WPI-LOCAL is a year-long policy advocacy fellowship that delivers trainings and tools, builds networks, and develops leadership to win local policy campaigns and to build power and organizing infrastructure throughout California! It is designed for advocates who want to enter the halls of power on behalf of their community to make an impact through policy advocacy. To apply you will need a team of four collaborators and an idea for a local-level policy project that will advance gender, racial and economic justice.
WPI is inclusive of all communities affected by gender-based oppression, violence, and discrimination, including cisgender and transgender women, genderqueer, gender-variant and non-binary individuals, and trans men.* The 2019-20 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) consists of two year-long fellowships designed to train community-based leaders in California in public policy advocacy and to win local and statewide policy campaigns that advance gender, racial, and economic justice. WPI increases the number and capacity of visionary leaders and organizations so that they become actively involved in shaping and implementing policies that impact the lives of all people affected by gender, racial, and economic injustice, 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 fifteen years, we’ve trained more than 450 community-based leaders throughout California in public policy advocacy at the state level. During this time, our fellows have created 35 new state laws.
In 2015, we piloted a new WPI program focused on local government, WPI-Local, in Riverside County. Now in its fifth year, WPI-Local is open to community-based leaders from all 58 counties in California. Fellows work in teams to develop and propose policy solutions at the county, city, special district, or school district level, depending on the problem they are trying to solve. A recent WPI campaign focused on the inclusion of early childhood development policies in local government general (strategic) plans. After the fellows’ success in the city of Gonzales, they are now continuing to work with more cities across Monterey county.
We accept applications for WPI-Local from teams of four individuals. Team members should: 1) Live or work in the same county; 2) Represent different organizations; 3) Have identified an issue around which they would like to build a policy campaign during their WPI-Local year. They should represent different organizations that are already working together and want the tools & expertise to elevate an issue campaign or are interested in forming a new coalition.
WPI-Local teams develop local solutions to local challenges in one of the following areas: criminal justice, economic justice, environmental justice, health justice, trauma justice, and reproductive justice. To learn more about our principle issue areas, read the Application Instructions PDF.
WPI-Local is an experiential learning fellowship where participants are trained in skills that are immediately put into practice. Fellows and their teams research, develop and pursue real policy advocacy projects addressing an issue of their choosing and create campaigns to ensure adoption by a local government entity. While in WPI-Local, fellows will advance a specific policy project and lay the groundwork for their team coalition to continue to push the issue after the fellowship ends. Applicants with varying degrees of past policy experience—from none at all to a lot—are welcome to apply to 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 policymakers, government employees and allied advocates;
- Conduct policy research and produce a policy platform presenting the problem and policy solutions for the issues they’re focusing on with sample letters of support;
- Develop power maps that analyze the political landscape around their issue and feed into campaign development;
- Host a community event—working with grassroots communities and coalitions—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 500 community and nonprofit leaders who have already graduated from WPI-State and WPI-Local 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: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Online Application Due: Thursday, February 14, 2019, Noon PST
Application Status Notification: Wednesday, March 13, 2019
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 Program Manager Elizabeth Ayala with any questions or concerns and to discuss your team’s application.
Application Quick Links
- Application Instructions in English (PDF)
- Instrucciones en español (PDF)
- Program Criteria
- Applicant Requirements
- Training Format and Dates
- How to Apply
- Start your application