formation and implementation;
• Build their communities’ capacity to use the policy process to address problems;
• Strengthen their relationships to and collaboration with other social justice organizations and movements in California;
• Create a peer learning environment among state-level advocates;
• Join a network of more than 400 community and nonprofit leaders who have already graduated from WPI-State and WPI-County and are currently working in public policy at the local and state levels.

Important Dates

Application Release: Friday, June 9, 2017, Noon PST
Online Application Due: Friday, July 21, 2017, Noon PST
Application Status Notification: No later than September 1st, 2017
Informational Webinars: We strongly encourage you to participate in one of our webinars below. Please RSVP here.

• Tuesday, June 20, 2017: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM PST
• Friday, June 30, 2017: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST
• Monday, July 10, 2017: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM PST
• Wednesday, July 12, 2017: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

For more information or technical assistance, email No phone calls, please.