Apply to WPI-County, Class of 2017-18

Training DetailsCriteriaIssue AreasHow to Apply

WPI-COUNTY is a policy advocacy and leadership training fellowship for teams of three to five women and/or trans people who are looking to learn how to engage in policy advocacy at the county level. The 2017-18 program is designed for Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Monterey Counties and is bilingual Spanish and English.

Carefully read 'How to apply' and the application instructions (below), and then start your online application!

Application Instructions in English (PDF)  |   Instrucciones en español (PDF)

Who We Are

The Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) is a renowned yearlong 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 thirteen 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 nearly 400 grassroots leaders in public policy advocacy. 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 forces fighting for the health and well-being of disadvantaged communities in California. 

In 2015, we expanded our groundbreaking WPI-State program to the counties. We created WPI-COUNTY, a county-level policy advocacy fellowship program, and piloted it in Riverside.

This year, the WPI-County fellowship program will be made up of pre-formed teams from four counties in California—Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Monterey. By pre-formed, we mean that teams of three to five individuals will be eligible apply to the fellowship together. These leaders should work or live in the same county and should represent different organizations that are already working or want to start working together. Locations for the trainings will rotate between the counties and the fellows will travel to Sacramento as well. Our goal is to show, firsthand, how various county and state governments and programs interact and impact each other.

WPI-County team projects will focus on developing solutions to the county-level challenges impacting the economic security of women and trans communities in California.  Our issue areas include criminal justice, interpersonal violence, economic justice, environmental justice, health and reproductive justice. Learn more about the issue areas.

Because WPI-County is a peer learning and experiential training fellowship, our fellows and their teams will be researching and developing policy advocacy projects of their choosing, all the while guided by Foundation staff and expert consultations as needed. The fellows will develop relationships with key county policy makers, government employees and allied advocates in their county; produce a policy brief analyzing the problem and offering policy solutions for the issue they’re focusing on; and create and begin to implement an advocacy plan to move their policy solutions onto their county’s policy agenda.

What You Will Learn and Do

By participating in the WPI-County program, our fellows will:

  • Learn the history and context of counties in California, understand the role and authority of their particular county and its Board of Supervisors and learn about county services and responsibilities, the major mandated and discretionary programs and services for each county department as well as the associated revenue sources;
  • Understand basic structures and powers of local agencies and how they interrelate with county responsibilities;
  • Understand how state government, including the state budget, impacts counties and understand when to use state policy advocacy to push or leverage county policy;
  • Develop relationships with key county 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 an Advocacy Plan—including community organizing and coalition building—to move their policy solutions onto the policy agenda;
  • Create a statewide peer learning environment among county-level advocates;
  • Join a network of nearly 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.The WPI-County fellowship will encourage the fellows to continue working together after the program ends on their policy projects.

Important Dates

Application Release: Tuesday, December 20, 2016, Noon PST

Online Application Due: Tuesday, January 24, 2017, Noon PST

Application Status Notification: First week of March 2017

Informational Calls:

January 6, 2017, 12-1:30 PM, English.

January 6, 2017, 1:30-3 PM, Spanish.

January 12, 2017, 12-1:30 PM, English

January 12, 2017, 1:30-3 PM, Spanish

January 17, 2017, 12-1:30 PM, English


If you plan to participate in one of our Informational Calls/Webinars, please RSVP

For more information on how to apply to WPI-County, please see the 'How to apply' page.

We encourage you to contact Program Associate Elizabeth Ayala with any questions or concerns, or to discuss your team's application.