WPI-STATE is a policy advocacy and leadership training fellowship for cisgender and transgender women, genderqueer and non-binary people, and transgender men who want to build their skills to influence public policymaking at the state level.
Who We Are
Widely recognized as one of the most successful policy advocacy training programs in the U.S., the Women Policy’s Institute-State (WPI-State) fellowship was launched by the Women’s Foundation of California (WFC) in 2003. The courageous efforts of our fellows have contributed to the passage of 32 new state laws, and even more state and local policy has been created and impacted by our alumni.
Over the last 15 years, we’ve trained more than 450 grassroots leaders—community organizers, lawyers, educators, healthcare professionals, direct service providers, executive directors, program managers, and public officials—in public policy advocacy at the state and local levels. Collectively, they constitute one of the most powerful voices fighting on behalf of communities of color, immigrant communities, queer communities, and low-income communities in our state.
The vast majority of our alumni describe an increase in their policy advocacy work following their graduation from the WPI, and 92% of these leaders attribute that increase to their participation in the program. Alumni often describe WPI as “transformative” and the “best decision” of their careers.
What You Will Learn and Do
WPI-State is an experiential training fellowship. Over the course of a year, our teams will learn about the policy process by researching, writing, and lobbying for a state legislative bill of their choosing while receiving support and guidance from a mentor who is an expert in public policy work.
By participating in the WPI-State program, our fellows:
- Develop legislative and administrative policy advocacy skills;
- Learn how to conduct policy research using an intersectional lens and how to develop policy using a gender, racial, and economic justice framework;
- Gain knowledge and information about California’s policy landscape, including current legislative and administrative policy processes;
- Overcome perceived barriers and increase their confidence in participating in the policy process as it is today;
- Develop the relationships necessary to do coalition work that advances public policy;
- Produce state policy that reflects the needs of California’s cisgender and transgender women, non-binary and genderqueer people, transgender men, 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 450 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.
Our social justice framework focuses on the structural causes of inequities embedded in public institutions such as government. Although WPI was developed in response to these structural inequities, and while we encourage each cohort to critique institutionalized oppression, the program’s primary objective is to train participants to create progressive policy changes within the current legislative system. Thus, program participants are enacting policies that make California a more just and equitable place today and are encouraged to work with their communities and organizations toward making our state’s legislative process more open and accessible to all community members tomorrow.
Application Release: Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Online Application Due: Tuesday, July 24, 2018, Noon PST
Application Status Notification: No later than August 31, 2018
Informational Webinars: We strongly encourage you to register for one of our webinars below.
- Friday, June 22, 2018 / 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST
- Monday, July 2, 2018 / 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM PST
- Thursday, July 12, 2018 / 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM PST
- Tuesday, July 17, 2018 / 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM PST